Nat Stein (also known as "Nathan Stein") began his career as a pony express rider on March 1, 1861, at St. Joseph, Missouri, where he was employed by the Central Overland California and Pike's Peak Express Company, first going on the line to Denver.
When the line changed hands and passed into the control of Benjamin Holladay, Stein was placed in charge of the agency at Denver, and, early in 1863, was transferred to the Salt Lake City office.
In May 1864, Holladay secured the first government contract for mail service in Montana, and he sent Nat Stein to take charge of the office at Virginia City, where he represented the stage line in all its branches, including the banking department.
By February 1866, the Holladay Overland would be taken over by Wells, Fargo & Company Express. This marked the beginning of Stein's association with that fabled express and banking firm — he would eventually serve on the Wells Fargo board of directors 35 years later.
Stein was very well known and popular along all the stagecoach routes, known for his genial nature and sociability. He also become known as a literary character — called by many "The Poet of the Stage Line." He frequently wrote verses for the amusement of the boys, the most famous of these being "The Song of the Overland Stage-Driver" which was printed in the Montana Post on April 8, 1865 and for some time afterward was sung by the "stage boys" on the routes.
It seems that he left Virginia City only weeks after this photo was made, journeying back east to his hometown of Philadelphia — but he soon returned to the west.
Stein was appointed by president Andrew Johnson to be the first post-Civil War postmaster of Salt Lake City, Utah in April 1866 — only 7 months after this photo was taken. Stein replaced T.B.H. Stenhouse, a Mormon pioneer and elder who edited the Salt Lake Telegraph newspaper. Stenhouse would become a vocal opponent of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — in 1873, he published a scathing anti-Mormon expose titled The Rocky Mountain Saints and was excommunicated.
In accepting the Utah postmaster appointment, Stein resigned as chairman of the Montana Union Territorial Committee.
Stein served only one year as postmaster. He remained in Utah, living in Salt Lake City and later in Corinne, the so-called "Gentile Capitol of Utah" and working for the First National Bank of Utah. He continued his literary efforts, contributing lampoons of Brigham Young to the satirical Salt Lake paper Diogenes, and many odes and poems to the local Corinne papers.
During this period, his twin brother, Aaron Stein, was employed at Wells, Fargo & Co.'s Overland Express Co. in Salt Lake City.
Both of them would eventually wind up in San Francisco and serve on the Board of Directors of Wells Fargo as officers — Aaron Stein in 1894-95 & 1900, and Nathan in 1901-02.
Nathan Stein died on July 15, 1919 in San Francisco, and was remembered in newspaper obituaries as an old-time "Overlander" and Fargo man, as well as for his verses about pony express riders and western stage driver. He was laid to rest alongside his twin brother Aaron, who had died 19 years earlier. Wells Fargo paid for their monument. He was survived by his wife of 40 years, Horatia Cornelia (Shea) Richardson.
Condition: Unbelievably flawless.