William G. Fargo (1818-1881)

William G. Fargo began his career in the transportation business in 1841 as a goods receiver on the Auburn and Syracuse railroad. This is where he met Henry Wells who, in a few years’ time, offered him to become an associated partner in Wells & Company.

In 1850, Henry Wells, William G. Fargo and others founded the American Express Company in New York. Only two years later, after a dispute with the board, Henry Wells and William Fargo founded a new company, Wells Fargo. It offered secure transportation and banking services.  The duo set out to offer their services in California and elsewhere on the West Coast during the hectic gold rush. In 1860, the company took over operation of the western half of the Pony Express as part of taking over the Butterfield Overland Mail Company.

As William Fargo's private wealth grew, he began investing money in the railroad development. Fargo himself held positions such as vice president of the New York Central Railroad and Director of the Northern Pacific Railroad. He was also elected Mayor of Buffalo for two terms. William Fargo died in 1881.