Monday, August 10, 2015

Sharon Springs Mourning Cover

Sometimes I just purchase a cover because it catches my eye as did this mourning cover from Sharon Springs, NY with the wonderful blue Double Circular Datestamp plus a Shield in Circle killer.  So that the killer can be seen even better, I used the retroReveal site to enhance my scan in black and white.  

Sharon Springs is in Schoharie County and was established in 1850.

I think I'll probably be searching now for more Shield killer examples from other US post offices. (August 11:  As I was working on the manuscript for an upcoming book on New York State Postmaster/County Cancels, I discovered I already had another shield: Highlands Falls from Orange County.  I've placed the illustration at the bottom of this blog entry.)

check out my other postal history blogs:

Friday, July 24, 2015

Hotel Champlain: The Summer White House

Here's an article I wrote for THE STAMP INSIDER in January 2014 as part of the Empire State Postal History Society's page:

According to Wikipedia, there have been “Summer White Houses” since George Washington’s presidency.  Washington, D.C is can be a very hot and warm place in the summer.  Before air conditioning, many of the Washington elite would escape to cooler and dryer climate in the summer.

In 1897 and 1899, President William McKinley found refuge in northern New York at the Hotel Champlain, on a bluff overlooking Lake Champlain just south of Plattsburgh.  

Even though he was on “vacation” the affairs of state still needed attention.  A cover from possible McKinley himself to the Acting Secretary of Station in Washington, D.C. is postmarked with a double circle “HOTEL CHAMPLAIN/ Clinton Co., N.Y.” date stamp.  I assume there is no “FREE” making because the corner card contains the word “OFFICIAL”.  

Alvey Adee was a career diplomat who was Acting Secretary of State while Secretary of State John Sherman was in ill health.  Adee was 2nd Assistant Secretary of State from 1886 to 1924.

The hotel was constructed in 1889 and 1890 by the Delaware and Hudson Railroad Company as a destination summer resort.   The three storey 400 guest hotel sat high about Lake Champlain on an overlook called Bluff Point.  It was served by both the D&H Railroad and the Lake Champlain Steamboat Company.

In 1910 it was destroyed by fire but rebuilt  in the coming years.  Today it is the site of Clinton Community College.

Hotel Champlain used a number of cancels with “Clinton County” as part of the name, perhaps in an effort to make sure people would know where the hotel was located.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Dannemora (Prison Town)

Here are some interesting covers from Dannemora, NY, the site of the recent escape from the Clinton Correctional Facility in June, 2015.  Dannemora is in Clinton County, NY. The post office was established January 17, 1850 and is still in operation.

A Nesbitt envelope from the 1850s:

An octagon with a negative star killer (1879?):

A red circular date stamp with a nice star killer (1880):

There have been a number of postmaster in the last 165 years:

James H. Gibson Postmaster 01/17/1850
Herman Lowry Postmaster 04/06/1853
James H. Van Aranam Postmaster 08/11/1856
Heber S. Lewis Postmaster 03/21/1861
Loring Chappel Postmaster 06/23/1863
John H. Hopkins Postmaster 06/07/1871
Charles H. Stackpole Postmaster 02/12/1875
Seth Allen Jr. Postmaster 01/10/1884
James P. Cunningham Postmaster 07/23/1885
Seth Allen Jr. Postmaster 07/23/1889
James P. Cunningham Postmaster 05/09/1894
Seth Allen Postmaster 06/18/1898
Joseph S. Nash Acting Postmaster 04/12/1912
James H. Signor Acting Postmaster 04/16/1912
James H. Signor Postmaster 05/24/1912
Philip White Signor Acting Postmaster 10/05/1914
James H. McCorry Postmaster 03/13/1915
Robert J. Fitzpatrick Postmaster 03/15/1916
Louis H. Buck Postmaster 01/05/1922
Karl L. Whipple Acting Postmaster 05/01/1930
Karl L. Whipple Postmaster 12/18/1930
Jacob Tolosky Acting Postmaster 01/31/1935
Jacob Tolosky Postmaster 08/02/1935
Lewis O. Carter Acting Postmaster 06/30/1958
Donald J. Fitzpatrick Acting Postmaster 06/09/1961
Donald J. Fitzpatrick Postmaster 12/02/1963
Lawrence H. Douglas Officer-In-Charge 06/30/1973
Lawrence H. Douglas Postmaster 09/29/1973
Audrey M. Douglas Officer-In-Charge 10/01/1992
Audrey M. Douglas Postmaster 12/12/1992
Christine Trombley Officer-In-Charge 03/19/1997
Kevin E. Goddeau Postmaster 08/16/1997

This information comes from the USPS's Postmaster Finder webpages.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Short-Lived Hoesville, NY Post Office

 originally written by me and published in Excelsior! the semi-annual journal of 

Today we are all used to having almost instantaneous communication with family members either via telephone, or email, or even by letter.  But before the middle of the 19th Century, people often left their families and immigrated to other countries, knowing full well that they would probably never see their families again.  The letter was the only means of keeping touch and the news in the letters could be months or years old.

 Hoesville was a short named post office from May 28, 1846 to June 13, 1849.  Previously it was known as West Galway Church (1838 to 1846) and changed its name again in 1849 to West Galway (1849 to 1919).

Although the post office was officially known as Hoesville, the writer, a niece of the addressee, Mrs. Oliver, used West Galway as her location.  The letter is dated July 23, 1846 less than two months after the post office name was established. According to New York Postal History: The Post Offices and First Postmaster from 1775 to 1980, the first postmaster was Peter I. Hoes. Obviously the post office was named after him.

According to the 1997 American Stampless Cover Catalog, there are only manuscript postmarks known from Hoesville in 1845 with a value of $60. Obviously, there is a mistake some where since the post office name was not established until 1846.  In La Posta’s “United States Post Offices Volume IV -- The Northeast”, Hoesville has a rating of “5”, $25 - $50
Information with the cover indicates that the letter was mailed from Hoesville on July 29, 1846 and PAID to New York City where it was then carried privately to Liverpool before being entered into the British postal system.  Seen on the reverse is a “Liverpool Ship Letter” transit marking (21 Aug 1846) and a Kelso receiving mark (Aug 23, 1846).

The letter sheet is 3 1/2 pages of tightly space writing telling of family gatherings, local deaths, and the weather.  All the things that people still tell other family members about today.


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Wadhams Mills, NY Bisect

Wadhams Mills was a small post office in Essex County, NY about 40 miles south of Plattsburgh in the town of Westport.  In 1898, the post office ran out of its supply of 1c and 2c stamps.

The story was told in the The American Journal of Philately, the forerunner to today's The American Philatelist.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Lake Champlain Train Wreck

In 1894, mail from Canada to England must have gone via various routes including from New York City.  One of the main railroad routes went down the Champlain Valley on the New York side of Lake Champlain.

In December 1894, one of the trains went off the tracks just south of Port Henry (Essex County). A few cars including the mail car ended up in the water. The mail clerk was killed in the wreck and the mail car inundated.  The stamps on this letter from MontrĂ©al to London were washed off.

I assume that the USPOD applied the red rubberstamped explanation.  The letter was marked PAID when it reached England.

added by USPOD

front of envelope showing where the stamps were originally
reverse of envelope

Monday, April 7, 2014

Crossroads Stamp Show Purchases

Sometimes you find a cover that you just need to buy because it's such a wonderful example.  This cover from Deansville (Oneida County, 1830 - 1894) is such a cover.  Both the 3D star and the circular date stamp are crisp and well struck.  I have always been partial to these 3D stars.

Here's another example that I purchased at the Crossroads Stamp Show in Quechee Vermont from Annie Doubleday.  Again a wonderfully struck cancel, but this time from Keeseville, NY in Essex County (1822 and still operating).  The notation on the cover says "DEEP GREEN" but it's hard to tell.  

However, it's a nice strike of the "KEESE  VILLE" in two works from 1842.