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Sale 55: United States Postal History

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Westward Expansion - Mormon Related

Lots 105-114 Lots 115-124 Lots 125-134

Lot 105    

[Mormon] Shawneetown, Ill., Aug 2, partial red cds on circa 1839 folded letter datelined "A Ground at Shawneetown Ills." and manuscript "H Coleman, P.M., Liberty, Mo." free frank endorsement, addressed to his wife in Liberty Mo.; light stain at left, F.-V.F.
Estimate    $500 - 750.

In the letter, Postmaster Coleman tells his wife to inform William Hayes, editor of the
Far West newspaper in Caldwell County, that he "has purchased his paper and type". The town of Far West had been established by the Mormon in 1838 as their capital after being expelled from both Missouri's Jackson and Clay Counties. The paper was official Mormon organ. In 1839 violence flared between the Mormons and the locals. The State Militia was called out, destroying the town and seizing the Mormon leaders for trial. Joseph Smith escaped and fled to Illinois. He apparently sold the paper to Coleman while he was in that State. The steamboat Coleman was taking home had run aground on the Ohio River on account of low water.

Realized: $525

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Lot 106    

[Mormon] Far West Mo. May 19, neat bold strike of fancy postmark in red and manuscript "25" rating on folded letter datelined "Far west Caldwell County May the 19 1838," shortly after the Mormons began arriving, it is from a recent widow to her brother in Goshen Conn., she writes "…all kinds of produce is very high here at this time and hard to be had without the cash the inhabitants are coming in here from all quarters of the world…I have not one relative to come to my humble dwelling to sooth my sorrows nor pour the healing balm of consolation in to my wounded breast I am here perhaps two thousand miles from you…I am led sometimes to say I cannot stay in this country alone at others I give it up and if my heart is with these people I must stay with them for I think them to be the people of God."; some minor edgewear, Very Fine and choice strike.
Estimate    $1,500 - 2,000.

In 1838 a large group of Mormons settled in a sparsely inhabited region of northwest Missouri. They established their own County of Caldwell with Far West as the county seat. With increasing numbers of Mormons spilling over into adjacent counties, a number of incidents between them and their gentile neighbors led to a civil war between the two groups. The Governor of Missouri threatened to have the State Militia "Expel or exterminate them". The Saints decided to pack up and go back to Illinois.

In the meantime General Lucas of the militia had arrested Joseph Smith and other leaders of the church. They were tried by a court-martial and ordered to be shot for treason in the public square of Far West. Alexander Doniphan, who was to win fame in the Mexican War, was called upon to execute the condemned but refused. He wrote General Lucas that "It is cold-blooded murder. I will not obey your order. My brigade shall march for Liberty tomorrow morning at 8 o'clock, and if you execute these men I will hold you responsible before an earthly tribunal, so help me God." The order was never executed and the prisoners were permitted to escape. Most of the Mormons took the steamboat route down the Missouri and up the Mississippi to Quincy. The last of the Saints left Far West on April 20, 1839.

Realized: $3,500

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Lot 107    

[Mormon] Independence Mo. Aug 16, clear strike of blue cds and manuscript "25" rating on folded letter datelined "Linnland Jackson Cty August 12th 1839" to Winchester Ky., the writer comments briefly on the sale of Mormon Lands after their expulsion from Jackson County: "…I have bought 70 acres of land joining one of the tracts I told you I had bought of the Mormons.", he also comments on having to sell a slave in Kentucky to raise cash: "…he did push me and both told the people there was no money coming to me in Ky. and almost every one to whom any thing was due pushed me in my absence, and sold a negro girl that cost me $414 for $291…"; file fold flaw, F.-V.F.
Estimate    $300 - 400.

Realized: $625

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Lot 108    

[Mormon] Independence Mo. May 22, green cds with matching "Paid" and "X" rating handstamps on 1850 folded letter to Philadelphia Pa., reads in part "As on my arrival home I found the place flooded with goods and the prospects of business blighted, it became necessary for me to seek a further market, consequently I have formed a partnership with Mr. Packard & Bro. James for the purpose of taking my stock of goods to the Mormon settlement at Salt Lake…"; light file fold toning, Very Fine.
Estimate    $300 - 400.

Realized: $400

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Lot 109    

[Mormon] Independence Mo. Oct 24, red cds with matching "Paid 5" rating handstamp on 1850 folded letter from Samuel H. Woodson to Major John Dougherty at Liberty Mo., who was an Indian Agent and former postmaster at Fort Leavenworth; top edge tear, F.-V.F.
Estimate    $500 - 750.

In 1850, Samuel H. Woodson of Independence, Missouri was awarded a U.S. mail contract for monthly service from Independence to Salt Lake City, following the California-Oregon Trail. The contract commenced on July 1, 1850. This letter is datelined Oct. 22nd in regards to mail matter, "Judge James Brown informs me that he had made an arrangement with you for some 90 bushels of corn at Fort Kearny for the use of the stock on his Salt Lake mail line. The judge has gone to Sante Fe and requests me to write to you and get an order for the corn upon the person who has it in charge. Please send me the total order by mail at your earliest convenience, in time for the next Salt Lake mail (1st Nov) and have it drawn in favor of 'Brown, Woodson & Co.', as I am known in the business of transporting the mail.".

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Lot 110    

[Mormon] Liberty Mo., May 9., complete strike of oval postmark in magenta and manuscript "25" rating on three-page folded letter datelined "Liberty, Clay County, Missouri, May the 4th 1834" and addressed to Urbana Oh., some very interesting Mormon related content, Very Fine.
Estimate    $2,000 - 3,000.


The interesting Mormon letter content reads in part, "There is a degraded kind of people in this country called mormons that settled in an adjacent county who pretended to have great supernatural gifts such as speaking with tongues healing diseases etc. The people of that county became so disgusted with them and their lying pretentions that last winter they drove them from their county. They are a great many of them scattered about this county but they are preparing to go back to their homes again by force of arms and I make if they do there will be much blood shed for the people of that county are determined not to let them come back…".

Realized: $4,000

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Lot 111    

[Mormon] Liberty Mo. May 6, red cds and manuscript "10" rating on 1839 folded affidavit from Clay County Justice of the Peace certifying that Benjamin Hayes, publisher of the Far West newspaper had printed the affixed insolvent debtor notice four times; some file docketing and ink mark, F.-V.F.
Estimate    $400 - 600.

The flight of the Mormons from Far West caused serious financial repercussions in the area. This letter from Liberty contains a insolvent debtor notice that had been published four times in the
Far West newspaper, the last time being April 11, 1839, nine days before the last of the Mormons left the state. The Far West newspaper was the official Mormon organ.

Realized: $450

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Lot 112    

[Mormon] "Linden Mo. Oct 14", manuscript postmark with matching "10" rating on folded letter datelined "Council Bluf Oct the 3 1847" and addressed to Bethany N.Y., letter from Sally Randall who was a Mormon planning to follow the Oregon Trail to Salt Lake City, it was privately carried from Council Bluff to Linden where it was placed in the mails; light toning, F.-V.F.
Estimate    $750 - 1,000.

Letter from Mormon Sally Randall to her parents: "…We could not fit out to go last spring and I don't know as we shall be able to go next spring, but we want to if possible. We have raised about too hundred bushels of corn and a good crop of beans and some potatoes and plenty of garden. Since we have not raised any wheat but others have, we can get wheat by going about fifty miles for fifty cents a bushel…the earth has brought forth abundance for the Saints this season. If we are in the wilderness the Lord Jesus Christ you can never do it unless you come into the church of Jesus Christ. It would be a great time of rejoicing with me if you would all come on here next spring and obey the Gospel and be saved with a temporal Salvation as well as a Spiritual for time is near at hand when the Lord will pour out his wrath and fury upon the inhabitants of the earth and if you remain with the wicked you must expect to suffer with them…I enjoy myself first rate and I think all of the saints do…".

Realized: $850

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Lot 113    

[Mormon] "Fort Kearney N.T., Aug 30", manuscript postmark on cover front bearing 1852, 3¢ dull red cancelled by matching manuscript strokes, addressed to Mrs. J. A. Gove in Concord N.H., a Very Fine use, ex-Craveri.
Estimate    $500 - 750.

This cover was sent from a member of the expedition to his wife in New Hampshire. It entered the mail at Fort Kearney on August 30, 1857 when the troops briefly stopped there on the way west.

Acting on rumors of a Mormon insurrection in Salt Lake City in May 1857, President James Buchanan ordered 2,500 soldiers under the command of General William S. Harney (and later Col. Albert Sidney Johnson) to the area. These troops followed the California/Oregon Trail along the Platte River and then overland via Fort Laramie. The Mormons destroyed Fort Bridger before the expedition arrived, forcing the troops to winter in the open at a nearby site.

In the spring of 1858 the army marched through Salt Lake City and built Camp Floyd about 40 miles beyond the city. It was occupied from 1858 to midsummer of 1861, when the troops were recalled to the East because of the beginning of the Civil War.

Realized: $575

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Lot 114    

[Mormon] "Camp Floyd, Cedar Valley, July 21 1858", datelined folded letter to Ohio City, Ohio, bearing 1857, 3¢ dull red, faults and affixed by wax, tied by blue "Salt Lake City, Utah T. Jul 24" cds; light soiling, F.-V.F., a scarce territorial use.
Scott No. 26    Estimate $400 - 600.

This letter is from a member of the expedition to his mother, reading in part: "We have put in a very severe winter of it, we left Fort Bridger about a month ago to go to Salt Lake City from that place we marched again to this camp, as the Mormon difficulty seems now to be settled, it is supposed that we will go back to Fort Laramie this summer.".

Realized: $425

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Lots 105-114 Lots 115-124 Lots 125-134

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