By Cookie Davis
By 1854, James Birch and his partner, Frank Stevens, organized the California Stage Company by purchasing or merging 80% of all the stage lines in California. Both men became very wealthy and this enabled Birch to return to the east coast and build a mansion for his wife (whom he met while still in Providence).
Eventually, the California Stage Company also won a contract to deliver mail from San Antonio, Texas to San Diego, California. In 1857 Birch took another trip to the east coast traveling by ship to Panama, crossed the isthmus in a train, and then was aboard another paddle steamwheel on his way to New York when it was caught in a storm and sunk. He was only thirty years old when he died.
His widow, Julia, eventually married his best friend and business partner, Frank Stevens.
*The term "teamster" began as a term used to describe someone who drove a team of horses, oxen or mules pulling a wagon. These wagons were used to deliver materials and packages including everything from lumber to clothing. When engines were invented and trucks took over the job of hauling things, the truck drivers kept the name "teamster." That is why truck drivers today are known as teamsters.
Cool, Robert N. “The Swansea Stage Coach.” The Swansea Historical Society, 1976.
“James E. Birch (Entrepreneur).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 10 Nov. 2018, en.wikipedia.org/wiki
Smith, Waddell F. “The Boom Days.” Western Publications, Inc., 1966.
James Birch photo courtesy of the Alpine Historical Society
Stage coach photo courtesy of Pixabay
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