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Origins Of Top Businesses: How American Express And Wells Fargo Are Related

 This section of our site is called “Origins Of Top Businesses.”  

It features interesting facts about the early years of well-known businesses.

These facts are given to you for fun and inspiration.
Fun because how many top businesses started out is really surprising.
Inspiring because it will help you as a business owner see that if they can do it, so can you.

Now for today’s facts:


origins of american express and wells fargo

Photo from Wikipedia

  • Henry Wells had humble beginnings. Early in his career he worked as an expressman for an east coast express company back in 1839. At that point in time express companies would transfer money and valuables because the U.S. Postal Service wasn’t reliable.
  • He started his own company because he felt the business he worked for should expand towards the west coast, but supposedly his boss wasn’t interested.
  • After trying to go at it on his own for several years, Henry decided to partner with William Fargo and Warren Butterfield.
  • Together they kept moving their business out towards the Midwest.
  • One of their main competitors was Adams and Co. While American Express moved west and towards the north, Adams and Co. expanded in the opposite direction – towards the south and the east.
  • Eventually, Henry and William feared that Adams and Co. would gain a monopoly on the California gold fields. 
  • Because of this fear, they suggested that their company expand into California. There was one problem. American Express’s Board of Directors said no. 
  • Henry and William decided they weren’t going to take “no” for an answer. They decided they’d start another venture to provide banking and express services in California. What did they call it? They called it, “Wells Fargo & Company.”
Sources: MSNBC & Wikipedia
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About Scott Aughtmon (1872 Articles)
I’m author of the book 51 Content Marketing Hacks. I am also a regular contributor to and I am the person behind the popular infographic 21 Types of Content We Crave. I’m a business strategist, consultant, content creation specialist, and speaker. I’ve been studying effective marketing and business methods (both online and offline) since 1999. ===> If you would like to see ways that we could work together, then please click here to learn more.