EXTREMELY FINE. THE EARLIEST AND FINEST STRIKE OF ONLY THREE RECORDED EXAMPLES OF THE CHEROKEE NATION INDIAN TERRITORY DATESTAMP. A RARE MARKING ON A LETTER WITH FASCINATING CONTENT ABOUT DAILY LIFE OF THE MISSIONARIES IN 19TH CENTURY AMERICAN INDIAN TERRITORY.
Reverend Jessy Busyhead settled at Baptist Mission in Oklahoma in 1839, following the Cherokee removal from the East. He held services in his home until the Baptist Mission was established in 1841 by Rev. Evan Jones. A Cherokee National School was founded near there in 1843, and the mission established a female seminary there in the same year. The Mission Board of Boston furnished a printing press, and The Cherokee Messenger was printed at this mission, which was the first periodical in Oklahoma. A rift developed between the Missionaries, with slave owners on one side (Busyhead owned slaves) and abolitionists such as Jones on the other. This led to a schism among Cherokee Baptists as early as 1844-45, with Jones expelling Cherokee slaveowners from the church. This provided an opening for Southern Baptists, who started competing missions for slaveowners, who tended to be from the wealthier class. The Mission Station was burned by Confederates during the Civil War because of the missionaries’ anti-slavery teachings, and the mission was never rebuilt.
The post office at Cherokee was active from 1842 to 1844. According to the American Stampless Cover Catalog (p. 324) “This post office is not listed in Shirk’s First Post Offices within the Boundaries of Oklahoma. After the eastern boundary line of the Cherokee Nation was accurately located, the town of Cherokee was found to be a few miles east of the line and actually in Arkansas. However, the markings of this 1842-44 post office are listed here (under Oklahoma) because they are among the earliest in the area to employ the 'Nation' designation.”
Three examples of this marking are known: 1) Sep. 15, 1843 from Sarah Hibbard to her sister Deborah in Manchester N.H., ex Chase, Bleuler, offered here; 2) Feb. 17, 1844, from Sarah Hibbard to her parents in Gilford N.H., Siegel Sale 1010, lot 2, ex Dr. Chase, Bleuler; and 3) April 8, 1844 from Sarah Hibbard to Rev. Babcock in Thetford Vt., ex Risvold and Kramer (Siegel Sale 1088, lot 85).
Ex Dr. Chase and Bleuler.