Lot 157(Mail Routes) Chorpenning Contract Route and Woodson Contract Route. 1853-55 10¢ Nesbitt entire postmarked with "Placerville, Cal./Dec. 11" (1859) cds to New York with manuscript endorsement "By Salt Lake", entire with lengthy original enclosure which talks of the newly constructed Salt Lake Stage Road (Chorpenning Route), "We have a good wagon road over the dreaded Sierra Mountains to Carson Valley - constructed this season & is 85 miles long over which the mail from the States passes in a 4 horse coach or wagon weekly.", "I may send this by the Salt Lake Route so that it may pass over the same road that I did in coming out here…", plus much more regarding the City of Placerville & life in California, part of flap torn away, Very Fine and attractive, a wonderful & historic item.
Estimate $400 - 600.
Carried on the Chorpenning Route to Salt Lake City and on the Woodson Route to Independence, Mo. This service primarily benefited those offices between California and Missouri who would otherwise have to rely on private mail services. The route was rarely used for mail between California and the East.
Lot 158(Mail Routes) Chorpenning Contract Route and Woodson Contract Route. 1853-55 10¢ Nesbitt entire postmarked with "Yreka, Cal./Mar. 29, 1859" cds to St. Louis, Mo. with manuscript endorsement "via Salt Lake Route", Very Fine and attractive.
Estimate $300 - 400.
Carried on the Chorpenning Route to Salt Lake City and on the Woodson Route to Independence, Mo.
Lot 159(Mail Routes) Chorpenning Route. "Carson City U.T. (Utah Territory, now Nevada), April 21st 1859" manuscript postmark on 1853-55 10¢ Nesbitt entire with pencil strokes cancelling the indicium, to Middletown, Rhode Island, "Via San Francisco" sender's endorsement, Very Fine, with transcripts of the letters that were once enclosed photocopied from a July 1990 Western Express article.
Estimate $500 - 750.
Carried on the Chorpenning Route from Carson City via San Francisco to Rhode Island. Carried over the Sierras by Snowshoe Thompson for Chorpenning (see Across The Sierra Nevada Mountain by Snow-Shoe, by Risvold and Frajola in Chronicle #215).
Lot 160(Mail Routes) Forwarded by Thomas O. Larkin, Monterey/California. Wonderfully struck oval handstamp on 1844 folded cover datelined "San Diego, December 16" & addressed to Boston, sent via New Orleans with blue cds & matching straight line "Ship" handstamp with manuscript "27" rate, letter with second portion written later and datelined "Monterey, Jany 20th, 1845", interesting contents regarding early California commerce, Extremely Fine and choice, one of the finest example of this classic, early California markings.
Estimate $1,500 - 2,000.
AN EXTREMELY RARE EXAMPLE OF THE HANDSTAMPED MARKING APPLIED BY THOMAS O. LARKIN, THE FIRST AND ONLY UNITED STATES CONSUL TO ALTA CALIFORNIA.
Thomas O. Larkin arrived in California in 1832 and became the U.S. Consul to Alta California (then part of Mexico) at Monterey in 1843. He served as a mail forwarder, and his scarce oval marking is found on covers sent via Monterey and carried across Mexico and deposited in the United States mails at New Orleans.
Lot 161(Mail Routes) From San Francisco via Los Angeles. illustrated six horse drawn stage with imprint "Overland Mail to All Parts of the Union" on cover to New Hampshire, franked with 1857 10¢ green, type III (defective) tied by large fancy blue star cancel with matching "Marysville, Cal." cds at left, cover shows publisher's imprint, "Published by Hutchings & Rosenfield, San Francisco", cover with some professional restoration & gently cleaned, Very Fine appearance; a lovely cover carried on the Butterfield Overland Route.
Estimate $200 - 300.
Lot 162(Mail Routes) General Kearny Return Expedition. "San Francisco, California/May 2nd, 1847" datelined on folded cover to Connecticut, posted at in Missouri with "Fort Leavenworth Mo." cds & manuscript "10" rate, contents of letter with interesting account of voyage to San Francisco by sea, arrival in San Francisco Bay and description of life in California, small sealed tear at top & mended corner splits, F.-V.F., a wonderful rarity & one of the earliest covers from San Francisco.
Estimate $5,000 - 7,500.
This cover was carried by General Kearny's Expedition on his return trip to Fort Leavenworth after his victory in California to end the Mexican War.
At the outbreak of the Mexican War, Kearny was ordered to seize New Mexico and California. Using diplomacy to persuade Mexican troops to withdraw, he marched unopposed to Santa Fe, where in 1846 he proclaimed a civil government for the province. Heading to California, he was informed that the conquest had already been completed by Robert F. Stockton and John C. Frémont. He arrived to discover that Mexican rebels had retaken most of the province. He then joined forces with Stockton to defeat the rebels in 1847.
Kearny, as ranking Army officer, claimed command of the area at the end of hostilities, which began an unfortunate rivalry with Stockton. When Mexican forces in California capitulated on January 13, they did not do so to Stockton or Kearny, but to Stockton's aide, Lt. Col. John C. Frémont. Stockton seized on this and appointed Frémont military governor of the area. Kearny appealed to Washington. Receiving confirmation of his authority, Kearny took command. He had Frémont relieved, arrested, and later convicted at a court-martial, though Frémont quickly received a presidential pardon.
General Kearny broke up his camp near Sutter's fort on or about June 15, 1847 and set out for the United States with Colonel Frémont, who was treated, however, with deliberate disrespect throughout the journey. The party reached Fort Leavenworth about Aug. 22.
Lot 163(Mail Routes) Jackass Mail Route. Cover franked with two 1851 3¢ dull red tied by "West Point, N.Y." cds addressed to Lieut. B DuBarry, Fort Yuba, with manuscript endorsement "Via San Diego" at bottom left & "due 10" at top, one stamp with small adherence & other with trivial stain, Very Fine, a stunning cover carried on this fabled & little used route.
Estimate $1,500 - 2,000.
This cover was carried via New York City, Chagres, and Panama to San Francisco on the regular steamship route. From San Francisco it was carried by the California Steam Navigation Company to San Diego and then over the mule-mail route to Fort Yuma.
It was June 1857 before the contract was let for the establishment of what was officially called the San Antonio-San Diego Mail Line. The contract was awarded to none other than James Birch. The San Antonio-San Diego Mail Line was to provide semi-monthly service on a thirty-day schedule. For this, Birch would receive $150,000 per year subsidy from the government.
In less than thirty days, Birch, the capable veteran stage man, dispatched the first mail west from San Antonio. Mules, rather than horses, were to pull the coaches and for this reason and the fact that pack mules actually carried the mail over the final 180 mile stretch from Ft. Yuma to San Diego, Birch's new venture was more commonly known as the "Jackass Mail Line". The departure dates were set for the 9th and 24th of each month.
The most difficult part of the trip had been the last 180 miles from Ft. Yuma across what is now the rich Imperial Valley north to circle the Laguna Mountains by way of Cooke's Wagon Road up rugged Vallecito Canyon to Warner's Ranch, then southward over what is now U.S. Highway 385 to San Diego.
There were 87 stations listed on the itinerary, but only three, San Antonio, El Paso, San Diego, could really be called stations. Many so called stations were merely a brush corral and an adobe hut and others were just camping places. The line employed 65 men, 50 coaches (some were ambulances), and 400 mules. Only 50 trips were made before it was downsized in December 1858.
Lot 164(Mail Routes) Military Supply Route to Fort Yuma by Colorado Steam Navigation Company. Cover addressed to "Lieut Beekman Du Barry, 3rd Artillery U.S. Army, Care of Major Cook, U.S. Quarter Master" in San Francisco, franked with 1851 3¢ dull red two singles tied by "Philadelphia, Pa., Jul 3" cds paying the 6¢ trans-continental rate, Post Office Box "771" pencil notation for delivery (partially erased), forwarded to Fort Yuma, California with part of original address lined out, small repair at top and top backflap partly missing (affecting "…ington House" cameo design), Very Fine, one of the great rarities of the West.
Estimate $3,000 - 4,000.
This one of only two recorded covers carried to Fort Yuma by the Colorado Steam Navigation Company on the military supply water route from San Francisco down the coast, around Baja California and up the Gulf of California, and finally up the Colorado River to Fort Yuma.
This cover is dateable to 1854 given the 6¢ transcontinental rate and the fact that First Lieutenant Beekman Du Barry served at Fort Yuma from 1854 until 1856. Besides commanding Light Battery E of the Third Regiment of Artillery, Lieutenant Du Barry was also Commissary and assistant Quartermaster. As such, he designed a number of the buildings that were constructed at the post.
Lot 165(Mail Routes) "Overland Via Placerville and Salt Lake". Manuscript endorsement at left of 1853-55 10¢ Nesbitt entire to Missouri and postmarked "Georgetown, Cal., Nov 31, 1860" cds, Very Fine.
Estimate $500 - 750.
This cover was carried on the stages of the Central Overland California & Pike's Peak Express Company (COC&PPE) during the brief period that the COC&PPE held both of the mail contracts on the Central Overland Route. The Hockaday contract between Saint Joseph and Salt Lake City was acquired by Jones & Russell, the COC&PPE's predecessor company, in 1859. The Chorpenning contract between Placerville and Salt Lake City was transferred to the COC&PPE on May 11, 1860. The separate contracts were eliminated after the Southern Overland Route was shut down due to the onset of the Civil War and the mail contract held by Overland Mail Company on the southern route was transferred to the central route effective July 1, 1861.
Lot 166(Mail Routes) Via Los Angeles, Overland. Single-line imprint in black on 1853-55 3¢ Nesbitt entire with pre-printed address to National Telegraph Office, St. Louis, Missouri, postmarked with Fresno, Cal. manuscript, some edge faults & repairs, Very Fine appearance, a very scarce type imprint & one of the few covers paying the 3¢ rate "over the Rockies".
Estimate $300 - 400.
In September 1858 the Overland Mail Company started regular semi-weekly stagecoach service along the so-called "Butterfield Route" between San Francisco and St. Louis via Los Angeles. A variety of markings, printed and handstamped, were used on mail to designate this route.