• Mining expert and historian Ernest A. Wiltsee (1862-1947)
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Wiltsee Collection panels 1-10

2019-03-20T13:51:44-07:00
Posted on March 9, 2019

Panel 1

Panel 1

Panel 1

Did you know Sacramento was not always California’s state capital? In the early 1850s, California did not have a permanent capital city. Cities like Benicia and Vallejo competed to host the state legislature. State politicians depended on Wells Fargo to securely send their letters with instructions on managing the state.

No. 1 Sent by Wells Fargo from San Francisco to Benicia, California. Letter enclosed is dated April 19th, 1853, for State Senator J. N. Coffroth from T. N. Cazneau, who was a notary public.

No. 2 Sent by Wells Fargo from San Francisco to Benicia, California. Letter enclosed is dated June 2nd, 1853, for the Secretary of State of California, J. W. Denver, from Thomas Cazneau.

No. 3 Sent by Wells Fargo from Benicia to Vallejo, California. Letter enclosed is dated January 3rd, 1852, from Samuel J. Claikess to W. Van Voorhies, the Secretary of State of California.

No. 4 Sent by Wells Fargo from Mokelumne Hill to J. W. Denver in Benicia, California. Denver was the Secretary of State of California.

Wells Fargo advertisement in the Alta California, 1852.

Wells Fargo bill of exchange for $100 sent from the company’s office in San Francisco to its office at 82 Broadway in New York City, New York. It was sent for Miss Caroline B. Pennyea on December 19th, 1864.

Panel 2

Panel 2

Panel 2

Look for the 1852 letter enclosed in cover No. 5 on this panel. Stores in gold rush towns like Marysville used Wells Fargo to send instructions to suppliers in other cities. Wells Fargo also delivered important goods from suppliers to stores.

No. 5 Sent by Wells Fargo from Marysville to San Francisco, California. Inside is a letter for Messrs. Merrill and Brigham at their Vegetable Store at 106 Long Wharf. The letter is dated December 4, 1852.

No. 6 Sent by Wells Fargo from San Francisco to William S. Hughson at the Comptroller Office in Sacramento, California. Letter enclosed is dated April 8th, 1854, from James H. Phinney.

No. 7 Sent by Wells Fargo from Sonora to Benicia, California, for J. W. Mandeville.

No. 8 Sent by Wells Fargo from Nevada to Sacramento, California, for Rev. R. Townsend Huddart at the Orleans Hotel.

No. 9 Sent by Wells Fargo from San Francisco to Sacramento, California, for Rev. G. S. Phillips. It is dated September 18th, 1856, from Rev. G. S. Duhl.

No. 10 Sent by Wells Fargo from Iowa Hill to J. W. Mandeville in Sacramento, California. This is a telegraph envelope for the Alta California Telegraph Company.

No. 11 Sent by Wells Fargo from San Francisco to M. Imdan Voorhees at Iowa Hill, California. It was redirected to Michigan City or Yankee Jim.

Panel 3

Panel 3

Panel 3

How do we know these letters were sent by Wells Fargo? Look carefully and you will see each cover contains an oval stamp with the company’s name and a town name. The Wells Fargo agent marked each letter with this contact information. If the letter became lost, it could be redirected by contacting the agent in that town.

No. 12 Sent by Wells Fargo from Columbia to bankers Fritz and Ralston in San Francisco, California.

No. 13 Sent by Wells Fargo to bankers Fritz and Ralston in San Francisco, California. This cover passed through Moore’s Flat and Nevada, California.

No. 14 Sent by Wells Fargo from Sonora to J. W. Mandeville, the State Surveyor, in Sacramento, California.

No. 15 Sent by Wells Fargo from Santa Cruz to James F. Reed in San Jose, California.

No. 16 Sent by Wells Fargo from San Bernardino to the Wells Fargo agent in Downieville, California.

No. 17 Sent by Wells Fargo from Hornitos to the Wells Fargo agent in Downieville, California.

Wells Fargo bill of exchange for William H. Simmons. Sent from Sacramento, California, to the company’s office at 82 Broadway, New York City, New York, on August 18th, 1859.

Panel 4

Panel 4

Panel 4

By providing reliable banking and express services, Wells Fargo enabled many small businesses in growing towns to succeed. Check out cover No. 18, and discover how Wells Fargo helped the Jacobs family build its business in Tucson, Arizona.

No. 1299 Sent by Wells Fargo from Napa City to the Noisy Carriers office in San Francisco, California.

No. 18 Sent by Wells Fargo from San Bernardino, California, to Tucson, Arizona. Letter enclosed is dated November 29th, 1867, from Mark Jacobs to his son Lionel detailing operations of sending merchandise from San Francisco, California, to Lionel’s new store in Arizona.

No. 1300 Sent by Wells Fargo to James W. Mandeville in Sacramento, California.

No. 19 Sent by Wells Fargo from Hornitos to Wells Fargo agent J. W. Orear in Downieville, California.

No. 20 Sent by Wells Fargo from Hornitos to C. W. Shattuck in Placerville, El Dorado County, California.

No. 21 Sent by Wells Fargo from Sacramento to Benicia, California. It is addressed to J. W. Denver, the Secretary of State of California.

No. 22 Sent by Wells Fargo from the Young Ladies’ Seminary in Benicia to L. D. Latimer in Folsom, California.

No. 23 Sent by Wells Fargo from Stockton to J. F. Houghton, the Surveyor General, in Sacramento, California.

Panel 5

Panel 5

Panel 5

Commerce and communication in early California revolved around the steamboat schedule. Ocean steamers carried news, mail, and packages from cities far away. River steamers connected many California towns. Where the water stopped, a stagecoach forwarded the letter to its destination. All of these covers traveled by steamboat.

No. 24 Sent by Wells Fargo on a steamboat to H. G. Langley in Benicia, California. Possibly sent in 1853.

No. 25 Sent by Wells Fargo on a steamboat to J. Weston Brennan in Nevada, California. Possibly sent in 1856.

No. 26 Sent by Wells Fargo on a steamboat to J. Weston Brennan in Nevada, California.

No. 27 Sent by Wells Fargo on a steamboat to B. J. Voorhies in San Francisco, California.

No. 28 Sent by Wells Fargo on a steamer from California, to Albert Dibblee at 96 Broadway, New York City, New York. Letter enclosed was written in Lima, Peru, on July 13th, 1865.

Panel 6

Panel 6

Panel 6

No. 29 Sent by Wells Fargo from San Francisco, California, to William Steinhart in New York City, New York.

No. 30 Sent by Wells Fargo from Sacramento to the company’s agent in Downieville, California.

No. 31 Sent by Wells Fargo to Pierce and Co. at 133 Jackson Street, San Francisco, California.

No. 32 Sent by Wells Fargo to B. J. Voorhies on Sacramento Street, San Francisco, California. It is addressed to the Office of the Agency of the Accessory Transit Company of Nicaragua, and may be from 1855.

No. 33 Sent by Wells Fargo from the Territorial Auditor, Trinidad Alarid, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to Attorney General Ed Marshall in Sacramento, California. It was sent through Deming, New Mexico.

No. 33A Forwarded by Wells Fargo to Mr. Stark, possibly a cashier in San Francisco, California. It was sent in the care of W. or James Jenkins at Woodlanding, near Deschuttes.

Panel 7

Panel 7

Panel 7

No. 34 Sent by Wells Fargo and Boyd’s Dispatch from J. E. Garrett in Carson City, Nevada, on June 26th, 1866. Sent to J. W. Slosson at 71 Broadway, New York City, New York.

No. 35 Sent by Wells Fargo from C. B. Rice “Dealer in Carriage & Wagon Material, Lumber, Doors, Sash, Blinds, &c.” at the corner of 3rd and B streets in Petaluma, California. It is addressed to S. S. Smith, at 111 and 112 Market streets, San Francisco, California.

No. 36 Sent by Wells Fargo from San Jose to Miss Lucy Harrison in Columbia, Tuolumne County, California.

No. 37 Sent by Wells Fargo from bankers John A. Paxton and Co. in Austin, Nevada, to James F. Reed in Treasure City, White Pine, Nevada. It was sent on April 30th, 1869.

No. 38 Sent by Wells Fargo from San Diego to Petaluma Incubator Co. in Petaluma, California. It was sent on July 8th, 1894, six years after Wells Fargo became the first transcontinental express company offering service “Ocean to Ocean.”

Panel 8

Panel 8

Panel 8

No. 39 Unused Wells Fargo cover from Omaha in the Territory of Nebraska.

No. 40 Unused Wells Fargo cover.

No. 41 Sent by Wells Fargo from Marysville to M. Scott in the care of Jennings and Brewster at 72 Battery Street, San Francisco, California.

No. 42 Sent by Wells Fargo on January 30th from Mokelumne Hill, California, to G. W. N. Taylor in Dayton, Oregon.

No. 43 Sent by Wells Fargo from San Francisco to George F. Nourse at the Commercial Hotel in Sacramento, California. Letter enclosed is dated October 2nd, 1855.

No. 38 Sent by Wells Fargo from San Diego to Petaluma Incubator Co. in Petaluma, California. It was sent on July 8th, 1894, six years after Wells Fargo became the first transcontinental express company offering service “Ocean to Ocean.”

Panel 9

Panel 9

Panel 9

Some merchants not only used Wells Fargo’s banking and express service, they also became the local company agents. One of the covers on this panel belonged to a merchant who later managed Wells Fargo’s operations from his store.

No. 44 Sent by Wells Fargo from Virginia City, Nevada, to George O. Whitney in San Francisco, California.

No. 45 Sent by Wells Fargo from Georgetown on March 27th.

No. 46 Sent by Wells Fargo from Auburn to L. D. Latimer in Santa Rosa, Sonoma County, California. It was sent on March 18th, 1860.

No. 47 Sent by Wells Fargo to A. A. Pond and Co. at Todds Valley, California. Pond later became Wells Fargo’s agent in Todds Valley, today known as Todd Valley.

No. 48 Sent by Wells Fargo from Sacramento, California, to Isaac L. Requa at Gold Hill, Nevada.

No. 38 Sent by Wells Fargo from San Diego to Petaluma Incubator Co. in Petaluma, California. It was sent on July 8th, 1894, six years after Wells Fargo became the first transcontinental express company offering service “Ocean to Ocean.”

Panel 10

Panel 10

Panel 10

“We are indebted to Wells, Fargo & Co. for the early delivery of Bay papers.” Sacramento Daily Union, January 24th, 1854. Wells Fargo earned praise for ensuring the quick delivery of the latest newspapers to distant communities. Papers sometimes came with newspaper stamps like those on this panel.

No. 49 A Pacific Express Company collection envelope used by Wells Fargo concerning $5.00 for collection from the Secretary of State of California in Sacramento to E. R. Yeats in Fiddletown, California, on October 19th, 1871.

No. 50 Wells Fargo newspaper stamps.

No. 51 Wells Fargo newspaper stamps.

No. 48 Sent by Wells Fargo from Sacramento, California, to Isaac L. Requa at Gold Hill, Nevada.

No. 38 Sent by Wells Fargo from San Diego to Petaluma Incubator Co. in Petaluma, California. It was sent on July 8th, 1894, six years after Wells Fargo became the first transcontinental express company offering service “Ocean to Ocean.”

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