Why Some Succeed While Others Fail: William G. Fargo

Who, indeed, has not heard of the American Express Company? Yet, how few there are who know to whom we are indebted for its existence.

William G. Fargo was born May 20, 1818, at Pompey, New York, and at the age of twelve he was mail-carrier over a route that covered forty miles. The inference must be at once formed that William G. Fargo was no ordinary child. He must have been industrious and trustworthy, for the mail must be delivered on time. No holiday could be observed, nor could any circus be allowed to come between him and his work. Seeking a more remunerative calling he went to Waterville, where he clerked in a small store and tavern, improving his spare moments in learning to keep accounts. When seventeen he went to Syracuse and entered a grocery house. He continued in the grocery line in one capacity or another for five years, when he accepted the freight agency of the Auburn and Syracuse Railroad, in which capacity he had found his calling. Two years later he became associated with Pomeroy & Co., and was given the express agency for that company at Buffalo, and in 1844 he became a member of the firm of Wells & Co., who established an express line from Buffalo, west to Detroit, via Cleveland. This firm, in time, became Livingston & Fargo, and finally the several express companies: Wells & Co., Butterfield, Wasson & Co. and Livingston & Co., became merged into the since famous American Express Co. In 1868 Mr. Fargo was elected President of this Company, and remained at its head until his death. He was also connected with various other enterprises, being Vice-President of the New York Central & Hudson River railroad, and was also largely interested in Northern Pacific and other railroad stock. In 1861 he was elected Mayor of Buffalo on the Democratic ticket, but so impartial was he in the administration of the city affairs, and so patent was his business ability, that he was re-elected, being supported by all parties.

Such is the reward for earnestness. And will any one say that William G. Fargo was not deserving of this splendid success? If we will have success we must earn it. Let no man envy another in no matter what station of life he may be situated. Rest assured that we will fill the place that we are capable of filling; no more, no less.