Overland Telegraph Company

Overland Telegraph Company
Wood engraving in Harper's Weekly, depicting the construction of the first Transcontinental Telegraph, with a Pony Express rider passing below.

In 1860, the Pacific Telegraph Act of 1860 called for the facilitation of communication between the east and west coasts of the United States of America. Hiram Sibley of the Western Union Telegraph Company won the contract. In 1861, Benjamin Franklin Ficklin joined Hiram Sibley in helping to form the Pacific Telegraph Company of Nebraska. At the same time, Jeptha Wade was asked by Hiram Sibley to encourage the consolidation of telegraph companies in California, a process that had been underway there anyway, most notably involving the merger of the two largest intrastate companies following a lawsuit between them,[1] the Alta Telegraph Company and the California State Telegraph Company. The Overland Telegraph Company of California was thus formed with Horace W. Carpentier of the California State Telegraph Company serving as its president, and it began building east from Carson City, Nevada while its eastern counterpart, the Pacific Telegraph Company began building west from Omaha, Nebraska. [1] Upon their connection in Salt Lake City, Utah on October 24, 1861, the final link between the east and west coast of the United States of America was made. The First Transcontinental Telegraph led to the immediate demise of the Pony Express. The Pacific Telegraph Company of Nebraska and the Overland Telegraph Company of California were eventually absorbed into the Western Union Telegraph Company.


  1. ^ California State Telegraph Company v. Alta Telegraph Company, 22 Cal 398 (1863)

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