Frajola World Covers


 


   

   

Hartford Letter Mail
(Table of Contents)


Introduction

Section 1. Express Companies serving Hartford

Section 2. History of the Hartford Letter Mail

Section 3. Stamps of the Hartford Letter Mail

Section 4. Covers of the Hartford Letter Mail

Section 5. Biographies of the Originators

Section 6. Plating Guide and Enlargements

Section 7. References

Combination PDF file of all sections


Section 4.
 

 

The Covers of the Hartford Letter Mail

Actually, the use of the word “covers” in the above title is a bit of a misnomer as actually the stamps were used on folded letters in this era before the introduction of envelopes. The author records approximately 40 genuine uses of the yellow stamp on cover. In addition, there are several examples used on cover that the author believes are not genuine uses. These include two March 1844 uses on folded covers, without contents or evidence of origin location, addressed to Morgan & Co. in New York which are mentioned specifically to clarify that the author did not miss them when noting the earliest reported use shown in Figure 8. 

An unusual circumstance with the Hartford Letter Mail is that there are no handstamped markings associated with the post. Although a very few of the covers do have handstamps, including two with the Forwarded By Hale’s Hartford oval, otherwise none have evidence of having been applied at Hartford. These covers will be discussed. Of the genuine uses, about 85 percent bear precancel stamps. The covers that do not bear precancels are franked with stamps that remained uncanceled or have other manuscript cancels such as manuscript dates.  

The earliest reported genuine use is shown in Figure 8 and is a combination franking with Hale’s adhesive on an August 22, 1844 folded letter from T. Preston & Co. in Hartford addressed to Clark and Coleman in New York, a well documented correspondence. The reason for the combination franking is unknown but quite possibly came about in confusion as to which stamp was required.  

Prior to this date, a (Hartford) Republican Farmer newspaper notice of August 6, 1844 reported:

We are told that arrangements are making to establish an Express for conveying letters etc. between this city (Hartford) and New York. The prices are to be half the present post office rates. 

Figure 8. The earliest genuine use of the Hartford Letter Mail adhesive. Position 12 stamp with "Southern" precancel used on August 22, 1844 folded letter from T. Preston & Co. in Hartford addressed to Clark & Coleman in New York City. Used in combination with Hale & Co. “H”(artford) precancel adhesive. 

A very interesting folded letter dated from Meriden, Connecticut on September 27, 1844 is shown in Figure 9. This letter is addressed to a Mrs. Parker in New York City and was franked with a “Southern” precancel stamp (position 6). Just below the stamp is a red “PAID” handstamp. It should be noted that Meriden was a stop on the railroad line (the Hartford & New Haven RR at this date) between Hartford and New Haven used by Phillip’s Express to carry the letters of Hartford Letter Mail. A sender note on reverse, “I will not hold this (and await a friend to take) for the sake of five cents” confirms that the stamps were sold for five cents. This is the only reported use from Meriden. 

Figure 9. September 27, 1844 folded letter of G.W. Perkins at Meriden addressed to Mrs. Parker in New York. The stamp is from position 6 and bears a manuscript “Southern” precancel. 

A folded letter dated from Newington, Connecticut is shown in Figure 10. Like Meriden, Newington was also a stop on the railroad line from Hartford to New Haven and located closer to Hartford. This example is the earliest of three reported examples from the Brace correspondence and is dated November 14, 1844 from Newington. Mr. Brace senior writes to his son in Philadelphia and endorsed the cover at lower left with “Newington, Nov 15 1844” mailed date.  This letter, as well as the two additional examples from Brace correspondence are the only examples of Hartford Letter Mail adhesives used southward beyond New York City. Upon arrival at New York it was turned over to Hale & Company for onward carriage to destination without further charge. It was marked with familiar “Forwarded By Hale & Co., New York” handstamp and bears their “PAID” handstamp as well. It is significant that Hale treated this as completely prepaid to destination and did not impose a further amount collect as would be expected if received from a non-allied company.  

Figure 10. November 14, 1844 folded Brace correspondence letter from Newington, Connecticut to Philadelphia. A conjunctive use with Hale & Company for carriage beyond New York. Forwarded By Hale & Co. oval handstamp and matching “PAID” handstamp. It bears a position 3 adhesive with “South” precancel. 

The two additional Brace correspondence letters provide an interesting contrast. The second example, sent from Newington on December 13, 1844 is shown in Figure 11. This example does not bear a Hale & Co. oval but does have their “PAID” handstamp of a style used at New York.  

Figure 11. December 13, 1844 folded Brace correspondence letter from Newington, Connecticut to Philadelphia. It is a conjunctive use with Hale & Company for carriage beyond New York, with a smaller format “PAID” handstamp. It bears a position 5 adhesive with “South” precancel as well as additional manuscript “X” cancels. 

The last of the three letters from Mr. Brace to his son in Philadelphia is shown in Figure 12. It was mailed from Newington on February 12, 1845 and, like the previous use, it bears a sender’s endorsement of origin and a red “PAID” handstamp applied by Hale & Co. in New York City. This example bears the interesting comment about having purchased a “card of tickets at 5 cents each” previously mentioned in the stamps section. 


Figure 12. February 12, 1844 folded Brace correspondence letter from Newington, Connecticut to Philadelphia. It is a conjunctive use with Hale & Company for carriage beyond New York with their “PAID” handstamp. It bears a position 3 adhesive with “South” precancel. 

A series of more typical uses is found with the letters addressed to the Clark & Coleman firm in New York. A subset of this rather extensive correspondence is the group of six letters written by Mr. Preston in Hartford to the firm. These letters, dated between August 22, 1844 (see Figure 8) and November 1, 1844 all bear stamps from the one sheet of stamps as purchased when the Hartford Letter Mail began service in August 1844. The stamp images are included in plating shown in Figure B and from the irregular margins can be proved to the sheet. These stamps are positions 5, 6, 8 to 10 and 12 and all bear “Southern” precancels. 

A September 30, 1844 letter from the Preston to Clark & Coleman group is shown in Figure 13. This example illustrates the most commonly found type of use of a yellow Hartford Letter Mail stamp; a single precancel stamp, not tied, used on a folded letter from Hartford to New York without any other markings. 

Figure 13. September 30, 1844 folded letter from T. Preston in Hartford to Clark & Coleman in New York. It bears a position 10 adhesive with “Southern” precancel. 

One of the most famous of the Hartford Letter Mail covers is one of the two known vertical pairs on original letter. This ex Ferrari example, shown in Figure 14, is from the same Clark & Coleman correspondence but the letter is from Clark, Gill & Co. in Hartford rather than from Preston. The cover is clearly endorsed “Paid, Double Only” at top left by sender accounting for the use of a pair of stamps. The letter content also mentions an enclosure. 

Figure 14. November 19, 1844 folded letter from Clark, Gill & Co. in Hartford to Clark & Coleman in New York. It bears a vertical pair, positions 1 and 7, with “South” precancel and additional manuscript Nov 19 date. 

Another noteworthy use of a yellow adhesive on cover is the very attractive example shown in Figure 15. It is a January 30, 1845 use on a letter from A.H. Bull in Hartford to Breithaupt & Chun in New York City. The stamp is neatly tied to the address leaf by a clear “Paid Jan 30” cancel. This is one of only two known uses with a stamp that is tied.

Figure 15. January 30, 1845 folded letter from A.H. Bull in Hartford to Breithaupt & Chun in New York City. Stamp, without precancel, is plate position 9 and is tied by “Paid, Jany 30” manuscript cancel. 

The final yellow adhesive use on cover that will be discussed is the latest known genuine use shown in Figure 16. It is a single used on the final day of service on a folded cover docketed as being from A. Porter, Hartford and used to Messrs. C & S Roosevelt in New York. The addressee firm is that owned by President Theodore Roosevelt’s grandfather, Cornelius, and his uncle, Silas Roosevelt. It bears a stamp without cancel. On the day after this cover was transmitted, July 1, 1845, the United States post office introduced their reduced postage rate of five cents to 300 miles. The 1844 Independent Mail companies were now obsolete. 

Figure 16. The latest possible use of a Hartford Letter Mail adhesive, uncanceled on June 30, 1845 folded cover from Allen Porter to C & S Roosevelt in New York City. Stamp is from plate position 2.  

The use of the black on pink adhesives will be brief as the author records only four examples that he deems to be genuine uses on original covers. The author has not examined one of these four which, although it has a clean Philatelic Foundation certificate, is more accurately described as an incorrectly restored fragment. The item, dated November 1, 1844, has the addressee name and location replaced with a New York City address. Because it is a pink stamp, it would have been addressed to a location east or west of Hartford, and not to New York City.  

Two of the remaining three genuine uses will be shown. The first is the undated folded letter of E.W. Bull in Hartford addressed to J.L.L Warren in Boston shown in Figure 17. This letter bears a black on pink adhesive, position 8, with manuscript “West” precancel.  It also bears a red oval “Forwarded By Hale & Co From Hartford” handstamp. 

Figure 17. Black on pink Hartford Letter Mail adhesive used on undated folded cover from E.W. Bull, Hartford to J.S.S. Warren in Boston with “Forwarded By Hale & Co., Hartford” oval handstamp. Stamp is from plate position 8.  

The second genuine use, Figure 18, bears a pink adhesive with “East” precancel. It is a June 23, 1845 folded letter of Thomas Welles dated from Hartford and addressed to Elihu Geer in Boston. The addressee is the publisher of Geer’s Hartford directories of the era who was visiting Boston. The letter bears a pencil “postage 2¢” endorsement at top center presumably for a delivery charge in Boston.

Figure 18. Black on pink Hartford Letter Mail adhesive used on June 23, 1845 folded letter from Hartford to Boston with pencil “postage 2¢” endorsement. Stamp is from plate position 5.  

The fourth example of a genuine pink adhesive use on a folded letter is from the same correspondence as the folded cover shown in Figure 13. It is also undated and bears a “Forwarded by Hale & Co.” handstamp. The adhesive is from plate position 2 and bears a “West” precancel stamp.  

There are a further six uses of the pink stamp on covers or folded letters that the author believes to have been added to covers to which they did not originate.



Richard Frajola (Feb 2015)