The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 36, July 1932 - April, 1933 Page: 320
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
and forty-six express companies, giving their location and-
wherever possible-date of operation.
It is the history not of the companies but of their relations
with the early miners, the early mining days, and the succeed-
ing mining industry. Starting in 1849 as "one-man" companies
the expresses soon covered the entire mining area and their
trains of pack-mules carried from a "sack of flour to a grand
piano over the perilous grades and fords, without ever losing
a single load." Charging at first as much as two dollars for
delivering a letter from San Francisco to a mining camp, the
prices for this service soon decreased with the active competi-
tion of rival companies until it dwindled down to ten and twenty
cents. But the companies also rendered banking services. The
heyday of the express companies was short. By 1856 the
smaller companies had disappeared and most of the larger ones
had been absorbed by Wells, Fargo & Company. The story of
how the Pacific Union Express Company forced the all power-
ful rival to come, to terms and of how the pony express had to
give way before the railway are but two of the dramatic inci-
dents vividly but truthfully narrated in the course of this study.
The efficiency with which the early express companies per-
formed their duties is evidenced by the complete absence of criti-
cism from their wide list of patrons. Nowhere in the news-
papers or in private letters is there a word of complaint as to
the services performed by them or the charges exacted, while
the criticism of the government postal service is outspoken and
general. But "they are gone," muses the author, "their heroic
efforts are over. And even the very remembrance of their work
and their labors has faded from the memory of a fast progressing
world, leaving practically no record behind them." It is the
record of their work which the author presents in this valuable
study of the pioneer miner and the pack-mule express in the
early days of California.
C. E. CASTANEDA.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 36, July 1932 - April, 1933, periodical, 1933; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101093/m1/346/: accessed July 21, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.