FINE. THE EARLIEST RECORDED MILITARY EXPRESS COVER FROM CAMP MOORE IN ARIZONA.
On October 19, 1856, Major Enoch Steen led a military caravan west from Fort Thorn for the purpose of establishing a military camp near Tucson. The caravan reached San Xavier Mission, nine miles south of Tucson, on November 14, 1856, but Major Steen, dissatisfied with the area, decided to locate the camp on the site of the old Calabasas Ranch on the Santa Cruz River. On November 27 he established Camp Moore, but within a week to ten days most of the troops had moved from Camp Moore north to establish Camp Calabasas. The few remaining at Camp Moore were cutting and finishing timber used at Camp Calabasas. Troops were housed in wooden structures without roofs. When it rained, the dirt floors became sticky mud and breeding grounds for malaria-carrying mosquitoes. Other troops were in tents. A curving stream ran around and through the grounds, creating marshes where mosquitoes bred. At one point the entire fort had malaria, except for the African-American servant to Major Ewell. Sutler Brevoort and his employees were on higher ground where the rain waters ran off into the fort, and none contracted malaria. Due to unbearable climate conditions and constant malaria, troops moved north to establish Fort Buchanan on May 29, 1857.
This cover was carried by the Second Dragoon Express (Dragoon Orders No. 15, Department of New Mexico, November 3, 1856) from Camp Moore to Santa Fe via Fort Thorn.
FINE. REPORTED TO BE THE EARLIEST EXAMPLE OF CIVILIAN MAIL FROM GADSDEN PURCHASE AREA.
This cover from Charles D. Poston was carried in a military express pouch to Santa Fe via Fort Thorn and entered the regular mails there. The 10¢ Nesbitt entire was used by Poston from a supply he carried and used for the over-3,000 miles rate. This is the only recorded civilian way-mail military express cover from Tubac
VERY FINE. AN EXTREMELY RARE COVER FROM THE CAMP MOORE SUTLER AT CALABASAS.
Elias Brevoort, who sent this cover to his father, resigned as Tucson’s postmaster to serve as sutler to the new post. The caravan reached San Xavier Mission, nine miles south of Tucson, on November 14, 1856, but Major Steen, dissatisfied with the area, decided to locate the camp on the site of the old Calabasas Ranch on the Santa Cruz River. On November 27 he established Camp Moore. Brevoort appropriated a stone, adobe and wooden structure on an elevated hill in Calabasas, just east of Camp Cameron, and made improvements to house his large sutler’s inventory. Soldiers called it “The Castle.”
VERY FINE. THIS IS THE EARLIEST RECORDED UNITED STATES POSTMARK FROM ARIZONA.
Mark Aldrich was a wealthy Arizona merchant who facilitated the mails even before he was officially appointed postmaster. Before Aldrich settled in the West, he lived in Illinois. He was one of five tried and acquitted in the murder of Mormon prophet Joseph Smith in 1844. After becoming very wealthy as a merchant, he became Tucson’s unofficial first mayor and served as the postmaster (he was officially appointed November 11, 1857).
“A few words on the subject of the Great Rail Road to the Pacific Ocean. It will be of great National interest... I would say start at some point on the Mississippi River near the mouth of Red River or at some point on Red River as high up as good & safe Steam boats navegation. Thence up said River to near its head–thence west to the southern boundary of New Mexico to the Rio Gila–thence down said stream to the Colorado of the West. Thence West to San Diego on the Pacific Ocean. This route I have been over as fare as the Rio Gila–its all most a level plain and four degres of Longetude shorter than the route from St. Louis by the South Pass... I am still suffering considereble from a wound I receved in a battle I had with the Apachys Indians on the 16th August. I had 26 Dragoons... We fought about 200 Indians and for a few minutes it was allmost a hand to hand fight. The Indians gave way–we persued them... about five miles whare we took their camp–a number of their horse & mules and distroyed all their provisions pots kettles &c &c. We kild about 12 & wounded 20...I had my 1st Seargt mortally wounded– one corporal kild and 2 others Privats slightley wounded...I rec'd a ball about 2 inches below the navel. The ball lodged near the spine whare it still remains and strang to say the wound is nearly healed up...”
FINE APPEARANCE. THE ONLY KNOWN COVER FROM ARIZONA CARRIED ON THE “JACKASS MAIL” ROUTE.
The San Antonio and San Diego Mail Line route included a hundred-mile stretch across the Colorado Desert between Fort Yuma and San Diego. This trek utilized mules to carry the mail, giving rise to the derisive misnomer, “Jackass Mail.” Covers carried on the muleback portion of the San Antonio and San Diego Mail Line route are rare, and this is the only one known originating in Arizona. The letter writer states: “This place is in the Gadsden Purchase or Arizona. This place speled Tejon sometimes by pronounced Tuson...”
In response to demand for a through-mail route to California, Congress passed three important legislative acts. The first (August 18, 1856) authorized a route between San Antonio, Texas, and San Diego, California. The second (February 17, 1857) authorized the construction and improvement of the road from El Paso to Fort Yuma. The third (March 3, 1857) authorized stage service between the border of western settlements and California--this last piece of legislation led to the creation of the overland mail route. After reviewing contract proposals for the overland mail route, Postmaster General Aaron V. Brown, former governor of Tennessee, notified James E. Birch that he was awarded the San Antonio-to-San Diego mail contract (Route 8076). The four-year mail service contract with Birch was signed on June 12, 1857 (effective ten days later), and service was set to begin in less than a month, on July 9.
Birch’s contract required two trips per month along the 1,476-mile route between San Antonio and San Diego, in 30 days or less, and it paid $149,800 per year. Departures were made from San Antonio and San Diego on the same days--the 9th and 24th of each month. The stage between El Paso and San Antonio made round trips, while mail carriers started in San Diego (eastbound) and El Paso (westbound), met midway at Maricopa Wells, exchanged the mail, and returned to each starting point. The first trip departed San Antonio on July 9, 1857, and the first eastbound trip left San Diego on August 9.
Birch perished in the wreck of the S.S. Central America in September 1857, and the stage line was sold to George H. Giddings in March 1858. Only 40 trips were made over the entire route with gross postal receipts of $601 before the line was gradually “deconstructed” and absorbed into the overland mail route, which Postmaster General Brown had awarded to John Butterfield’s consortium (see “Deconstructing the Jackass Mail Route,” Frajola-Risvold, Chronicle 220, and https://www.nps.gov/nhl/news/LC/spring2013/ButterfieldOverlandTrail.pdf ).
VERY FINE. THIS IS THE EARLIEST REPORTED COVER FROM ARIZONA CARRIED ON THE BUTTERFIELD SOUTHERN OVERLAND MAIL ROUTE.
The sender of this cover, Captain Ewell, arrived in the area of southern Arizona in November 1856 with Major Enoch Steen and the 1st Dragoons. They established Camp Moore in mid-November 1856, which was relocated and renamed Fort Buchanan in mid-1857. This November 1858 cover from Capt. Ewell was carried by military express from Fort Buchanan to the post office at Tucson, where the November 21 manuscript postmark was applied by Postmaster Fred Leimbach. It was picked up by the eastbound Butterfield Overland Mail stage and carried to St. Louis via Fort Smith (by stage to Tipton, Missouri).
After raging sectional debate between Northern and Southern leglislators, in March 1857 Congress authorized the southern overland mail route, variously called the Southern Route, Great Overland Mail, Butterfield Route, and, owing to its curving path, the Horseshoe or Oxbow Route. After receiving proposals, Postmaster General Aaron V. Brown, former governor of Tennessee, awarded the Post Office contract for Route 12578 to a consortium organized by John Butterfield, which named itself the Overland Mail Company. The contract was signed on September 16, 1857, with service to commence one year later. The first eastbound Butterfield stagecoach left San Francisco at 1:00 a.m. in the morning on Wednesday, September 15, 1858 (Daily Alta California, Sep. 15, 1858). The first westbound mail left St. Louis on September 16. The struggling San Antonio and San Diego Mail Line, which had been awarded the western portion of the route in a “consolation prize,” was ultimately defunded and subordinated to the Butterfield line. Service was suspended in March 1861, due to the Civil War.
The distance from Tucson to St. Louis on the Southern Route was approximately 1,800 miles, which required about 15 days to cover. This cover was postmarked at Tucson on Sunday, November 21, 1858. Eastbound stage departures from Tucson were scheduled at 3:00 a.m. on Saturdays (Sunday morning), so this was probably postmarked in advance of the November 21 departure (or, less likely, the November 24 departure). Although Arizona covers from earlier Butterfield trips could exist, this is currently the earliest recorded, and it is extremely rare from Arizona, regardless of the date.
Ex Persson and Shipley
EXTREMELY FINE. REPORTED TO BE THE ONLY KNOWN VERIFIABLE WAY COVER FROM ARIZONA CARRIED ON THE BUTTERFIELD OVERLAND MAIL ROUTE.
The Butterfield stage picked up letters en route and had them postmarked at the next post office. This is the only reported cover with a route directive proving it is way mail from Arizona. Another cover from this correspondence is offered in lot 1056.
VERY FINE. EXTREMELY RARE BUTTERFIELD OVERLAND MAIL COVER VIA MEMPHIS.
The Butterfield route forked at Fort Smith into St. Louis and Memphis branches, and the Fort Smith-Memphis line was subcontracted to another carrier. Mail and passengers were carried in one of three ways: by rail and stage; over an all-water route on the Arkansas and Mississippi Rivers; or by stage between Fort Smith and Des Arc, supplemented by steamboats on the White and Mississippi Rivers. Very little mail was carried on the Memphis branch.
VERY FINE. THIS IS THE ONLY RECORDED ILLUSTRATED STAGECOACH COVER USED FROM ARIZONA. ADDING TO ITS HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE IS THAT FACT THAT IT PASSED FROM THE ADDRESSEE, ORAMEL CLARK, TO HIS FRIEND AND NEIGHBOR IN SPRINGFIELD, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, WHO IN TURN PRESENTED IT TO HANNIBAL HAMLIN, VICE PRESIDENT DURING LINCOLN’S FIRST TERM.
Ex J. David Baker
EXTREMELY FINE. A CLEAR STRIKE OF THE RARE FORT BUCHANAN DATESTAMP ON A COVER FROM CAPTAIN RICHARD “OLD BALDY” EWELL--LATER A CONFEDERATE GENERAL.
The sender of this cover, Captain Richard S. Ewell, arrived in the area of southern Arizona in November 1856 with Major Enoch Steen and the 1st Dragoons. They established Camp Moore in mid-November 1856, which was relocated and renamed Fort Buchanan in mid-1857. This May 1860 cover from Capt. Ewell was carried by military express from Fort Buchanan to the post office at Tubac. It was carried from Tubac to Tucson by S. H. Lathrop, who was under contract to transport mail once a week between the two towns. At Tucson the cover was put on the eastbound Butterfield Overland Mail stage to St. Louis via Fort Smith.
In early 1860 Captain Ewell successfully negotiated the release of eleven-year old Mercedes Sias Quiroz, one of two young women abducted by Pinal Apaches (the other was seriously injured and returned to camp after Mercedes’s release). In recognition of his efforts, one of four Arizona territorial counties was named Ewell. In May 1860, around the time this cover was postmarked, he inspected the site where Fort Breckinridge was eventually established to prevent Apache attacks. Before construction of the new fort was completed, Ewell returned east in January 1861 due to recurring malaria infections. The note on back indicates that Ewell’s letter contained a report of the recovery of the young hostage.
S. H. Lathrop’s Buckboard Contract Mail -- The Overland Mail route passed through Tucson, but not Tubac, which lies approximately 45 miles south on the Camino Real. The Tubac postmaster, D. F. Hulseman, contracted with S. H. Lathrop, treasurer of the Sonora Exploration and Mining Co., to carry mail on weekly buckboard trips between the two towns.
EXTREMELY FINE. A BEAUTIFUL AND RARE ILLUSTRATED BUTTERFIELD STAGECOACH COVER CARRIED ACROSS ARIZONA IN FEBRUARY-MARCH 1861, JUST BEFORE THE CLOSURE OF THE SOUTHERN ROUTE.
The last eastbound Butterfield stage left San Francisco on Monday, April 1, 1861 (Walske-Frajola, Mails of the Westward Expansion 1803-1861, pp. 170-171). The Daily Alta California (April 6, 1861) published a letter from the San Francisco postmaster dated April 5 (Friday) announcing he had received instructions from Washington, D.C., to discontunue the Overland Mail, but he stated that he would continue to send mail on stages between Los Angeles and San Francisco (and way stations in between), which was separately announced as “The New Los Angeles Mail.” Another letter from the newspaper’s St. Louis correspondent, dated May 1, 1861 (published May 16) stated: “We have had no Overland mail since that of March 26th arrived, and the agents inform me today that the remaining ones due in this city have probably been sent to San Antonio, to be brought hence by steamer to Galveston, and so on to New Orleans. By this irregular route, there is no knowing when the letters which left your city between March 25th and April 2d, by Overland Mail, will arrive here.”
Ex Grunin. With 1988 P.F. certificate