A Bird’s Eye View of Eastern Long Island-Calvet M. Hahn

Oct 1 , 1997



©Calvet M. Hahn 1997

With a population of about 7.3-millions, Long Island has more people today than all but six states: California, Illinois, New York, Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania.  Geographically, it stretches from Manhattan east to the Rhode Island border.  Population has always been concentrated on the western end—the Old Dutch five towns—that became the basis for Brooklyn and Queens—rather than to the east, where Suffolk has about half the area but only about 1.1-million people.  Nevertheless, the Suffolk population is about that of new Mexico or Utah and greater than that of a dozen other states.

Within Suffolk, the population also concentrates to the west; Huntington, Smithtown, Copiague, Babylon, Bayshore, Patchogue, etc. are the big population centers.  A line drawn north and south from Riverhead, the former town of Suffolk Court House, which has a population of about 7,585, would show north branch population centers at Greenport (2,459) and Mattituck (1,995), while to the south the various Hamptons add up to about 12,500 in population with Sag Harbor (2,363) and Montauk (1,300) being the other population centers on the south branch.

The earliest Long Island map is one made by Cornelis Hendrieux in 1616.  It shows what appear to be three separate islands and a major inland lake. The Dutch map of 1635 shows the same features.  There is a separation at Jamaica Bay running inland at Valley Stream to the north shore and another offshore island that now comprises the Rockaway’s and the western end of Fire Island.  Shinnecock Bay inlet did not exist.  Lake Ronkonkoma covered a good deal of the central portion of the island.

The appearance of Long Island apparently changed dramatically in the 1630s as a result of the major colonial hurricanes of that decade.  Core studies along the Gulf of Mexico coast began around 1989 under the direction of Dr. Kam-Biu Liu of Louisiana State University with those taken later in the 1990s from Rhode Island marshes indicating two major colonial hurricanes during the 1630s, one in 1635 and a lesser one in 1638.  The eye of the first passed between Boston and Plymouth.  Work is just beginning in Jamaica Bay to see the hurricane indications there.  The colonial maps indicate Long Island was much different prior to the storms of the 1630s.  However, as there was little European settlement except in western Brooklyn until after these storms there are few if any records to demark the changes.

While Manhattan and western Long Island were settled by the Dutch, eastern Long Island was included as part of the Plymouth grant of 1620 and conveyed to the earl of Stirling in 1635.  Among the earliest English settlements were Gardiner’s Island in 1639 and Hempstead in 1640-1643.  Hempstead was first settled from Lynn, Mass. and then Stamford, Conn.  The Lynn men driven out of Hempstead in 1640 settled Southampton, while settlers from Hingham, Mass. and New Haven, Conn. settled Southold (1640-1644).  Lynn men also settled East Hampton in 1648, while Newtown (Middleburgh) was settled in 1652 and Huntington in 1653 by men from New Haven, Hempstead, Southold and Southampton.  Setauket was settled from Boston in 1655, the same year that Cromwellians led by ‘Bull’ Smith settled Smithtown.  Eastern Long Island was Presbyterian through and through.  The Plymouth settlement Puritans were largely Congregationalist while Massachusetts Bay settlers leaned more toward Presbyterianism.  While the two groups cooperated in Massachusetts, the Presbyterians drifted towards Connecticut and Long Island with nine churches established between 1640 and 1670 on Long Island.  Stemming from the religious views, autonomous town meeting governments dominated eastern Long Island from the days of the takeover of New York by the Duke of York onward.

The Hamptons were frequent habitats of pirates and privateers (do things ever change?) and stories of buried treasure on eastern Long Island are still heard.  Whaling began in the Hamptons in 1675 with Sag Harbor (founded 1630) becoming the chief whaling port from the Revolution onward to the late 19th century.  It was a British naval base during the Revolution and George Washington named Henry Dering as custom’s collector—he became Sag Harbor’s first postmaster.  By 1678, trading was sufficiently brisk that Southampton rivaled New York City as a trading port.

First Postal Services


There was no formal postal service on Long Island during the colonial period.  This did not mean mail was completely ignored.  There were military couriers, similar to the arrangements between New York and Albany, that most probably went by boat to the naval post at Sag Harbor.  By 1765, a 239-mile long post road was established to Sag Harbor that went via Brooklyn, Jamaica, Southaven, and Griffins to Riverhead, Southold, Shelter Island, Hog Neck, North Haven, Sag Harbor, and Southampton and back along the south shore to New York.  However, it does not appear to have been a formal system.  In fact, as late as May 21, 1791, John Van Nostrandt of 3 Peck Slip in New York advertised his Brooklyn and Jamaica stage would carry letters at 3d each.

There are surviving letters from the colonial and revolutionary period that traveled on Long Island.  They might be carried on the boats servicing the oyster grounds at Oyster Bay or the fishing ports at the eastern end; they could also go by horse and rider along the island’s trails.  By the Revolution, there were regular stage wagons going at lest as far as Jamaica if not further east.  Letters left at the New York postoffice (such as the Brown or Nicholl correspondence) were carried privately to their destinations; none, to my knowledge, ear postal markings.  This is also true of the Gardiner letters.   In the immediate post-Revolution era, an old, respectable Scot named Dunbar rode a private volunteer post from New York to Babylon on the south shore, Brookhaven in the center returning back along the north shore.  Although he charged, again I record no letters showing his or other postal markings.

On August 19, 1794, a proposed formal postal route was put forth by Postmaster General Timothy Pickering who wrote New York’s postmaster Sebastian Bauman,,

“I sent to your care ten packages for as many post offices to be established on Long Island.  I suppose that divers of them are very unimportant in themselves yet they will be an accommodation to their neighborhood particularly as stations for the delivery of newspapers. As fast as conveyances present, be pleased to forward them.  I have left out Winnacomack as you advise and put Smith Town in its place…P.S. the postmasters for which packets are now sent are: Jamaica, Queens County Court, Jerico, Huntington, Smith Town, Corum, Suffolk C. H.  Southampton, Bridgehampton, Sag Harbor.”

On September 25, 1794, a further letter formalized the new appointments and listed the postmasters,

“Upon recommendations of David Gelston, Esq., I have appointed the following persons postmasters on Long Island: Joseph Robinson at Jamaica; Nathaniel Townsend, Queens County C.H.; Ebenezer Platt, Huntington; Benjamin B. Blydenburg, Smith Town; Goldsmith Davis, Corum; Josiah Albertson, Suffolk C.H.; Uriah Rogers, Southampton; Hugh Gelston, Jr., Bridgehampton; Henry P. Dering, Sag harbor…The first mail must be sent unlocked as the postmasters will not have any keys until they receive the packet.  You will observe I have not appointed any postmaster at Jerico and Inakomak.  I am informed that these are two inconsiderable places that do not lie on the direct road from New York to Sag Harbor.”

Brookhaven was added as an office on October 1, 1795 with Applos Wetmore as postmaster, but was called Middletown until January 1, 1796.  The original Huntington office was renamed Winnacomac on May 24, 1799, with Moses Blackley as postmaster while a new Huntington office was established June 3, 1799 with Timothy Williams as postmaster.  Winnacomac, in turn, became Dix Hills post office July 20, 1799, still with Blackley as postmaster.  On May 25, 1801, a new north shore office was added at Satucket with Zacheriah Hawkins as postmaster.  This later became the rare Drown Meadow office (1810-1836) and is now Port Jefferson. On September 2, 1802, a series of south shore offices were erected.  A new office was established at Huntington South, with Abraham Thompson as postmaster.  This became the modern Babylon.  Westhampton was also set up as a post office with John Howell as postmaster while Patchogue was erected with Nathan Mulford as postmaster.

By the early 1800s there was a stage leaving Brooklyn Thursday morning and reaching Easthampton Saturday night.  Mail delivery was casual.  If a town were slightly off the track, the letters to addressees there were left under a designated rock à la Cape of Good Hope early postal service .  By 1825 ther4 were some 23 postoffices on the Long Island run.  One way mail was delivered was via boat.  The 168-ton steamer American Eagle ran along the north shore from 1834 to 1858 while another vessel that carried letters was the Sloop Swallow which is known to have carried a letter from New York to Southold on the north fork July 16, 1842.

A major Long Island transportation advance was the opening of the L.I. Railroad.  Chartered April 24, 1834 it was in operation between Brooklyn and Hicksville March 1, 1837 with the 10-mile stretch from Brooklyn to Jamaica being over the chartered Brooklyn & Jamaica line, leased in 1836.  Stopped by the panic of 1837, the started up again in 1840 and July 27, 1844 the first trip was made from Brooklyn to Greenport.  From Hicksville it ran via Farmingdale, Deer Park, Thompson, Suffolk Station, Lake Road, Medford, Yaphank, St. George’s Manor, Riverhead, Jonesport, Mattituck, Cutchogue, Hermitage, Southold, to Greenport.



First Postal Services Markings


October1997 LIRR1The earliest known markings are the straightline RAIL R. examples, with the earliest being the one shown to Providence dated February 26, 1846.  The latest is the May 12, 1846 item addressed to Boston asking for a receipt to be returned by mail. It is one of three known to Boston.  The marking was replaced by the large 29mm double-circle L. I. RAIL ROAD/5/mspt. date/N.Y.  An example from Mills Pond July 24, 1846 to Ethelburt Mills on Wall Street is seen.  It discusses a possible trip to Montauk and a promise of pineapple for the local fair, which Mills is directed to put on the steamer.  A second dated September 1, 1846 is to Thomas Mills asking him to bring some brown sugar and reporting the well has failed. An example with a large PAID dated Brooklyn August 1, 1846 is addressed to Southold.  It reports incident of potato fever and that potatoes should not be sent to Brooklyn unless rotting. This PAID is seen on covers from Yaphank.   One of two recorded examples of the 10¢ handstamp rate is seen on a September 22, 1846 cover from Hauppauge to Pennsylvania.

The successor marking is a small lettered version with the 5 CTS in the middle.  Copies I can definitely date range from January 21, 1849 to the example shown of October 3rd, which is a love letter from a B’Hamton (Bridgehampton) farmer to his girl on 260 W. 18th Street in Manhattan that was carrier delivered.  I do not record a 10¢ version of this marking.  This marking was quickly abandoned and a 34mm LONG ISLAND/R.R. marking substituted.  Most of the red examples are poorly struck as is the one from April 3, 1850 shown.  It is written at October1997 LIRR2Gunter’s Hotel in New York and is addressed to Greenport .  The writer reports only one other person is staying upstairs at the hotel and that he will try and get home on the evening train, e.g. he is an early commuter.  A black example of the same marking dated at Cutchogue October 28, 1854 is addressed to Connecticut and has the unpaid 5¢ rate.  It notes price of stone is so high that the writer will use brick instead.

To understand mail handling on eastern Long Island, it may be well to focus upon two towns—the countryseat—Suffolk C.H. and Sag Harbor, the leading commercial center until the 20th  century.

Suffolk Court House

October1997 SCH1From the beginning until the 1830s, Suffolk Court House used only manuscript postmarks.  They are recorded from 1817 to 1849. Shown are examples including one with a free frank by the postmaster.  There are unpaid 5 (8/28/1847) and 10¢ (double weight 9/21/1846) rated covers as well as a paid 5¢ example on a multi-forwarded rerated example posted at New York March 11th to Riverhead and reposted there to Sag Harbor.  The free frank is an order for the School Journal of July 3, 1843 franked by Geo. Halsey–the Suffolk C .H. postmaster at that time.  A way cover originating at Cutchogue February 18, 1832 was posted at Suffolk C.H. February 23rd by Daniel Downs to his children and addressed to Rev. Sylvester Foster, Turin on the Black River, N.Y. It was turned and sent on to New Turin, N.Y. with a prepaid 18¾¢ rate.

A brown 26mm circle was introduced about 1835, which is seen with an underlined month on an undated double rated 25¢ example originating at Westfield N.Y. and reposted to Carbondale, Pa. rated 37½ as well as without the underlining on a cover posted at Jamesport N.Y. 5/14/35.  The day appears to be always in manuscript.  Examples shown include regular mail, forwarded mail and a way letter from Jamesport dated May 14, 1835 rated 19¾¢ at Suffolk C.H. addressed to New London and then forwarded on from there to Norwich, Conn. with a red straightline ‘Forwarded’ for an additional 6¢ making a total rate of 25¾¢.  It discusses a rail line and not a river route.  This is apparently an every reference to the future long Island rail line that opened in 1844 to Greenport.  It was open from Brooklyn to Hicksville by 1837, but really flourished when it handled the New England mails in 1844.  By 1841 the marking is in black as seen by a January 11, 1841 example to the Comptroller of New York enclosing a bond.October1997 SCH2

A red 33mmm circle replaced the small brown circle by about 1845 as is seen by an example of July 2, 1849 and continued in use to at least December 20, 1852 as a Gardiner correspondence cover datelined Quogue but posted at Suffolk C.H. shows.  Then in 1853 a black strike replaced it as shown by a May 13th un-year-dated example with a circled black 5 rate from the Gardiner correspondence.  An 1849 letter reports that the town, known as Riverhead, had a temperance hotel, but that the temperance groups are unfriendly to the church.  Most covers in the stampless period are manuscript rated, but a circled black 5 is known. The black c.d.s. is still used November 28, 1854 when an example with a black straightline PAID is found.

The post office name changed on November 6, 1855 to Riverhead with Elbert Whitman as postmaster.  An example of January 9, 1861 shows the new black 33mmm handstamp and circled 10 rate on an incoming letter from Jacmel, Haiti.  It is ex-Smith.  This cover which discusses logwood exports (used in inks among other things) It was carried not to New York, where it was addressed, but to Riverhead where it arrived on the 1,064 ton Conquest, a vessel on the New Orleans-Liverpool ‘Regular’ line in 1860.  The letter was rated in pen ‘Due 2’ for the in-ship fee and with an encircled black 10 for the double rate from Riverhead to New York City.

October1997 SCH3One of the features of Suffolk postal history is that John A. Fox, a leading dealer and forger who dominated the market in the 1940s when postal history was beginning to expand, controlled much of it.  He altered many covers, particularly from the Gardiner correspondence to create rarities such as the STEAMER/5 and STEAMER/OREGON markings with 1847s where the handstamps were added and impossible in their use.  He also changed dates on many of the Long Island Railroad covers so that a dating sequence still has not been fully made between the small and large rated examples.  There are probably other problems that have not yet come to attention.  He was an expert in postal history, but his fakes were always below his level of knowledge.

Sag Harbor

October1997 Sag2The earliest reported Sag Harbor cover appears to be one seen here dated February 19, 1798 from Mary Havens at Shelter Island to her brother Jonathan Havens, a congressman in Philadelphia.  Haven was a state assemblyman (1786-1795) and a New York delegate to ratify the Constitution.  The cover would have been posted in the 1789 Old Custom’s House, shown on a modern postcard.  This building was also the first postoffice and the office of the first postmaster and customs collector Henry Dering for almost three decades.

Prior to the Revolution, Sag was second only to New York as a trading port, with a concentration on West Indies trade.  It was the last town occupied by the British and had the first Long Island printing press, publishing the Oration on Rights of Animals in 1791.  Sag was also the homeport for Joshua Penny’s first submarine in 1813.  Early letters were lost when the town burned in 1817; it was fully rebuilt by 1820 and had 21 whalers by 1836 and over 40 by 1843.  An example from prior to this fire was franked by H. P. Dering, the long-serving first postmaster as well as Long Island’s first customs collector, appointed by George Washington.  It is addressed to Hamilton, N.Y.. October 6, 1815 during what would be the war rate period.   James Fenimore Cooper’s ‘Natty Bumpo’ character was a Sag man, modeled on Captain Hand.  In the gold rush some 250 men left Sag alone.  A second major fire that burned 57 shops in 1845 reduced the town to the small south fork village it is today.

The first Sag handstamps were brown dotted circles used May 25, 1807 and March 25, 1808, of which the latter is shown along with the large PAID of the period.  They were followed by red 30 x 23 mm ovals known from March 25, 1809 to 1813, with four examples shown, a rated example of April 3, 1809 to Provincetown, MS, a 40¢ rate item postmarked July 23 1810 to Rutland, VT that discusses a disputed payment for a shipment of leather. and a franked example of June 10, 1811. The latter discusses disposition of a cargo of coffee. The later ovals had the town underscored and were 32 x25mm (1812-1813).  An example from the Strong correspondence of November 4, 1812 is seen.  Others are known July 27, 1812 and January 11, 1813.

An irregular purple-red circle handstamp with the town name underscored was introduced by February 21, 1813, as the example shows.  A June 14, 1813 example, written on the 12th, with a small FREE to Col. Wadsworth in Washington, D.C. reported that the British fleet was offshore, with troops landed on Gardiner’s Island and urged providing means for defense. .  This underscored circle marking was still being used on July 11, 1814 as a letter carried privately from Shelter Island to Sag and posted there by a Dering relative to his sister Mrs. L’Hommedieu at Middletown, Ct. shows.  The letter reports some family members are moving to Ulysses at the southern end of Lake Cayuga and will have to travel in wagons.

A new style 27mm circle was introduced by 1814 in a red-brown shade as seen by a Dering letter to his daughter at New London posted November 7, 1814 on a pink paper.  Dering noted the enemy ships were at the same stations but not as numerous as earlier such as in his 1813 letter.  By April 1815 it is found in a brown-black shade as seen by a free franked Dering letter to his daughter at Groton, Conn. posted April 24, 1815.  This letter notes that the New London boat was delayed a week because of weather so this is going by mail.  He also reported he is going on an election tour of the town of Westhampton.  There was a red 30 x 24 mm straightline briefly introduced in 181l but quickly abandoned when the underscored oval was introduced.  The new circle style maintained the large PAID of 1808, as seen on a legal document letter postmarked February 4, 1821 addressed to Moriches, Brook Haven, and substituted a large FREE with a period after it for the smaller one found in 1813.  This larger FREE can be seen on a December 30, 1816 cover to Moriches, L.I.

Three letters show Dering’s handling of ship letters at Sag Harbor.  First is one of March 3, 1817 written at Havana, Cuba on January 17th that was brought in by a Capt. Swim and is addressed to New York.  Dering did not mark it ship and rated it with a red ink 12½ and sent it on to be received on the 5th.  A small SHIP handstamp was applied April 24, 1820 to a cover from the Brown & Ives correspondence addressed to that firm at Providence, R.I.  This letter gives an idea of the Brazilian trade of the period.  It originated at Bahia, Brazil February 20, 1820 by Samuel Young 2nd captain of the Brig Hector who reported speaking to the Asia in late December and that that vessel was bound for Amsterdam.  The Hector sailed for Rio de Janeiro the day this letter was written giving prices current on coffee and tobacco with a cargo of fish and then take a cargo of tobacco to Gibraltar.  It had been delayed because the customs officials would not inspect on Holy Days. .  A second SHIP handstamp was applied on a letter from Gardiner’s Bay on Gardiner’s Island to New York on February 22, 1817 addressed to Lynch & Aymar in New York stating arrived two days earlier and hopes to get to New York on Saturday.  The cover was rated 14½ to cover the 12½¢ rate to New York and the 2¢ ship fee on an in-ship letter from Gardiner’s Island so it is a Long Island Sound handstamp SHIP use.

Dering was a careful postmaster and the strikes he applied to letters are good.  His successor, Samuel Phillips, who served from around 1822 until June 1, 1841 was not and his strikes are usually poor.   A poor strike is recorded July 7, 1821, which seems to show that the change occurred after the excellent strike of February 4, 1821 and before this.  Phillips used a red 28mm circle initially, but on January 12, 1830 this is found struck in orange on a letter from a local committee to solicit Congress to appropriate funds for a breakwater in the harbor at Sag.  By early 1831 the strikes are found in black and that color continues to be used until 1836.

One of the more interesting of the black strikes is on a whaler cover written by a man who took over from an ailing captain and set a letter back to Capt. Allyn at New London, one of the vessel’s owners from St. Helena where forwarder L. Gidron sent it to the Cape of Good Hope where the Cape firm of Thomson Watson & Co. sent it to Sag Harbor where it arrived and got one of the new black c.d.s. markings of January 30, 1831. The new captain stated he was going to the Falklands and the Maine banks for more oil; he also noted he had purchased the ailing captain’s instruments. A good black strike is known used on an April 27, 1831 cover while a poorly struck one is found December 19, 1836 on a letter discussing the sale of the Abraham Bell immigrant line’s 397-ton Josephine and when that vessel was last copper-bottomed.  This vessel had made one of the fastest Atlantic passages in 1831, being 15 days 12 hours.  Samuel Phillips reverted to red markings sometime in 1838 until 1840, as very poor examples are known October 8, 1838, January 9, 1839 and March 25, 1840.

John Sherry succeeded Phillips on June 6, 1841 and served until sometime after September 1843.  Sherry shifted to blue postmarks using the same worn-out 28mm handstamp which are known on two carrier delivered covers from the Nicholl’s correspondence one to Albany with a PAID dated June 3, 1842 that discusses mother’s hypochondria and a second of March 14, 1842 that was datelined March 9th on Shelter Island and gives Shelter Island family news. A third blue strike is known January 27, 1843. Peletiah Fordham took over as Sherry’s replacement and served until December 31, 1844. He was replaced, in turn by E. L. H. Gardiner January 1, 1845.

Gardiner initially kept the blue handstamps as seen by a New Year’s Day example of 1845 that gives the quarterly report for Baptist activity and reports that the number of Baptists rose from 28 to 100 during the past year.  He reintroduced red strikes in February  as seen on an example of February 28, 1845, ex-Smith, to the Surveyor General at Albany.  Other 1845 examples in my record are of February 5th and December 25th. A new postmark is introduced during the summer of 1845.  It is a 30mm marking with the state name at the bottom.  An example with an X handstamp crossing out a 5 rate to Albany of August 30, 1845 can be seen while a 10 rate is seen on an August 12, 1845 cover to Norfolk, VA.

A brief postal interregnum takes place between June 9, 1847 and May 7, 1849 during which N. W. Tiffany is postmaster and reintroduces the new  handstamp in red. An example with an encircled X rate posted July 8, 1848 is seen that is addressed to the Fall River Iron Works while a letter from Pernambuco, Brazil via Fayal in the Azores addressed by Albert Knox Jr. to his father is sent via  the whaler William Tate, which is ‘just shoving off’  It reached Sag on June 22nd and was hit with a red SHIP and rated 12 (10¢ to Charlestown, MS and 2¢ in-ship).  When Gardiner resumes the postmastership from May 8, 1849 until May 18,1853 he keeps red as the postmarking ink until the rate change of July 1, 1851.  Both men used an encircled red 5 rate known from July 8, 1848 to June 2, 1849.  The red c.d.s. is found on a May 10, 1851 letter from Daniel Dayton with a manuscript ‘Drop 2’ rate addressed to Samuel Gardiner at Sag Harbor.

Gardiner uses black ink beginning in July 1851 and he and his successor, Thomas E. Crowell continue the practice.  Crowell serves from 5/18/1853 until June 1, 1861 at which point P.J. Jenings is appointed and serves into 1869.

After July 1, 1853 the circled 5 is found in black as an unpaid rate with an example shown of December 13; another is recorded April 16, 1853. A similar encircled 3 with a black PAID, formerly in the Hutchinson holding is seen on an August 9th cover to Brandon, VT, while several examples of just the PAID are found on letters to Sag Harbor, one of which is dated February 10th, having originated at nearby Canuplace February 9, 1852 while a second is addressed to Cutchogue.  By January 27, 1853 a plain ‘3’ handstamp is substituted along with a PAID as seen on a carrier delivered lady’s embossed cover to Miss Camerden at 86 Ludlow St. in New York.  The contents discuss sleighing, local temperance meetings and the fact that some 400-500 people were at church over the holidays.  An example of this 30 mm c.d.s. used with a FREE for Post Office Business is postmarked April 20, (1852). It reports to the publisher of the Home Missionary paper that  the newspaper is taken out of the office by P. Fordham to whom it was addressed. . A drop letter from the Gardiner correspondence of 2/10/(52) that originated at nearby Canuplace is seen; it bears only a PAID.  Another example from the Gardiner find is postmarked JUL/19 and bears a manuscript pencil ‘Drop 1 CT’.

October1997 Sag5A new black c.d.s. of 32mm is introduced sometime after April 1853 and before December 1854.  It is seen with an unpaid ‘5’ handstamped cover postmarked December 11 (1854) to Springfield, MS and on an arc PAID/3 example of December 3 addressed to Hartford, CT. that is recorded in 1854.  Several drop letters are known with this c.d.s.  An unusual item from the Gardiner find has a DROP and PAID with a slug imposed over the DROP. Undated it is postmarked August 11th.  A clear example with a DROP/1 is postmarked November 23rd;several examples of this are known.  Finally an example postmarked April 10, 1857 from the Nicholl find.  It was carried into Sag by Mary Sherry and is struck with what looks like a DROP/4 but may be the DROP/1 with a slug over the rate.

As befits a major seaport town, the final item shown is a January 4, 1857 item with a PAID (24 in manuscript) addressed to Daniel Huntington Artist, c/o October1997 Sag6Geo. Peabody, Bankers, in London. It was sent via the CunarderPersia leaving New York 1/6/58 and arriving  on the 16th. It bears a London receipt of the 16th and the red ‘19’ exchange marking.  Huntington (1816-1906) studied with Samuel Morse and was a member of the Hudson River school; he painted the Lincoln portrait seen in the Union League Club today and the James Lenox portrait found in the New York Public Library at 42nd Street.