Wednesday, March 11, 2015

John Butterfield (1801-1869)

The common founder of American Express and Wells, Fargo was John Butterfield. Butterfield was born near Albany, New York.

Butter filed started his career as a stagecoach technologist. He rose from that position to a partnership in the firm, and soon most of the stage lines of western New York were under his control. In the 1820s, Butterfield formed an association of drivers into an express business.

In 1846, he organized the Butterfield and Wasson Express Company. Two companies Wells & Company and Livingston & Fargo competed with Butterfields business.

Following many conversations, Butterfield convince Wells and Fargo to join him in a combined new company, American Express, in 1850.

Butterfield became the first president and director of that company, retaining the title until his death on 1869.

In 1857 Congress established the first transcontinental stage line. On September 16, 1857 Butterfield won a 6 year $600,000 government contract for a 2800 mile delivery system running twice a week that could carry 600 pounds of mail starting at Tipton, Missouri and continuing to Fort Smith (Arkansas), El Paso (Texas), Tucson (Arizona), Los Angeles and ending in San Francisco.

During his years of his western success Butterfield continued to live in Utica, New York, where he built the Butterfield Hotel and Butterfield Block. He was also elected mayor of the city in 1865.
John Butterfield (1801-1869)

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