Jack The Dog

Before the 20th century, with its many innovations in firefighting and other preparedness, communities were often ravaged by fire and other disasters. Such a disaster in Iowa Hill, Calif., made one of the legends that adds to the fame of Wells Fargo. Here’s the story of a dog who remained steadfast in the line of duty.

Jack the dogIn gold rush days, Wells Fargo agents sometimes had dogs to help guard Wells Fargo treasure. In Auburn, Calif., agent John Q. Jackson had a 128-pound Mastiff as “friend, counselor and safe guard.” Down the road at Iowa Hill, agent T.S. Hotchkiss also had a loyal canine.Wells Fargo’s office at Iowa Hill was prospering, with as much as $100,000 in gold passing weekly through the office. (That’s about $1.5 million today.) To enhance security, Hotchkiss got a powerful dog named Tiger. “Tig” was trained to lay by the safe and guard it from the hands of all but his master. Tig performed his duty without incident for several years.

In 1857, fire swept Iowa Hill and destroyed most of the buildings in town. The Wells Fargo office was among the structures destroyed; at the time of the fire, Tig was at his post. Agent Hotchkiss rescued him from the office twice, but in the excitement Hotchkiss did not have time to tie the dog securely and keep Tig from harm. Attention centered on the fire, which spread rapidly and enveloped the office completely. It was not safe in the street, and it was not possible to enter the buildings.

The following morning, Agent Hotchkiss found the charred remains of his heroic friend in the ruins.

Jack the Dog illustrationSuch faithfulness led dogs to become a universal symbol of security and service for the express business. A dog on the treasure box graces the cover of Wells Fargo’s Directory of Agents and Offices for 1883 with the legend “alert and faithful.” In 1893, a Wells Fargo employee posed his bulldog puppy on top of a Wells Fargo Treasure Box at the Midwinter Fair in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. Thereafter, the image of Jack on the treasure box became a favorite of Wells Fargo offices around the country. “Jack” has become a part of Wells Fargo history and remains a favorite of Wells Fargo team members today.

But for Wells Fargo, it means more than just fierce protection of customers’ assets. Jack the Dog also remembers Iowa Hill’s Tig, a Wells Fargo legend for making the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.

Immeasurable thanks to Marianne Babal, Wells Fargo Historian, whose core research and texts comprise this entry.

This entry was posted in Museums, Remember and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Jack The Dog

  1. Rhonda says:

    When will Jack The Dog come to Wells Fargo Home Mortgage in San Bernardino?

  2. Mary says:

    Not a bad looking dog for being over 143 years old.

  3. snowbunny says:

    good luck with that jack!!!!
    December 12, 2006 06:00 PM

  4. Charles Riggs says:

    Well, thank you, Snowbunny.
    Is there a story behind the name? Skier?
    What do you take with you to the slopes to guard against —
    * getting lost?
    * an accident that leaves you immobile?
    * avalanche?
    * hypothermia?
    Give me all the details — you’ll have an entire blog post all your own.
    December 13, 2006 09:34 AM

  5. Anonymous says:

    GOOD THING YOU LIKE DOGS
    December 13, 2006 05:19 PM

  6. Charles Riggs says:

    Yup. Not only that, but “Jack the Cat” just doesn’t have the same … bite.
    December 14, 2006 10:06 AM

  7. Renee says:

    As a WF employee with two bull-breed dogs at home, I’m thankful that the corporation embraces these powerful, loyal animals instead of making them into villains. It’s popular to hate pit bulls and other powerful dogs right now, so it’s nice to know WF doesn’t take part in that sensationalism; instead, recognizing these dogs for what they are: alert and faithful protectors and friends. Thanks Wells!
    February 23, 2007 07:05 AM

  8. Mellisa in AZ says:

    This is a wonderful story … I am going to share this with my team on Friday. “-)
    March 6, 2007 03:34 PM

  9. Tig says:

    What a sad, sad story. Seems as Tig got the short stick
    January 24, 2007 03:24 PM

  10. Charles Riggs says:

    Dear Find Out —
    Indeterminate breed.
    But Jack on the treasure box is a bulldog and Agent John Q. Jackson had a mastiff.
    Grrrrr…
    March 29, 2007 02:23 PM

  11. help me find out???? says:

    I think this is a said being a huge dog lover myself I dont know what I would do if that happend to me and one of my dogs. But my quistion is does anyone know what kind of dog tiger “tig” was? I dont think it was mentioned if it was I missed it please help…
    March 29, 2007 11:51 AM

  12. pandiux says:

    In New Mexico we love Jack. We took a picture of a puppy sitting on a fake Wells Fargo treasure box and it looks just like him. YOU SHOULD SEE IT!!!!
    August 6, 2007 07:59 AM

  13. Charles Riggs says:

    Hey pandiux —
    send along that picture, OK? I want in!
    August 6, 2007 11:15 AM

  14. sindy says:

    why is the name jack but in the story its Tiger “Tig”?
    August 8, 2007 09:44 AM

  15. pandiux says:

    Hey Charles,
    We tellers in New Mexico do not have email. I will ask one of the bankers to send it to your email.
    August 6, 2007 11:59 AM

  16. i love kurt cobain says:

    i love jack the dog. i have a keychain:)
    August 11, 2007 01:41 PM

  17. Charles Riggs says:

    Sindy —
    The original story is of Tig, who guarded the office faithfully. The story caught on as a good parable for security. Then a guy posed his dog, Jack, about 40 years later. The two mooshed together so that Jack illustrates fidelity and security.
    I suppose I could’ve done the blog this short to begin with — but then, I get paid by the hour.
    Hey, love kurt :
    Thanks ! We all love Jack. And all of us here have the same keychain. (Lost and Found is a nightmare!)
    August 13, 2007 02:47 PM

  18. pandiux says:

    Wait! I dont have a keychain.
    August 28, 2007 02:24 PM

  19. Charles Riggs says:

    And with tremendous pride, elva.
    September 5, 2007 10:30 AM

  20. elva says:

    Ohhh that’s so sweet and sad, also it doesn’t matter what situation wells fargo will protect your accounts
    September 4, 2007 01:42 PM

  21. Doreen - North Salt Lake, Ut says:

    hey folks, go into ebay and look up auction # 170213508125. it is for a BEAUTIFUL wells fargo stage coach going for $60,000.00. What a beauty of an EXACT reproduction of an 1854 Concord Stagecoach made from an oak tree by an 80 year old man. it is amazing. it would be nice if wells fargo bought it and trailered it around the states and bank branches for show (it would surely drum up business)!

  22. Ron says:

    Is Jack a mastiff or a bull dog?

    I have Jack the stuffed animal from WELLS FARGO.

    “Yee-haw!”

  23. Elizabeth lopese says:

    your dog looks cute well not so cute,but those of u that like the pics that he put on the website you PEOPLE ARE COOl bye

  24. Charles Riggs says:

    thanks, Elizabeth! We’re cool because cool people leave comments.

    Pretty cool, eh?

  25. Lori and Adam Chewbacca says:

    I always thought Jack was a terrier since they are know for their desire to protect and serve their owners. I also have one of the stuffed versions and would love to find a second one for my collection. As for portection don’t tell him but my little Yorkie thinks he is as big as a bull dog and would stop at nothing to keep me and my belongings safe. The things that drew me to Wells fargo were the dog and stage coach with the horses since I love animals.

  26. Linda Cimijotti says:

    I think it was really neat to see the stagecoach as it came to visit the Wachovia Center in Charlotte!!

  27. Daphne says:

    I work for Wells Fargo and am so pleased that there is an explination about the doggie. I had no idea.

  28. bill says:

    i was at the grand opening in evanston. it was a nice time. the mascot was very good. i think that was scott alan. i hear him on the radio.

  29. Robert H. says:

    I work for wells fargo as well and had so much fun being Jack the Dog at the Corporate Woods 4th of July Celebration. The Crowds loved him. From children to seniors, I was hugged, shook, pulled, petted, and in so many pictures you would not believe.

  30. Nicholas Jenson says:

    He looks just like a baby version of my boxer!

  31. Ghost says:

    Looks more like a pitbull than anything else. Mastiffs have a more strange look about them. That must be a blue nose pit with just spots

  32. Melinda says:

    When will Jack The Dog come to the Wells Fargo bank in Sacramento,Califronia?

Guided By History

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.

Your questions and comments really matter to us! We're glad you want to join the conversation and connect with other readers. All we ask is that you keep some simple guidelines in mind:

  • Stay on-topic. Only comments that are related to the subject of the blog entry will be posted.
  • Be respectful. It's okay if you disagree with a post or comment, but please, no personal attacks or offensive language.
  • Maintain your privacy and confidentiality.Please do not provide any of your specific account details or other personal information! If you have immediate service needs, please contact your bank representative or Customer Service.
  • Wells Fargo team members: In the interest of full disclosure, if you are a current employee of or are associated with Wells Fargo, please make note of your affiliation.