Alvin Adams: The Express Service Man

On this day, June 16 in the year 1804, one of the pioneering men in the express business was born in Vermont, USA. His name was Alvin Adams, the founder of Adams and Company, the forerunner of Adams Express Company.

Alvin Adams
Alvin Adams (Credit: wiki commons)

Alvin was an orphan at the age of eight. His elder brother took care of him. As a young man, Alvin took odd jobs in Boston, Massachusetts. Later, he established his own buy and sell business. However, his business failed due to the Panic of 1837. Having 9 children to feed, he was undaunted. He engaged in another enterprise, transporting mail and cargoes for a fee. At the beginning, it was an up-hill work and Alvin was the messenger, cashier, label-boy and porter at the same time. Later, he employed assistants, one of them would become his successor as CEO. With his honesty and industry, his new enterprise grew to become the Adams Express Company. It was incorporated in 1854 after being merged with smaller companies including its original chief competitor, Harnden and Company.

From the initial Boston–New York operation, Alvin Express expanded to include many states. In 1850, an affiliate was set up to manage activities in California. Later, its service was extended to China.

Alvin died in 1877. It was reported that his funeral was one of the largest in Boston. At the time of his death, Adams Express had 15,000 employees.

The company Alvin Adams founded continues to operate up to the present. It is one of the oldest companies listed on the New York Stock Exchange. In 2015, it changed its name to Adams Diversified Equity Fund to reflect its primary operation as a closed-end fund.

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