American Express

March 18th Celebrates American Express

Today on Day’s to Remember, we celebrate how on March 18th 1850, Henry Wells & William Fargo founded American Express.

It’s hard to believe that American Express is been around that long, but how did this all get started?

On April 1, 1845, along with Henry Wells and Daniel Dunning, William Fargo organized the Western Express which ran from Buffalo to Cincinnati, St. Louis, Chicago and intermediate points, under the name of Wells & Co. At that time, there were no railroad facilities west of Buffalo, and Fargo, who had charge of the business, made use of steamboats and covered wagons.

In 1845, Daniel Dunning withdrew from the company and in 1846; Henry Wells sold out his interest in this concern to William A. Livingston, who became Fargo’s partner in Livingston, Fargo & Company.

In 1866, upon the resignation of Henry Wells and American Express’ merger with the Merchants Union Express Company, Fargo was elected President of the American Express Company.

He was president of the American Express Company until his death in 1881, at which point his brother, J. C. Fargo, assumed the presidency, which he held until 1914.

In 1852, Henry Wells and Fargo created Wells Fargo & Co. when Butterfield (and other directors of American Express) objected to the extension of its operations to California. The original Wells Fargo & Co. was created to facilitate an express business between New York and San Francisco by way of the Isthmus of Panama and on the Pacific coast. The new company offered banking services, which included buying gold and selling paper bank drafts, and express services, which included rapid delivery of gold and anything else valuable.

When was the first American Express card issued?

In the 1950s, American Express issued its first charge card, which caught on quickly in the booming postwar economy and signaled the company’s transition to a wider consumer base. In 1966, the company issued its first gold card, in an effort to cater to the upper echelon of business travel.
However none of this would of happen, until Henry Wells & William Fargo founded American Express on March 18th 1850.

Written & Designed by JD Mitchell


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