Illinois Stampless Covers

CARMI - White County - 1817-Present

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The Ratcliff Inn, Carmi Illinois

Erected by James Ratcliff

1832 Carmi manuscript town cancel on folded letter.  The letter is datlined August 24, 1832 from James Ratcliff (Old Beaver) to Michael Jones, Shawneetown, Illinois.  The letter is regarding an a summons to appear in the Circuit Court, Judge William Wilson presiding.  

Read the letter in it's entirety by clicking on the camera above.

A little history on "Old Beaver" James Ratcliff

James Ratcliff, one of the members of the commission to locate and name the County Seat of Hamilton County, was from White County. He was a native of Virginia, and located in Carmi a short time previous to 1818. He was clerk of the Commissioners Court, clerk of the Circuit Court, and for a time Postmaster at Carmi, Illinois.

James Ratcliff, because of his great energy, was also known as "Old Beaver." He had erected in 1828, one of Carmi, Illinois' most famous buildings, the Ratcliff Inn. This building is on Carmi's main street. It has been restored and houses the White County Historical Museum.

An interesting piece of the early Carmi, Illinois history certainly worth additional research.


MOUNT CARROLL - Carroll County - 1845-Present

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1848 Mount Carroll manuscript town cancel.  Letter to Mary Miller Cleveland, Ohio - regarding problems with the post office.  Read the letter in it's entirety by clicking on the camera above.

LOWER ALTON - Madison County - 1831-1835

1834 Manuscript Lower Alton, Ill.  Dateline Lower Alton July 2, 1834.  1.5 page Letter from S. Griggs to Elyah Bliss, West Springfield regarding Elyah Bliss's sons estate "it was our intention to have sent you your sons clothes before this....."  25cent manuscript rate.

LOWER ALTON - Madison County - 1831-1835

RUSHVILLE - Schuyler County - 1827 - Present

1833 Turned Cover - Lower Alton to Rushville and Return to Lower Alton.  Dateline December 19, 1833.  Brief correspondence regarding the location of W. Scott who apparently moved to Kentucky.  Pretty pair of manuscript town cancels on cover in great condition.


ROSS SETTLEMENT (?) - Pike County - 1822-1825

1827 Ross, Illinois Manuscript Town Cancel  - Signed William Ross, founder of Atlas, Illinois and confident of Abe Lincoln.

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This stampless folded letter has a Ross manuscript town cancel with a dateline of Atlas, March 16. 1827.  The letter is signed by Wm. Ross who is actually Colonel William Ross, founder of Atlas Illinois (aka Ross's Settlement)

A history of Colonel William Ross can be found beginning  and continues  the Lincoln connection

The American Stampless Cover Catalog list a 1826 Ross, Illinois manuscript cancel - the ASCC is wrong.  There has never been a Ross, Illinois post office, only a Ross's Settlement which according to my records only operated from 1822-1825.  Thus a 1826 or 1827 Ross manuscript does not exist under the information currently available.  I suspect that Colonel Ross (who was perhaps acting as Postmaster at the time) made up his own town - the signature and manuscript cancel are identical - and according to available information, did not exist as a post office.  I think this cover may indeed be a Ross Illinois town cancel but postal records would need to be verified.

A great stampless folded letter certainly worthy of additional research.  A wonderful historical piece.


GODFREY - Madison County - 1841 - Present

Indiana Stampless Covers


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1823 Terre Haute, Indiana IA manuscript town cancel on folded letter from Nathaniel H Adams to his uncle Nathaniel Hyde, Connecticut and his sister Hannah Adams.  Read the letter in it's entirety by clicking the camera above.


MURRAY - Wells County - 1837 - 1902

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1846 Murray IA manuscript town cancel on folded letter from James Barclay to John Hunter of Beaver Town, PA.  Murray Indiana manuscript cancel is unlisted in the American Stampless Cover Catalog.

Read the letter in it's entirety by clicking the camera above.  A little history on James...

James Barclay was born on the 27 Feb 1822 in Beaver County, Pennsylvania. He was the son of Thomas Barclay and Jane Hunter. James married Lucinda Glass on the 6 Jan 1845 at Beaver, Pennsylvania. Lucinda was born on the 9 Mar 1823 in Wayne County, Ohio. She was the daughter of John Glass and Ann Johnston. James died on the 13 Jul 1893 at Littleton, Iowa. Lucinda died on the 1 Oct 1899 at Independence, Iowa. They are both buried in the Barclay Cemetery located near Jessup, Iowa.

James and Lucinda Barclay came from Indiana and settled in Iowa. James and Lucinda established a hotel and platted land with the idea of creating a city of Barclay, Iowa in Barclay Township. The Barclay school was named after them and Barclay Presbyterian Church was organized on the 7 Dec 1861. Because James Barclay would not give the right-of-way to the Illinois Central Railway Co., when the railroads across the West were being built in the 1800's, the Railroad Co. ran the track through nearby Jessup, Iowa and the community of Barclay, Iowa became a ghost town and no longer exists. However, the township is still Barclay Township and the Church and Barclay Cemetery still stand.

Kentucky Stampless Covers

Hall Town - ??? County - 18?? - ????

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Dateline Clay Seminary, March 3, 1838.  Letter from Jacob Hall to William Barnett, Findleyville, PA.

This letter is a complete mystery to me.  There is no recorded Hall Town, Kentucky post office that I can find - perhaps a coal town that was never recorded.

Any information would be most appreciated.


MORGANFIELD - Union County - 1813 - Present

CONCORD - Lewis County - 1835 - Present

Louisiana Stampless Covers

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1828 Opelousas, Louisiana manuscript town cancel.  Dateline Opelousas, La. 18 March 1828.  Letter from Orsamus L. Nash to Reverend Benjamin M. Drake in Natchez, Mississippi .  I believe that there is a Methodist Church connection here.  Very long letter with file folds and separations.


Drop 1 Handstamped Rate.  Dateline New Orleans January 15 1852. One page letter, click on camera below to read full text.

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North Carolina Stampless Covers

CLINTON - Sampson County - 1824-Present

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Clinton, NC manuscript town cancel on folded letter datlined 21st January, 1827 which predates the earliest reported in the American Stampless Catalog (1834) by 7 years.  Possible earliest known use.

Letter is from Lyman Porter to his brother John Porter, Hartford Vermont.

John Porter, (1798-1886), of Hartford, Vermont, was State Senator for the years 1842 and 1843, a probate judge for the district of Hartford for the years of 1850-1886, as well as serving on a commission to oversee the reconstruction of the State House in Montpelier.

I have two additional letters to John Porter, one from Lyman and one from L Putnam, Hubbardston, MA


CLEMMONSVILLE - Forsyth County - 1810 - 1993

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Clemmonsville, NC manuscript town cancel on folded letter datlined May 8, 1843 and written from William James McElroy to D.R. Dunlap of Charlotte, NC.  I have not had the time to read or research this letter however you may read it in it's entirety by clicking the camera above.


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