A Representation of the framed poster of ‘The Adams Express Company’ as seen hanging on the wall in the Silver Dollar Saloon in ‘Living In Harmony.’
Adams Express had its beginnings in 1840, when 36 year old Alvin Adams (1804-1877) began personal delivery of securities, documents, and parcels between the financial centres of
and Boston . New York Adams took in Ephraim Farnsworth as a
partner to run his
office, and on Farnsworth's death took in William Dinsmore as partner. They
expanded their business, but nevertheless limited it to New
York , New York , New London , Norwich , and Worcester . Boston
During its early years it was known as Adams & Company's Express, Adams & Company and Adams Package Express, probably in agreement with the various partnerships.
In 1854, the business was incorporated as the Adams Express Company, consolidating Adams & Company, Harnden & Company, Thompson & Company, and Kinsley & Company, with Alvin Adams as President. Apparently the Harnden portion of Adams Express business operations retained its company name as late as 1871.
Following its incorporation, the company expanded rapidly, first through the south and southwest, and in 1870 to the west coast. It was soon one of the "big three" among the express companies, Wells Fargo and American Express being the others.
During the Civil War Adams Express Company initially acted as paymaster for both the
Union and Confederate armies. Later, it set
up a separate wholly-owned company, Southern Express, to handle payments to
Southern troops. Reportedly, at least one slave was shipped north to in a box as a way for his master to
free him. Philadelphia
By the 1880s, the Company had nearly 8,000 employees, and was operating over 20,000 miles of railroad track, and had offices all around the
and in most of the major cities in United States Europe.
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