VERY FINE APPEARANCE. A RARE SALT LAKE CITY GOLD MINER'S LETTER TO MISSOURI, CARRIED IN BABBITT'S SPECIAL CONTRACT MAILS.
Babbitt's Special Contract Mails was established in 1849 by Almon Babbitt, a Mormon expressman, to carry mails between Salt Lake City and Kanesville, Iowa (which lacked a regular postal route). This letter was carried on the John Taylor trip of October 19, 1849, from Salt Lake City, arriving Kanesville December 10. While there is no express fee indicated, the sender likely paid an additional 40c for the Babbitt's service.
Illustrated in Mails of the Westward Expansion on p. 87. Ex Walske
VERY FINE. A WONDERFUL AND RARE 1850 LETTER FROM SALT LAKE CITY TO MASSACHUSETTS, CARRIED BY MORMON EXPRESS COURIER UNDER BABBITT'S SPECIAL CONTRACT MAIL.
This cover, besides representing a rare Babbitt's Express carriage, is also unusual as it did not enter the Salt Lake City post office. After carriage by Mormon courier John Green under the Babbitt's service, it entered the regular mails with the Kane, Iowa, postmark and 10c due in Massachusetts. The 40c additional express charge was no doubt paid, but is not noted on the cover. Babbitt's Special Contract Mails was established in 1849 by Almon Babbitt, a Mormon expressman, to carry mails between Salt Lake City and Kanesville, Iowa (which lacked a regular postal route).
Illustrated in Mails of the Westward Expansion on p. 88. Ex Risvold and Walske
FINE. THIS IS THE EARLIEST RECORDED CONTRACT MAIL COVER FROM SALT LAKE CITY AND THE ONLY SALT LAKE CITY COVER POSTMARKED WITH THE "DESERET" MORMON PROVISIONAL STATE.
This lengthy letter is from Andrew McFarlane, a gold prospector who stopped in Salt Lake City on his way west to mines in California. Contents include an interesting account of his journey, including his high opinion of the Mormon people he has encountered.
The Woodson contract was the first established between Salt Lake City and Missouri by the U.S. Post Office on the Central Route and was run from August 1, 1850, to June 1854. Woodson and his partners encountered severe difficulties adhering to the agreed upon 30-day schedule, largely due to snow in the winters of 1850-51 and 1851-52. This letter, which is the earliest recorded from the Woodson service, demonstrates these difficulties, as it took six months to get to its destination.
This is the only recorded Salt Lake City cover with the "Deseret" state designation. Deseret was a provisional state proposed by the LDS Church, with Brigham Young as governor, but it was never recognized by the U.S. Government. The creation of Utah Territory on Sep. 9, 1850, ended hopes for the State of Deseret.
Illustrated in Mails of the Westward Expansion on p. 123. Ex Risvold and Walske
VERY FINE. AN IMPORTANT AND RARE COVER FROM SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH TERRITORY, TO HAWAII, CARRIED ON THE CHORPENNING MAIL ROUTE VIA LOS ANGELES, SAN PEDRO AND SAN FRANCISCO.
This cover was carried on the February 1, 1856 departure of the Chorpenning Mail (second contract), prepaid at the double 3c U.S. domestic rate. Chorpenning's carrier arrived in Los Angeles on February 27. The mails left San Pedro on the February 29 Independent Line steamer that arrived in San Francisco around March 3. From San Francisco it was carried on American Clipper ship Resolute, departing on March 25 and arriving Honolulu on April 14. The recipient paid the 5c Hawaiian postage (not noted on cover).
Illustrated in Mails of the Westward Expansion on p. 139. Ex Risvold and Walske
VERY FINE. AN EXTREMELY RARE COMBINATION OF MANUSCRIPT AND HANDSTAMP POSTAL MARKINGS FROM CAMP FLOYD, UTAH TERRITORY, ON A COVER TO PANAMA SENT VIA THE CHORPENNING MAIL ROUTE.
This was carried by the weekly Chorpenning Mail stagecoach that left Salt Lake City (northeast of Camp Floyd) on April 18, 1859. The stage arrived in Placerville, California, around April 30 and the cover then went to San Francisco for the May 5 sailing of the PMSS steamer Golden Gate, arriving Panama around May 15. The cover is addressed to an officer on the 16-gun sloop-of-war USS Decatur, which ironically had been ordered back to San Francisco on March 23. Although the cover lacks a forwarding notation, it no doubt made its way back to San Francisco. The Decatur had a storied career with service in both the Mexican and Civil Wars and was also the ship that evacuated U.S. citizens connected with the filibustering expedition of William Walker.
Illustrated in Mails of the Westward Expansion on p. 142. Ex Risvold and Walske
FINE APPEARANCE. AN EXTREMELY RARE COVER WITH THE FANCY FORT KEARNY "OREGON ROUTE" EAGLE HANDSTAMP, CARRIED ON THE WOODSON CONTRACT MAIL ROUTE BETWEEN SALT LAKE CITY AND INDEPENDENCE, MISSOURI. THE ONLY EXAMPLE OF THIS MARKING RECORDED IN BLACK.
The letter enclosure to this cover is datelined at Fort Kearny (modern-day Nebraska) on June 15, 1852. The Woodson Contract mail left Salt Lake City on June 13 (two weeks late) and picked up this cover en route, before arriving at Independence, Missouri, around July 8. The "O.R." in the handstamp stands for "Oregon Route", which was a postal designation for the Platte River Road. Post offices along the route used "O.R." in their postmarks and mail to the Oregon Route was often misdirected to Oregon. Only four examples of the fancy Fort Kearny "O.R." Eagle handstamp are recorded--this is the only example in black.
Illustrated in Mails of the Westward Expansion on p. 125. Ex Risvold and Walske
THE ONLY RECORDED COVER CARRIED ON THE STOCKTON-KANSAS CITY OVERLAND MAIL ROUTE. A GREAT RARITY OF WESTERN MAILS.
According to Mails of the Westward Expansion, the Post Office Department signed a four-year contract for Route 15050 with Jacob Hall on May 28, 1858, calling for monthly service between Kansas City, Missouri, and Stockton, California, via Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Ft. Mohave. Hall transferred his contract to Barrow, Porter & Crenshaw (he had been partners with Hall on another Santa Fe mail contract). Westbound service began on October 1, 1858, from Kansas City, arriving without incident in Stockton on November 24. The first eastbound trip was not so lucky. After departing Stockton with 50-60 letters on November 1, they encountered hostile Indians and were forced to return home. In total only six successful trips were completed under the contract. The cover offered here was carried on the fourth successful eastbound trip, which left on February 1, 1859, and arrived in Kansas City around March 29. This is the only surviving cover from any of the Stockton-Kansas City contract trips. The contract was terminated as of July 1, 1860.
Illustrated in Mails of the Westward Expansion on p. 183. Ex Risvold and Walske