Wells Fargo’s 16th plush pony, Nellie, is coming soon!
Meet Nellie, Wells Fargo 2015 Plush Pony (Wells Fargo Bank)
Nellie’s heartwarming story is online now, and Plush Pony Nellie will arrive in banking stores November 30. From November 30 through December 15, a promotion in Wells Fargo stores begins, and you can learn more by visiting a store close to you.
In 1897, Rush Blodget started working for Wells Fargo as a wagon driver in Bakersfield, California. Everyone in town knew Rush and the horse named Nellie that pulled their Wells Fargo wagon. Nellie knew her job well: she often backed the Wells Fargo wagon up to the depot platform without being told, and waited patiently while Rush loaded express shipments on the wagon.
Rush and Nellie had an important role in Bakersfield commerce. Every day, Rush and his “working pal” Nellie went to the railroad depot to collect the important business and money packages for Wells Fargo customers in Bakersfield. Local banks depended on secure shipments of gold coins from San Francisco. Gold coins were the preferred method of payment in those days; businesses accepted dollar bills reluctantly, and paper money was quickly shipped out of town and exchanged for gold coins. Sometimes, Rush and Nellie carried as much as $20,000 in coins in the back of their wagon.
Rush Blodget and Nellie collected express packages for Wells Fargo customers in Bakersfield (Wells Fargo Corporate Archives)
Other coin shipments were just as important to the local economy. When the Redhick Brothers store started offering the town 99¢ bargains, it circulated a lot of pennies throughout Bakersfield. Rush and Nellie brought pennies into the town, and those pennies found their way to Kern Valley Bank, where the cashier rounded them up and shipped them out of town again by Wells Fargo express.
One day in 1898, Nellie made an unexpected delivery. Rush and Nellie were at the railroad depot loading the wagon when a sick soldier, returning from service in the Spanish American War, got off the train. Rush recognized that the man in need of help was his brother! Sgt. Claude R. Blodget had gone to war with the National Guard a few months before.
Sergeant Claude R Blodget. Spanish American War 1898 (Courtesy of the family of Rush M. Blodget Jr.)
Bakersfield had no ambulance or emergency hospital at that time. Rush loaded Sgt. Blodget onto the wagon and shouted for Nellie to “Hurry! Hurry! Hurry! To my home!” Nellie was famous around town for her calm, slow pace, but on this occasion, she picked up a lively trot to the Blodget home where a doctor was called. Once Rush was sure his brother was in safe hands, he and Nellie went back to work.
Blodget Brothers, left to right: Percy, Rush, and Claude (Courtesy of the family of Rush M. Blodget Jr.)
Rush and Nellie continued working together until Rush went off to college. Many years later, in a letter to the Wells Fargo museum, Rush shared his story and his fond memories of working with Nellie. “The memory of all those duties brings a sense of nostalgia,” he wrote. “But as I look back, and visualize (Wells Fargo’s Bakersfield Agent) Alkin Hall at his desk, and the bundles on the floor, and can see through the window, as the symbol of the transportation for which Wells Fargo is so famous, a noble servant of the old express company, standing in quiet dignity waiting her next duty—Nellie.”