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Sale 89: The John Barwis Collection of Philadelphia Postal History

Table of Contents

Philadelphia Domestic Mail: Domestic Uses including Balances

Lot 3247    

1774 (c.) Allentown Pa. to Philadelphia Pa., folded cover from a correspondence to merchant John Mitchell endorsed "p Stag" at lower left, origin and dating based on evidence from other examples of this correspondence; some minor edge wear, Very Fine.
Estimate    $150 - 200.

Joseph Borden operated a stage coach route that stopped in, and ran through, Allentown. "The stages were wagons with low sides and benches on the floor of the wagon. A crude canvas cover with canvas or leather side curtain protected the passengers from the weather. The wagons were unsprung… and…passengers suffered broken arms and legs due to being tossed about or out of the wagon. Stages overturned occasionally.

It is interesting to note that in September of 1777, the British defeated George Washington's troops at Brandywine Creek, Pennsylvania, prompting panic among the people of Philadelphia who now found themselves defenseless against British occupation.

Facing this threat, the state government ordered that several of the more important bells in Philadelphia be removed from the city to prevent the British from melting them down to forge weaponry. This included the bell from the Pennsylvania State House, the now famous Liberty Bell.

The Liberty Bell was secreted away from Philadelphia and taken to present-day Allentown, escorted by heavy guard and hidden on a hay wagon. It was taken to Zion Reformed Church, where soldiers hid it, along with several other prominent bells, under the church floor. The bell remained hidden in the church throughout the British occupation of Philadelphia, until June of 1778, when the bell was returned to the State House.

Realized: $350

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