Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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HARNDEN, William Frederick, expressman, born in Reading, Massachusetts, 23 August, 1813; died in Boston, Massachusetts, 14 Jan., 1845. For five years he was conductor and passenger clerk on the Boston and Worcester railroad. Early in 1839 he originated the express system of transportation for merchandise or parcels. On 4 March of that year, after public announcement in the newspapers for several days, he made his first trip from Boston to New York as an "express-package carrier." Mr. Harnden proposed also to take the charge of freight and attend to its delivery, for which purpose he was to make four trips a week. The project recommended itself to business men, and was particularly acceptable to the press, to which Mr. Harnden made himself useful in the voluntary transmission of news in advance of the mail. In 1840 Dexter Brigham, Jr., his New York agent, became his partner, and soon afterward went to England, where he laid the foundation of Harnden and Company's foreign business. During the same year their line was extended to Philadelphia, and later to Albany. The business grew with great rapidity, but Mr. Harnden's health failed, and he soon died. For several years the company was continued by the remaining members of the firm, but in 1854 it was consolidated with others to form the Adams express company. In 1866 a monument was erected to Mr. Harnden's memory in Mount Auburn cemetery, near Cambridge, Massachusetts, by the "express companies of the United States."
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