R23c, R41a on 1863 Fort Wayne Gold Mining Co. Nevada Territory Stock Certificate
Big Creek, Lander County, Nevada Territory. Incorporated August 12, 1863. Certificate #69, issued to Charles Watrous for 4 shares. Signed by Wm. H. Stevens, president, and M. Allison Wheeler, secretary. Two vignettes: at center, a mountain landscape, and at left a native American scout. R23c and R41a revenue stamps at left. Black border with light green and red details. 5.5 x 10.25.” Uncancelled. Printer: Valentine & Co., San Francisco. Datelined San Francisco. September 14, 1863. M.A. Wheeler was a general partner in Wheeler & Gallagher, owners of Reese River Agency, a prominent company in San Francisco.
Charles Watrous (1807–1891)
In the 1860s Watrous was a US mail agent in San Francisco. He was forced to step down from his position due to his involvement in a vote-buying scandal to elect Timothy Guy Phelps US senator from California (Portland Oregonian, 10 February 1863, 2), and moved to New York, where he went into the lumber business with his brother-in-law. A member of the Union League, he was involved in the purge of the Tweed ring in 1871. In 1891 he returned to San Francisco with a group of capitalists and engineers sent overland to explore the possibility of a canal through Nicaragua, and died as a result of an illness contracted while inspecting the canal site en route (“The Big Canal: One of the Miller Party Talks of It,” San Francisco Chronicle, 19 May 1891, 2).