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American Express Company


Four men stand in front of a building in a Chatham NY. A sign in the windows and over the door proclaim it to the American Express Company. Three of the men are in matching uniforms and wear brimmed caps with company medallions, while the fourth—perhaps the office manager—is dressed in a suit with a bowler hat.

In the back of the picture another building is visible with a sign reading John Ryan Livery, perhaps the home of the horse. On the back of the picture, which is mounted on cardboard, is written Frank Westover, Hershey, Bill Doyle, Sampson, 1911?"

No persons named Hershey or Doyle appear in the 1910 Chatham census but Frank Westover is listed as a 21-year-old wage earner still living at home with his parents. Bill Doyle, son of immigrant Irish parents, was also living at home in 1910 and was already employed as a driver for American Express.

American Express was started In 1850 as a freight forwarding company in Buffalo NY, as a joint-stock corporation by merging cash-in-transit companies owned by Henry Wells, (Wells & Company), William Fargo (Livingston, Fargo & Company), and John Warren Butterfield (Wells, Butterfield & Company). For years, American Express enjoyed a virtual monopoly on the movement of goods, securities, currency, and the like throughout New York State.

Chatham Public Library Photograph Collection