Philatelic Society of Lancaster County
The James Buchanan Chapter #173 of the American Philatelic Society
Chapter 118 of the American Topical Association
The philatelic Exhibits have been kindly provided with permission of the author – The contents remain their property. Enjoy!
Postmarks of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, 1757-1899,
by James G. Boyles (1937-2012), Gold Medal Exhibit
Background: Located in the lower southeast section of Pennsylvania, Lancaster was the largest inland town in the colonies, but had to reply on postal facilities in Philadelphia where letters for settlers in the “back country” were advertised to be picked up. First references to a post office in Lancaster was in 1753 on a document “printed by S. Holland at the post office in King’s Street”. Samuel Holland published the Lancaster Gazette at that address. By 1756 advertised letters were being held at the post office in Lancaster. The town was fortunate to have one of the first turnpikes (Philadelphia to Lancaster and West) where post riders were gradually replaced by stage coaches to carry the mail. Records of Lancaster postmasters prior to 1790 are lost. In that year there were seventy-five Post Offices in the U.S., ten in Pennsylvania of which Lancaster was one.
Objective: This exhibit is a study of the reported markings, rates and usages of Lancaster city from 1757 to 1899. All known postmarks of the 1785-1899 period appear on this exhibit. Also several pre-1785 Parliamentary and Colonial covers are exhibited.
Order of Exhibit: The exhibit follows the time line of reported townmarks. The townmarks are printed in blue for easier identification.
Noteworthy Material: Material matted in blue is of special philatelic or historic interest.
Boyles-Postmarks Lancaster County 1757-1899 Part 1 (1.5MB)
Boyles-Postmarks Lancaster County 1757-1899 Part 2 (1.5MB)
Boyles-Postmarks Lancaster County 1757-1899 Part 3 (2.5MB)
Boyles-Postmarks Lancaster County 1757-1899 Part 4 (2.0MB)
Boyles-Postmarks Lancaster County 1757-1899 Part 5 (1.8MB)
Boyles-Postmarks Lancaster County 1757-1899 Part 6 (2.2MB)
Post Offices of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania,
by James G. Boyles (1937-2012), Gold Medal Exhibit
Background: Lancaster County, located in the southeastern section of Pennsylvania, was established in 1729 from portions of Chester County. The postal system evolved early in Lancaster County due to its proximity to Philadelphia and Baltimore ports. Early Pony Express and Stage Coach routes that gradually became the Philadelphia-Lancaster Turnpike gave Lancaster the distinction of being the largest inland town in the United States for many years. As the routes expanded so did the evolution of towns. The presence of a river helped establish towns along its banks and the ever pressing expansion north and west helped establish small towns along the way. The County also had many Indian settlements thus establishing trading posts that gradually became towns.
Objective: This exhibit is an overview of postal history examples of Lancaster County towns. It includes manuscript, stampless and stamped cover examples from current towns and discontinued post offices. This exhibits does not include all Lancaster County towns or postal history.
The towns are listed in chronological order by the year that the post office was established. The presence of a postal facility is essentially the result of towns being formed along the traveled paths and routes of earlier settlers.
Covers shown in this exhibit are only examples of a few of the towns postal marking. The dates of the covers do not correspond to the establishment of the town or the post office. Postal rates and postmasters are listed for the date of the exhibited covers to increase the knowledge of the period and to show the progression of rates throughout the years.
This exhibit cannot currently be considered for its philatelic expertise; however, it is an array of Lancaster County Postal History tidbits and information, and it is a work in progress.
Noteworthy Material: Covers matted in green are of special philatelic or general interest.
From Camp Monterrey, Mexico to Newburgh, NY via Point Isabel, TX in 1846,
by Dr. Charles J. DiComo
It is my pleasure to share a recent postal history find. I presented the 9 page mini-exhibit to the 100+ members and guests of the Philatelic Society of Lancaster County (PSLC) on November 9, 2016. It is a folded letter written by Inspector General Colonel William G. Belknap to his wife Kate dated September 24, 1846 while he was at Camp Monterrey during the last days of the Battle of Monterrey during the Mexican-American War. He vividly describes the battles, his fellow officers by name killed or wounded in action, as well as General Worth’s heroism in taking the Town with limited losses.
The letter was sent to the provisional P.O. at Point Isabel, TX and cancelled with the scarce Type 1 handstamp, dated Oct. 4. From there it traveled via military transport vessel to New Orleans, LA and then sailed up to New York, where it was cancelled with a red Oct. 21-dated Newburgh circular date stamp (CDS). His wife had moved, so the folded letter was forwarded to Princeton, NJ. Total rate due upon arrival for the nearly one month journey was 15 cents.
There are less than 10 known of this Point Isabel provisional Post Office Type 1 handstamp, being used from 16 Sept.-22 Oct., 1846. A great piece of American postal military history. (A special thanks goes to my daughter Mia for helping me transcribe the letter!)
A Stampless-period Folded Letter from London, Upper Canada to Kilmun, Scotland – The Canada Rebellions of 1838-1839 Revisited,
by Dr. Charles J. DiComo
It is my pleasure to share a recent postal history find. I presented the 12 page mini-exhibit to the 100+ members and guests at the Annual Meeting, Open House and Exhibition of the Philatelic Society of Lancaster County (PSLC) on November 8, 2017. It is a Stampless-era Folded Letter Sheet (FLS) from London, Upper Canada with Canadian Rebellion-related contents to Kilmun, Scotland, 1839.
This letter entered the mails in London, Upper Canada (U.C.); to New York City; via the sailing vessel “Virginian” to Liverpool, via coach to Glasgow; then Greenock; via small boat across the Firth of Clyde to Kilmun. The letter was written in London, U.C. on 31 March 1839. It entered the mails 1 April 1839 where the postal clerk added the red “LONDON” split-ring postmark with manuscript “April 1/39” and red “PAID”. The postage paid at London was 1s3 dcy (pence Canadian currency) for U.S. inland fee, 7½ dcy for sailing ship freight money fee, and 9 dcy for Canadian inland fee. This totaled 2s7½ dcy.
The letter traveled via the Eric Canal to Albany, down the Hudson River to Manhattan, where is received the New York City red “NEW-YORK APL 9” CDS (with the uncommon “APL” for April instead of “APR”). It was then placed in the mail carried by the Red Star Line sailing vessel “Virginian”, which departed New York harbor on 16 April 1839. After a 20 day transatlantic voyage, the letter arrived in Liverpool on 6 May 1839. It was in Liverpool that the postal clerk added the two-line black “LIVERPOOL SHIP LETTER” on the reverse and wrote in pencil the postage due at destination of “1s8” (1 shilling 8 pence sterling) on the obverse (8p incoming shipfee plus 1sh inland fee from Liverpool to destination).
The letter the traveled ~240 miles north overland by coach to Greencock, Scotland, where the scarce two-line black “GREENOCK PENNY POST” marking was added. The letter was then transported by small boat across the Firth of Clyde to Kilmun, Scotland (a Receiving House for the Greenock Penny Post), where recipient paid 1s8p. Kilmun had no known postmarks at the time, thus there is no receiving marking on the letter.
The three page folded letter was sent from William Murray to his mother and father, the Captain James C. Murray, with a very detailed description of the Upper Canada Rebellion of 1838-1839 and New Brunswick – Maine border dispute (the Aroostook “War”).
THE 1938 PRESIDENTIAL ISSUE – A Postal History Look at Rates & Usages
by Hal Klein
The exhibit is a select group of domestic and international postal history rates and usages. The rates are shown in a progressive and chronological order, breaking rates into their various service components demonstrating beginning and ending periods to illustrate their complexities. Auxiliary markings are demonstrated and explained. Foreign and Domestic Rates, including: Supplementary Rates, Postage Due, Prexies used in Lieu of Postage Due stamps, Special Delivery, Insured, Return Receipt, Avis Reception, Other Article, Forwarding, Paquebot, Return Mail, both rare and common are shown. Split-Rate Domestic and International airmail Contract and Treaty rates are presented. Military Postal Office Wartime and Peacetime Rates and Usages with Quartermaster Corp. Auxiliary Markings revealed. The covers shown from any Rate Group represents only a few examples of the total Rates & Usages of this postal history period.