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Wells Fargo-and-Co Creation

Updated on January 24, 2015

Wells Fargo Company is Born

Henry Wells and William G. Fargo both came from the East. They were both versed in moving freight. Whether it was moving mail, money or oysters, they were the best at doing so. Henry Wells was born in Vermont in 1805. He was born the son of a Congregationalist clergyman. At age twenty-two, Wells had opened at Rochester a school for the cure of speech defects which was probably a by-product of a bad stammer in his own diction. He married an upstate woman named Sarah Daggett and much is not known until going to work for a William F. Harnden, known as father of the express business.

In 1842, Henry Wells met William Fargo. Mr. Fargo was a native of Onondaga County, New York and had been first Alburn agent for the newly formed Auburn and Syracuse RR. Well trained in the express business, he joined Pomeroy & Co. where Wells was currently employed. Seeing eye to eye in many aspects of the business, in 1845 they established Wells & Co's Western Express. It would be a venture in which Wells would shortly sell his interest. The firm soon became Livingston, Fargo & Co. The two gentleman did not however end their friendship.

The death of partner Livingston in 1847, ended Livingston, Fargo and Co. Henry continued on just as Wells and Co. In 1850, a merger of three companies would take place. Livingston & Fargo, Wells & Co., and Butterfield, Wasson & Co. would be come the American Express Company. Wells and Fargo both had their eye on the far West, watching the emergence of the 49'ers taking place. It was not till 1852 that such a business as Wells Fargo and Company would take place to service the American West.

Wells Fargo was a hallmark- 3 T's - of the old west for five decades; treasure, transport and trouble.

Wells has more than 6,200 U.S. branches, the most of any U.S. bank.

(Reuters) - Wells Fargo & Co (WFC.N) doesn't employ the same kind of hedging strategy that has triggered a trading loss of at least $2 billion at rival JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N), the bank's chief risk officer said on Tuesday.

The fourth-largest U.S. bank by assets also raised its return on assets target during an investor day for analysts, even as executives repeatedly stressed their focus on carefully managing risks in the bank's operations.

"You can't take out-sized risk in the financial services industry, and we do our best not to do it," Chief Financial Officer Tim Sloan said during a day of presentations by top executives in New York.

Read more The Good, Bad and Ugly

I Challenge You To A Duel!


e all know Wells Fargo means many things to many people. BUT, I say it is the best darn bank there is. I mean, these people must know what they are doing. They still have stagecoaches and horses and safes. What do you think? I thought you would agree with me otherwise I would have to draw on ya.

Wells Fargo is the best bank there every was.

What You Might Have Found At The Old Wells Fargo Bank

Worthy of Note

In Wells Fargo's early years, gold and other important business were carried by side-wheel steamships from the Columbia River basin to points in Latin America. The steamers called at Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Acapulco, where Wells Fargo agents served the growing Pacific Coast communities.

WF purchased staging concerns between Missouri River & Calif. for $1,500,000 cash + WF stock.

Wells Fargo Stage - Sacramento Museum

IT TAKES TWO - Movie Montage

This is a little long and has two parts within itself. You will have two watch the whole thing to see the tie-in to Wells Fargo. It is a fun video and worth the watch.

During the gold rush era, in Columbia in Tuolumne County, California, more than $55,000,000 worth of gold dust and nuggets were weighed out in the Wells Fargo office. One single nugget found on the outskirts of town weighted thirty pounds and brought $7,438.50.

At any one point in time, Wells Fargo & Co. express could include pack mule (deliveries to miners), dog sled team for over the mountains, river pack, steamcars, trains, and coach.

Riding Pony

The idea was birthed by California's Senator Wm. Gwin in 1854. The idea of a fast mail was presented to Congress with little interest until gold was discovered in Colorado in 1858 and there became a need for mail service to the Rocky Mountain regions as well as California.

Pony Express First Take Of: Apri 3, 1860

Twenty dollars was the limit of the pay load and the rate was $5.00 per half ounce. When Wells Fargo took over, the Pony Express rate was reduced to $2.00 per half ounce.

The mail was sorted and locked into a special saddlebag called the mochila. It consisted of four almost watertight pockets, two on each side and fitted over the actual saddle so that it was held in place by the saddle horn and the weight of the rider. It took only a matter of seconds to remove it from one saddle and adjust it to another.

Average speed was 50 miles per hour - almost one mile and minute. Route consisted of 50 to 100 miles in length with 15 to 20 miles between new mounts. Total stations consisted of up to 80 riders with 400 mustangs.

The last bank left standing for small businesses

As other major players fell away, Wells Fargo has remained a stalwart, increasing its lending this year through SBA programs.

By Catherine Clifford, staff reporter

Last Updated: September 27, 2009: 2:04 PM ET

NEW YORK ( -- The landscape of lenders willing to work with small business owners has changed dramatically in the last year, but one bank -- Wells Fargo -- has emerged stronger than ever.

While other financiers that were historically major players took a knee, Wells Fargo (WFC, Fortune 500) increased its lending, emerging as the new number-one lender through the Small Business Administration's loan programs.

CIT Group (CIT, Fortune 500), JPMorgan Chase (JPM, Fortune 500), Banco Popular of North America and others that once held top spots have cut their SBA lending by more than 70% this year. Meanwhile, Wells Fargo upped its loan volume 4%, from $583.4 million in 2008 to $605 million this year. Wells Fargo The Last to Stand

Time Line

  • 1852: Henry Wells and William G. Fargo, the two founders of American Express, form Wells Fargo & Company to provide express and banking services to California.

    1860: Wells Fargo gains control of Butterfield Overland Mail Company, leading to operation of the western portion of the Pony Express.

    1866: 'Grand consolidation' unites Wells Fargo, Holladay, and Overland Mail stage lines under the Wells Fargo name.

    1904: A.P. Giannini creates the Bank of Italy in San Francisco.

    1905: Wells Fargo separates its banking and express operations; Wells Fargo's bank is merged with the Nevada National Bank to form the Wells Fargo Nevada National Bank.

    1918: As a wartime measure, the U.S. government nationalizes Wells Fargo's express franchise into a government agency known as the American Railway Express Agency. The government takes control of the express company. The bank begins rebuilding but with a focus on commercial markets.

    1923: Wells Fargo Nevada merges with the Union Trust Company to form the Wells Fargo Bank & Union Trust Company.

    1928: Giannini forms Transamerica Corporation as a holding company for his banking and other interests.

    1929: Northwest Bancorporation, or Banco, is formed as a banking association.

    1954: Wells shortens its name to Wells Fargo Bank.

    credit: Wikipedia:Wells Fargo

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