August 28, 2016
August 28, 1858. "I gladly welcomed an offer from Wells, Fargo & Co. to take the post of Cashier in their Shasta office at $150 a month," banker Elbert A. Brinckerhoff later wrote. Living in a small room next to the vault, this 20-year old did not lack excitement. "My manner of living had now changed, owing to the necessity of guarding the safe," he said. "Our vaults were most secure--large, built in and entered through 3 doors, all combination locks--with $100,000 to $300,000 in bullion often being behind those doors--and the combination in my possession!" With up to a half ton of gold to guard in this town at the head of transportation to the north, he worried. "At no moment in time," he recalled, "was my hand more than an arm's length from pistol and knife." Yet, during the day, he greeted miners with a "smiling face," ready to "trade their gold dust with Wells, Fargo & Co. for coin or drafts to the order of wife's name or relatives in far-off lands."