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Cayuga Lake Rail Road Uncanceled $1,000 Bond signed by Henry Wells - Autograph Railway Gold Bond

Inv# AG1533   Bond
Cayuga Lake Rail Road Uncanceled $1,000 Bond signed by Henry Wells - Autograph Railway Gold Bond
State(s): New York
Years: 1871

$1,000, 7% Gold Bond. Signed by Henry Wells. Very, very important! Extremely Rare!

Henry Wells (December 12, 1805 – December 10, 1878) was an American businessman important in the history of both the American Express Company and Wells Fargo & Company. Wells worked as a freight agent before joining the express business. His companies, which were the predecessors of American Express and Wells Fargo, competed with the United States Post Office by carrying mail at less than the government rate. In higher education, Wells was the founder of Wells College in Aurora, New York.

Henry Wells was born in 1805 in Thetford, Vermont, the son of Dorothea "Dorothy" (Randall) and Shipley Wells, a Presbyterian minister at what is now the First Presbyterian Church of Seneca Falls, New York who moved his family to central New York State in the westward migration of Yankees out of New England. He was a member of the seventh generation of his family in America. His original ancestor was an English immigrant Thomas Welles (1590–1659), who arrived in Massachusetts in 1635 and was the only man in Connecticut's history to hold all four top offices: governor, deputy governor, treasurer, and secretary. In this capacity, he transcribed the Fundamental Orders into the official colony records on 14 January 1638, OS, (24 January 1639, NS).

As a child, Henry worked on a farm and attended school in Fayette. In 1822, he was apprenticed to Jessup & Palmer, tanners and shoemakers at Palmyra, New York.

In 1836, Wells became a freight agent on the Erie Canal and soon started his own business. Later he worked for Harnden's Express in Albany. When Wells suggested that service could be expanded west of Buffalo, New York, William F. Harnden urged Wells to go into business on his own account. In 1841, the firm of Pomeroy & Company was formed by George E. Pomeroy, Henry Wells and Crawford Livingston. In the express business they competed with the United States Post Office by carrying mail at less than the government rate. Popular support, roused by the example of the penny post in England, was on the side of the expressmen, and the government was compelled to reduce its rates in 1845 and again in 1851.

Pomeroy & Company was succeeded in 1844 by Livingston, Wells & Company, composed of Crawford Livingston, Henry Wells, William Fargo and Thaddeus Pomeroy. On April 1, 1845, Wells & Company's Western Express – generally known simply as Western Express because it was the first such company west of Buffalo – was established by Wells, Fargo and Daniel Dunning. Service was offered at first as far as Detroit, rapidly expanding to Chicago, St. Louis, and Cincinnati.

In 1846, Wells sold his interest in Western Express to William Livingston, whereupon the firm became Livingston, Fargo & Company. Wells then went to New York City to work for Livingston, Wells & Company, concentrating on the promising transatlantic express business. When Crawford Livingston died in 1847, another of his brothers entered the firm, which became Wells & Company. (However, Livingston, Wells & Company continued to operate under that firm name in England, France and Germany.)

Early in 1850, Wells formed Wells, Butterfield & Company with John Butterfield as the successor of Butterfield & Wasson. The same year the American Express Company was formed as a consolidation of Wells & Company; Livingston, Fargo & Company; and Wells, Butterfield & Company. Wells was president of American Express from 1850 to 1868. About the time the company was formed, he relocated in Aurora, New York, which remained his home for the rest of his life. There he built a grand residence, called Glen Park. It was designed by noted architect A.J. Davis, with grounds by Andrew Jackson Downing, another notable architect. The property later became part of Wells College, which Wells founded.

When John Butterfield and other directors of American Express objected to extending the company's service to California, Wells organized Wells, Fargo & Company on March 18, 1852, to undertake the venture. Edwin B. Morgan of Aurora was the company's first president, and Wells, William Fargo, Johnston Livingston and James McKay were on the boards of both Wells Fargo and American Express.

In September 1853, Wells Fargo & Company acquired Livingston, Wells & Company, which had been its express and banking correspondent in England, France and Germany. By the spring of 1854, some of the directors of Wells Fargo had become convinced that the purchase had been brought about through unspecified misrepresentations by Wells, Johnston Livingston, William N. Babbitt and S. De Witt Bloodgood. Wells and his associates made good any losses to Wells Fargo, and Livingston, Wells & Company wound up its affairs when its Paris office was closed in October 1856.

Wells was president in 1855 of the New Granada Canal & Steam Navigation Company. In Aurora he was president of the First National Bank of Aurora and in 1867 also the first president of the Cayuga Lake Railroad.

Wells retired from the board of Wells Fargo in 1867. He also retired as president of American Express in 1868 when it was merged with the Merchants Union Express Company under the presidency of William Fargo. Also in 1868, Wells founded Wells College in Aurora with an endowment to make it one of the first women's colleges in the United States.

One of Wells' last ventures was the Arizona & New Mexico Express Company, of which he was president in 1876.

On September 5, 1827, Wells married Sarah Caroline Daggett (1803–1859), the daughter of Levi Daggett (1768–1835) and a descendant of the Doggett colonial settlers. They had four children:

  • Charles Wells
  • Mary Elizabeth Wells (1830–1884), who married James H. Welles (1819–1873)
  • Oscar A. Wells (1833–1909)
  • Edward Wells

After his first wife's death on October 13, 1859 in Albany, New York, he married Mary Prentice of Boston in 1861.

Wells died in Glasgow, Scotland, on December 10, 1878, two days short of his 73rd birthday. He was brought home for burial in Aurora and was buried at Oak Glen Cemetery in Aurora. His body was transported back to the United States aboard the steam-ship Ethiopia. His funeral was held at his home in Aurora.

The Cayuga and Susquehanna Railroad was a railroad in the state of New York, in the United States. Its line ran from Ithaca, New York to Owego, New York. It was founded in 1829 and began operations in 1834. The Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad (Lackawanna) leased the company in 1855, but it remained in existence as a non-operating subsidiary. It was conveyed to Conrail in the bankruptcy of the Erie Lackawanna Railway, successor to the Lackawanna, in 1976.


The railroad was chartered on January 28, 1828, as the Ithaca and Owego Railroad. It was the third railroad built in North America, and the longest of the three. It connected the town of Ithaca, on the southern shore of Cayuga Lake, with the town of Owego on the Susquehanna River to the south. By 1818, the Cayuga–Seneca Canal connected the Erie Canal to the north end of Cayuga Lake. The Ithaca and Owego was planned to provide a missing link connecting the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes to the coal fields of Pennsylvania and the Chesapeake Bay.

Little construction was done until the Chemung Canal was built along a similar course in 1833, via Seneca Lake and Elmira, diverting trade from Ithaca and Owego. At this point, construction was started and the work was completed by 1834. The chief engineer for the construction was John Randel Jr..

The track was standard gauge strap-iron rails— strips of cast iron attached to wooden rails. The line covered a distance of approximately 30 miles (48 km). It comprised an ascent from Cayuga Lake of 602 feet (183 m) in 8 miles (13 km) followed by a descent to Owego of 276 feet (84 m). Two inclined planes accomplished the lift from Ithaca, one driven by a stationary engine and the second by a horse-drawn windlass. Originally the cars were pulled by horse power, An engine, "The Pioneer", built by Walter McQueen of Albany, was purchased in 1840. This engine was in service for a few years before crashing through a bridge, killing the engineer and fireman, and the railroad returned to horse power.

In 1842, the railroad defaulted on its debts and was foreclosed and sold to Henry Yates and Archibald McIntyre, who reorganized the company as the Cayuga and Susquehanna Railroad. At this time the track was changed to broad gauge. The Delaware, Lackawanna and Western Railroad leased the company in 1855 and operated the line thereafter as part of its Cayuga Division. The DL&W reconstructed the line with "heavy T rails" and converted it back to standard gauge, facilitating a connection to the Erie in Owego.

In 1956, the physical right-of-way was abandoned; it would later be incorporated into the South Hill Recreation Way in Ithaca.

The company remained in existence as a non-operating subsidiary through the merger with the Erie Railroad in 1960 to form the Erie Lackawanna Railway. It was conveyed to Conrail in 1976 in the Erie Lackawanna's bankruptcy.

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Condition: Excellent

A bond is a document of title for a loan. Bonds are issued, not only by businesses, but also by national, state or city governments, or other public bodies, or sometimes by individuals. Bonds are a loan to the company or other body. They are normally repayable within a stated period of time. Bonds earn interest at a fixed rate, which must usually be paid by the undertaking regardless of its financial results. A bondholder is a creditor of the undertaking.

Item ordered may not be exact piece shown. All original and authentic.