Mike Plush Pony Released in 2016, Plush Pony Mike was named after a real Wells Fargo horse from Des Moines, Iowa.

In 1884, Wells Fargo & Co. Express appointed its first agent in Des Moines. Wells Fargo was still new to the city, but offered secure shipment of money, fresh produce, and other important goods and services. The office was at 318 Court Street—a block from the train depot, where everything arrived and departed in sturdy Wells Fargo rail cars.

Martin L. Miller Martin L. Miller in 1914, as a Wells Fargo messenger in Des Moines.

In the late 1880s, Martin L. Miller hitched his express wagon to his horse partner Mike each morning. Mike took the wagon with Miller aboard to the train station to pick up deliveries. Together Mike and Martin would drive up and down the roads of Des Moines, delivering everything from catalogs to canaries to Wells Fargo customers.

Wells Fargo Messenger 1916 cover of Wells Fargo Messenger, showing Wells Fargo wagon and horses delivering to a customer’s door.
(Wells Fargo Corporate Archives)

At the train station, Mike grew nervous around the loud, whistling railroad engines. The smallest thing, even a paper bag blowing by, was enough to cause him to startle and panic. Martin reassured and calmed Mike, and helped him focus on the work at hand.

Wells Fargo wagon A blanket keeps this Wells Fargo wagon horse warm when working in the cold, 1910s.
(Wells Fargo Corporate Archives)

Martin cared for Mike. Martin would make sure that Mike stopped regularly to drink water. When it got cold, Martin put a thick, warm blanket over Mike. Martin and Mike worked together around the city as a team.

In 1914, Martin L. Miller celebrated his 33rd year in the express business. Wells Fargo Messenger, the Company’s monthly news magazine, interviewed him, and Miller shared his memories about his first express job as a wagon driver—with Mike, his team mate and horse partner in Des Moines.

Horse and Wells Fargo wagon Horse and Wells Fargo wagon meet a train at a depot, 1910s.
(Wells Fargo Corporate Archives)

Download a fun coloring/activities book

Mike Activity Book

Download and print the Mike Wells Fargo Activity Book.


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