Michigan Central Railroad Company Signed by James C. FargoInv# AG2084 Bond
$5,000 5% Bond issued to the Treasurer of American Express Co. and signed by James C. Fargo on the back. Printed by American Bank Note Co., New York.
James Congdel Fargo (1829-1915) The son of James Fargo, James Congdel Fargo entered the employ of Wells & Co. (in which his brother, William George Fargo was a partner) at Buffalo in 1844. In 1866 after becoming agent and manager of the firm’s successor, the American Express Co., Fargo went to New York as General Superintendent and Manager. In 1881 he became President of the company as well as President of Westcott Express Co. and National Express Co. As president of the American Express Company James C. Fargo was well off and well known. It is not surprising that he felt insulted when he could not get checks cashed during a trip to Europe in 1890. The European bankers were steadfast as Fargo was not known to them, they would not cash his checks. Would Americans always have a cash problem when traveling in Europe? Marcellus F. Berryn, an employee of the American Express Company set out to find a solution. He wrote later: "There’s one thing every person does in a distinctive way. That is writing his signature. Therefore the foolproof device for taking money to strange places must carry the signature of the bearer. It must declare that it will be cashed only when a second, and matching, signature is added before witnesses." On July 7, 1891, Berry was granted four copyrights for what he called "the travelers cheque," and William C. Fargo got the first one. He had no difficulty when he wanted fifty dollars a few weeks later in Leipzig, Germany. In 1891, American Express sold $9,120.00 worth of travelers checks, and the amount has risen every year. During 2000, sales of American Express Travelers Cheques increased to $24.6 billion.
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.