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California Stage Company | Special Collections & University Archives

Name: California Stage Company
Variant Name: California Stage Line

Historical Note:

The California Stage Company was founded by James E. Birch and was one of the principal stagecoach lines carrying passengers during the California Gold Rush during the 1850s. The company became a Wells Fargo line later in that decade, carrying mail, money, and passengers, and by the early 1860s was operating a huge network of stage lines out of three main hubs: Sacramento, Folsom, and Marysville. Though the company had much competition from the rival Pioneer Stage Line, the route represented in this item was extremely profitable due to the continuous stream of emigrants crossing the Sierra to settle in prosperous California after the Gold Rush, and due to the discovery of the Comstock Lode (the first silver mine in the U. S.) in Virginia City, Nevada, one of the stops on this route. The region served by this stagecoach line was largely wealthy and thriving because of widespread silver mining activity at the time.

According to Bancroft, the California Stage Line sold their route out of North San Juan to Cunningham and Moody in 1866.


Bancroft, Hubert Howe. Chronicles of the Builders of the Commonwealth. v.5. San Francisco: The History Company, 1891.

Jackson, W. Turrentine. "Wells Fargo Staging over the Sierra." California Historical Society Quarterly 49(2) 1970.

Sinnott, James. History of Sierra County: Alleghany. Downieville: James J. Sinnott, 1974.

Winther, Oscar. Via Western Express and Stagecoach. Lincoln: UNebraska Press, 1945.

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