MARYLAND POSTAL HISTORY PROJECT

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1 MARYLAND POSTAL HISTORY PROJECT The Maryland Postal History Project is an on-going effort to document and catalog the postal markings used in Maryland post offices, from colonial times to the present. Maryland is a small state geographically, easily traversed by highway in less than six hours from the Atlantic Ocean beaches in the east to the Allegheny Mountains in the west. However, it offers a challenging postal history record spanning nearly three hundred years and two thousand local communities that is not yet fully explored. Please contact the state administrator if you have any information to contribute to the postal history project or to the material presented in the Introduction. State administrator: Gordon Katz Mailing address: 9924 Springfield Drive Ellicott City MD address: i

2 LIST OF CONTRIBUTORS Thanks to each of the following individuals who have provided valuable assistance to this project: Gary Anderson Robert Beasecker Gary Carlson Mike Ellingson Art Hadley Dick Laird Larry McBride Don Pearson Alex Savakis Patricia Stillwell Walker Richard Winter ii

3 INTRODUCTION TO MARYLAND AND ITS POSTAL HISTORY The objectives of this introduction are two-fold: a) To provide a general Maryland historical context within which to view its postal history; and b) To provide explanatory notes regarding the structure of the Maryland postal history catalog. It is presented in four sections as follows: I. MARYLAND HISTORICAL NOTES The historical notes provide a chronological sampling of events that have taken place in Maryland. II. III. IV. POST OFFICES IN MARYLAND This discussion outlines the development of the network of post offices in Maryland from colonial times to the present. UNDERSTANDING THE POSTAL HISTORY CATALOG This section is a user s guide that explains how the Maryland postal history catalog is structured. SOURCES USED A comprehensive list of the reference works consulted during the development of this Introduction and the Maryland postal history catalog. iii

4 I. MARYLAND HISTORICAL NOTES Founding through Declaration of Independence: 1634 to 1776 King Charles I of England granted the charter for the colony of Maryland to Cecilius (Cecil) Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore, in June His father, George Calvert, had been a close friend and confidante of King Charles, who admired Calvert s strict Catholicism and conservative ideology. The elder Calvert, who had failed in an earlier colonial venture in Newfoundland, persuaded the king to give him a new proprietorship in America. George Calvert died before the grant was officially settled and it passed to Cecil. As a prudent expression of gratitude, the Calverts named their colony for Charles wife, Queen Henrietta Maria. About one hundred twenty-five English settlers landed in the colony on March 25, 1634 at an island in the Potomac River they called St. Clement s Island, after Pope Saint Clement I, patron saint of mariners. Within a few months the settlers had moved to the mainland and erected the town of St. Mary s City in what is now St. Mary s County, which served as the first colonial capital. Settlement of the colony progressed northward, generally following the navigable waterways of the Chesapeake Bay and its many tributaries. The Act of Toleration was enacted in 1649, establishing religious toleration for Christian faiths as public policy in the colony. It was repealed in 1689 following the ascension of the Protestants William III and Mary II to the British throne. That event cost the Calverts their proprietorship of the colony, and ultimately led to the relocation of the colonial capital from the Catholic stronghold of St. Mary s City to Anne Arundel Towne in Anne Arundel Towne was renamed Annapolis and has served as the seat of government continuously since that time. Figure 1: The Maryland State Capitol in Annapolis. This building has been in continuous use by the Maryland legislature since William Parks began publishing the colony s first newspaper, the Maryland Gazette, in Annapolis in Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon surveyed the present day border dividing Maryland from Pennsylvania and Delaware between 1763 and Known as the Mason- Dixon Line, it was considered then as now the dividing line between the northern and southern states. Life in Southern Maryland and on the Eastern Shore especially emulated the plantation economy of the South. The first public outburst of resistance to British rule in Maryland occurred in 1765 in Fredericktown (now Frederick) when the mostly German population violently protested the new taxes mandated by the Stamp Act and the local court rejected their imposition. Protests elsewhere against the Tea Act incited a mob to burn the British ship Peggy Stewart and her cargo of tea in the Annapolis harbor on October 19, Four Marylanders joined fifty-two other prominent iv

5 colonists on July 4, 1776 in the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia. The Maryland Convention at Annapolis declared independence from Great Britain on July 6. Post-colonial Era: The late 1700s and 1800s Maryland became the seventh colony to ratify the U.S. Constitution on April 28, 1788 and was granted statehood on September 22. The state s population in the first decennial census of 1790 was about 320,000. Residents in what are today the five most populous jurisdictions Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties numbered 100,000. The state ceded land along the Potomac River in Montgomery County to the federal government in 1791 for the District of Columbia. The importation of slaves for sale was banned in It was also the year that the City of Baltimore, the hub of the state s commerce, was incorporated. Construction of the National Road began in 1811, and would eventually extend the existing private turnpikes between Baltimore and Cumberland all the way to Vandalia, Illinois by On the morning of September 14, 1814, Francis Scott Key was moved to write the poem The Defence of Fort McHenry after witnessing an all night bombardment of the fort by British warships that failed to dislodge its defenders. The poem was later renamed The Star Spangled Banner and adopted as the U.S. National Anthem in Groundbreaking for the Chesapeake & Ohio (C & O) Canal took place on July 4, 1828 in Georgetown. The first railroad station in the country was built in 1830 by the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad at Mount Clare in Baltimore City. Both the Canal and Railroad progressed westward, with the Railroad reaching Cumberland in 1842, eight years before the Canal arrived there in Construction of the Canal terminated at Cumberland, overtaken by the expansion of the railroad network to points far beyond. Operations on the canal ceased in 1924 after it sustained severe flood damage. The waterway is now a National Historic Park. Figure 2: Antietam National Cemetery Maryland was a slave state, and its citizens were sharply divided by the Civil War. The federal government acted to ensure that Maryland did not secede from the Union and thus isolate the District of Columbia in Southern territory. In 1861, Federal troops occupied Annapolis and Baltimore and remained there throughout the war. The writ of habeas corpus was suspended. Supporters of secession in the Maryland General Assembly and throughout the state were arrested and imprisoned. James Ryder Randall lamented the despot s heel of occupation by Union scum when he penned his poem Maryland, My Maryland in It was adopted as the official state song in The state s citizens witnessed numerous encounters between the Union and Confederate armies, the bloodiest of which took place on September 17, 1862 at Antietam Creek, near Sharpsburg in Washington County. Nearly four thousand men died in a single day and another seventeen thousand were wounded. An act of the Maryland legislature emancipated all slaves in the state on November 1, v

6 The B & O Railroad opened the Deer Park Hotel in the mountains of Garrett County near Oakland on July 4, 1873, one of five such hostelries erected by the Railroad. It was a popular retreat for the rich and famous, including two U.S. Presidents. Business dropped off after 1900 and the hotel eventually closed in the 1930s. A new influx of vacationers began coming to the County following the damming of Deep Creek Lake in 1923, and the lake and surrounding area is now a popular boating and skiing destination. The first hotel built in the Atlantic Ocean beach resort of Ocean City opened on July 4, 1875, boasting four hundred rooms. On summer weekends today, the population of Ocean City swells to 300,000 or more, temporarily making it the second most populous city in the state. Johns Hopkins University opened on October 3, 1876 in Baltimore; its health care counterpart, The Johns Hopkins Hospital, was dedicated on May 7, Maryland and Virginia watermen battled over access to oyster beds in the Chesapeake Bay during the Oyster Wars of Modern Times: The 20 th Century The census of 1900 counted 1.2 million people residing in Maryland, of which 700,000 lived in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties. Laws banning child labor under the age of twelve, enacting workmen s compensation relief, and making school attendance compulsory were all passed in The 1904 legislative session brought the enactment of a Jim Crow public accommodations law. Much of Baltimore s business district was destroyed in a fire on February 7 8, The first bookmobile service in the country, using a horse-drawn coach, was established in 1907 in Washington County. Camp Meade, one of sixteen cantonments for World War I draftees, was erected in Anne Arundel County near Odenton in Today, Fort Meade is the home of a number of military and intelligence services as diverse as the National Security Agency and the U.S. Army Field Band. The first testing center for the U.S. Army was also established in 1917 at Aberdeen Proving Ground on sixty-nine thousand acres of farmland and swamp in Harford County. Nearly three thousand County residents and twelve thousand farm animals had to be relocated to make way for the center. Figure 3: The blue crab, Maryland State Crustacean Maryland s female citizens were permitted to vote for the first time in elections held on November 2, Commercial radio broadcasts from Baltimore began in In 1925, both the Maryland and Virginia legislatures passed laws protecting the blue crab, the signature state delicacy, whose population had declined sharply due to over-harvesting. The Great Depression that began in 1929 cut the state s per capita income nearly in half by Incomes would not return to pre- Depression levels until after World War II. Construction of the planned community of Greenbelt, a New Deal project in Prince Georges County featuring cooperative housing and stores for low to middle income families, began in A state income tax was imposed in vi

7 The first Liberty Ship, the Patrick Henry, was launched at Baltimore s Bethlehem-Fairfield Shipyard on September 27, 1941, less than three months before the Japanese attack on the U.S. Navy fleet anchored at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on December 7. The Fairfield Shipyard built three hundred eighty-four of these workhorse ships, employing nearly forty-five thousand workers at the peak of production. Andrews Field (now Andrews Air Force Base) was constructed in 1942 in Prince Georges County along with the Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. A work or fight law was enacted in 1943, requiring every able-bodied, sane male person between the ages of 16 and 60 residing in certain counties to join the armed services or actively take up an occupation. Commercial television stations in Baltimore and Washington, D.C. began broadcasting in A state sales tax was implemented effective July 1 of that year. Slot machines were legalized in Southern Maryland in Their rapid proliferation quickly earned the region the nickname Little Vegas. Figure 4: Chesapeake Bay Bridge, looking east toward Kent Island President Truman dedicated Friendship International Airport, now BWI-Thurgood Marshall Airport, on June 24, Scheduled air service commenced one month later. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge, a 4.3 mile span from Sandy Point in Anne Arundel County on the Bay s Western Shore to Kent Island on its Eastern Shore, opened on July 31, The bridge is the gateway for millions of summer vacationers anxious to Reach the Beach in Ocean City and other coastal resorts. The St. Louis Browns baseball team moved to Baltimore in 1954 and changed its name to the Baltimore Orioles. The Baltimore Harbor Tunnel opened on November 30, 1957, allowing travelers to bypass the city in return for a modest toll. On December 28, 1958, the Baltimore Colts football team won the National Football League championship, defeating the New York Giants in The Greatest Game Ever Played. Legislation mandating a phase-out of slot machines by July 1, 1968 was enacted in 1963, following years of complaints from Southern Marylanders that gambling was ruining the local economy and destroying families. On June 11 of the same year, race riots broke out in the town of Cambridge on the Eastern Shore. National Guard troops were ordered in and remained on duty there until May Racial tensions spilled over into rioting once again in Cambridge in July The planned community of Columbia, announced by shopping center developer James Rouse in 1963, opened on June 21, Nearly 100,000 people now reside in Columbia, which sprawls over fourteen thousand acres of former farmland in Howard County. The assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. on April 4, 1968 sparked several days of rioting in Baltimore City. Five thousand soldiers from Fort Bragg joined thousands of Maryland National Guard troops and State Police officers in quelling the violence. vii

8 Protests against the war in Viet Nam flared at the University of Maryland in College Park in the spring of On May 15, 1972, Governor George Wallace of Alabama was shot and wounded in the Laurel Shopping Center parking lot following a presidential campaign appearance. Spiro Agnew, U.S. Vice President and former Baltimore County Executive and Governor of Maryland, resigned his office in 1973 after being indicted on charges of tax evasion. His successor as County Executive, Dale Anderson, was convicted in 1974 on charges of extortion, conspiracy and tax evasion. Agnew s successor as Governor, Marvin Mandel, was convicted in 1977 of mail fraud and racketeering (later overturned). The Calvert Cliffs Nuclear Power Plant in Calvert County began operating in May Camp David, the presidential retreat located near Thurmont in Frederick County, was the site of secret negotiations among President Jimmy Carter, Egypt s Anwar Sadat and Menachem Begin of Israel for thirteen days in September The agreements forged between Egypt and Israel became known as the Camp David Accords. Harborplace, which opened on July 2, 1980, was another project by Columbia developer Rouse that replaced decaying buildings along Baltimore s Inner Harbor waterfront with a modern shopping and eating complex. On the night of March 29, 1984 a convoy of moving vans left the Baltimore Colts training facility in Owings Mills and moved the team to Indianapolis. The city regained an NFL franchise for the 1996 season when the Browns moved there from Cleveland and renamed themselves the Baltimore Ravens. The first of several Chesapeake Bay Agreements was signed on December 9, Subsequent Agreements were executed in December 1987, September 1993 and June Signatories to the Agreements included the states of Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia, along with the District of Columbia and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The purpose of the Agreements was to address the deteriorating condition of the Bay and take the necessary steps to restore and protect the Bay s resources. Recent Events and Beyond: The 21 st Century Figure 5: A view of Baltimore s Inner Harbor, showing the Pratt Street Pavilion at Harborplace. The 2000 census reported a state population of 5.3 million with 3.6 million people living in Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince Georges Counties. Sixty Marylanders died in the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 against the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in northern Virginia. Rumors swirled during the day that an attack against Baltimore s own World Trade Center was imminent. After the building was evacuated, the rumors proved to be false. Legislation introduced in 2003 and again in 2004 sanctioning the installation of slot machines at selected horse racing tracks in Maryland was defeated. In 2005, the U.S. Defense Department announced a new wave of military base relocations and closings viii

9 (BRAC). Military facilities in Maryland, including Aberdeen Proving Ground, Fort Meade, the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda and Andrews Air Force Base, are expected to gain more than nine thousand jobs once BRAC 2005 is fully implemented. The Maryland General Assembly and the Annapolis City Council passed resolutions in 2007 apologizing for the historical role that the state and the city played in perpetuating the institution of slavery. THE MARYLAND HISTORICAL NOTES WILL BE UPDATED PERIODICALLY. ix

10 II. POST OFFICES IN MARYLAND British Colonial Period (1634 to 1775) The conveyance of correspondence in early colonial times was made through private arrangements between the sender and a third party, usually the captain of a ship sailing for a port that was at or near the letter s destination. Inland roads were nonexistent. Delivery of a letter to the intended recipient was far from certain. No post offices or organized postal system existed until 1639 when the Massachusetts colony designated a tavern in Boston as the central point for receiving and dispatching mail between the colony and England. The first inter-colonial post began operation on January 1, 1673, running between Boston and New York. The earliest mention of mail delivery to Maryland from the northern colonies is in July 1683, when a weekly post was established in Philadelphia. The cost to send a letter to the Maryland colony via this post was set at six pence. King William III of England granted Thomas Neale a patent in 1692 to operate a postal service in the colonies. In 1695, a proposition was presented to the Maryland House of Delegates by the royal court to join the British colonial post; however, the proposition seems not to have been considered. Neale s deputy postmaster general in the colonies, Andrew Hamilton, reported in 1699 that extending the colonial post into Maryland and Virginia was not worth the effort because it would involve the exchange of fewer than a hundred letters a year between the northern and southern colonies. Figure 1: US stamp commemorating the colonial postrider Neale s patent was repurchased by the Crown in 1707 and the postal service in the colonies was folded into the British Post Office by an act of Parliament in The British colonial post was eventually extended into Maryland and Virginia in Postmasters were appointed and routine mail schedules established. By 1727, postriders plied various mail routes on both sides of the Chesapeake Bay. Elk Ridge Landing in Anne Arundel County (now Elkridge in Howard County) was an important stop on the north-south post road running from Maine to Virginia. The colonists increasing resistance to British rule fueled a distrust of the British colonial post, leading William Goddard of Baltimore to devise an alternative postal system. Goddard, a former postmaster and printer of the Maryland Journal and Baltimore Advertiser, announced in the Journal on July 2, 1774 that his plan for a new service extending throughout the colonies had the support of the Friends of Freedom. The Second Continental Congress meeting in Philadelphia in 1775 generally adopted Goddard s plan, but on July 26 chose Benjamin Franklin to be Postmaster General and to establish the rival colonial post. The colonists ceased using the British colonial post and actively disrupted its services, effectively forcing it to discontinue operations on December 25, x

11 Postal markings from the British colonial period are known from ten Maryland towns. The earliest marking reported is from Annapolis, a simple straight line hand stamp reading Ann., on a folded letter datelined All markings from this period are rare. American Congress and Confederation Period ( ) The first post office established by the Provincial Congress of Maryland was at Annapolis on December 5, Fourteen post offices were operating by the time Maryland was granted statehood on September 22, Postal markings from this period are scarce to very scarce. All of the offices shown below except for Harford remain in operation today. Figure 2: The fourteen post offices operating when Maryland became the seventh state Post office County Notes Annapolis Anne Arundel Baltimore Baltimore Bladensburg Prince Georges Charlestown Cecil Chester Mills Queen Anne s now Centreville Chestertown Kent Fredericktown Frederick now Frederick Georgetown Montgomery now in District of Columbia Georgetown Cross Roads Kent now Galena Harford Harford discontinued 1832 Head of Elk Cecil now Elkton Susquehannah Harford now Havre de Grace Talbot Court House Talbot now Easton Upper Marlborough Prince Georges now Upper Marlboro Statehood Period (1788 present) Maryland s network of post offices expanded rapidly after statehood, growing to ninety offices by The expansion continued throughout the 19 th century, peaking at more than thirteen hundred offices across the state as of November 22, 1899, not counting the dozens of postal stations that had been established throughout Baltimore City. With about 1.2 million residents, there was an average of one post office for every nine hundred people. It wasn t long, however, before the number of offices began to decline. The successful introduction of rural free delivery (RFD) service in Carroll County in October 1896 eventually convinced postal authorities to close fifty-six offices in or near the county on a single day, December 19, As RFD service spread throughout the state, the number continued to decline sharply, dropping below one thousand active offices by US Postal Service efforts to streamline and centralize operations have reduced the number of post offices operating in Maryland to around five hundred forty in In addition, the proliferation of competing services for shipping packages, the explosive growth of electronic messaging, and the ability to purchase postage on-line and at outlets other than a post office xi

12 have also contributed to the decline. On average today, there is one post office for every ten thousand Maryland residents. Viewed another way, the number of post offices serving 5.3 million residents in 2007 is about the same as the number of offices that served about 800,000 residents in Chart I graphically illustrates the changes that have occurred. The rapid growth of the network during the 19 th century followed by its steady decline during the 20 th century is easily seen, with the number of discontinued post offices outstripping the number of active post offices beginning in the first two decades of the 20 th century. Chart I: Active and Discontinued Post Offices in Maryland from MARYLAND - ACTIVE AND DISCONTINUED POST OFFICES 2500 NUMBER OF POST OFFICES Active POs Cumul Disc POs YEAR xii

13 The highly centralized mail handling operations in Maryland today means that nearly all mail deposited in a mailbox or in a mail slot at a local post office will be postmarked in one of the eight postal facilities listed in the table below, depending on where and when it is mailed: Facility Location Service area Baltimore P&DC Baltimore City Baltimore City; Baltimore, Harford and Cecil Counties; parts of Anne Arundel, Carroll and Howard Counties Cumberland Main Post Office Cumberland Allegany and Garrett Counties Eastern Shore P&DF Easton Kent, Queen Anne s, Caroline, Dorchester, Worcester, Somerset, Talbot and Wicomico Counties Easton Easton Same as above Frederick and Washington Frederick P&DF Frederick Counties; parts of Carroll and Howard Counties; weekend mail from Allegany and Garrett Counties Southern MD P&DC Capitol Heights Parts of Prince Georges, Anne Arundel, Howard, Charles, Calvert and Saint Mary s Counties Suburban MD P&DC Gaithersburg Montgomery County; parts of Prince Georges County Waldorf DDU Waldorf Parts of Charles, Calvert and Saint Mary s Counties The facility name in the postmark may or may not include the facility designation. For example, the Baltimore P&DC postmark simply reads Baltimore MD. The short list above may get even shorter in the future depending on the outcome of an evaluation by the Postal Service of the feasibility of consolidating the operations of the Easton and Waldorf facilities into one or more of the six remaining facilities. Discontinued post offices Chart I shows that more than two thousand post offices that once operated in Maryland are now closed, about half of which closed before the end of the 19 th century. Some of these offices opened and closed multiple times before ceasing operation entirely. Some were short-lived; the post office at Aix in Prince Georges County operated for only eight months in Others served the local community for many years; the Uniontown post office in Carroll County was established in 1815 and remained active until 1998, first as an independent office, and then as a rural station of the Westminster post office. A discussion of discontinued post offices naturally leads to the question, How hard is it to find postal history from these offices? Not surprisingly, the short answer is It depends. The supply of material from discontinued Maryland post offices ranges from plentiful to rarely if ever seen. Many factors influence the retention and survival of covers and cards, including attrition over time and collector demand, causing supply to be rather uneven and not altogether linked to a particular post office s longevity. The majority of the discontinued xiii

14 offices were located in rural areas where mail volume was low, thus placing an inherent limitation on the potential supply of material in the marketplace today. La Posta Publications has published a series of postal history books that list operating dates of all U.S. post offices along with a scarcity index for each. The index uses a ten point scale of 0 to 9, where an index value of 0 is assigned to post offices currently operating. Progressively higher values are assigned to discontinued post offices denoting increasing degrees of perceived scarcity. The scarcity index values assigned to each state s post offices were developed based on input from dealers and collectors familiar with that state s postal history. The scarcity index value is best thought of as a quantification of the relative difficulty of finding any postmark from a given post office. The index value of 0 assigned to operating post offices means that it should be relatively easy to obtain an example of a postmark from those offices. Postmarks from discontinued post offices with index values of 1 to 3 are considered common to somewhat scarce; with index values in the range of 4 to 6, scarce to very scarce; and with index values of 7 to 9, extremely scarce to rare or unknown. Chart II plots the average scarcity index for the discontinued post offices of each Maryland County and Baltimore City, arranged from lowest to highest, along with the number of discontinued offices. The overall average scarcity index for all Maryland discontinued offices is 4.1, meaning that in general, postmarks from these offices are relatively hard to find. Chart II: Discontinued post offices and relative scarcity by county MARYLAND - DISCONTINUED POST OFFICES AND RELATIVE SCARCITY BY COUNTY POST OFFICES Baltimore City Prince Georges Calvert Howard Dorchester Garrett Charles Wicomico Baltim ore Anne Arundel Caroline Carroll Worcester DISC POs Saint Mary's Washington COUNTY SCARCITY INDEX Montgomery Somerset Harford Talbot Frederick Cecil Queen Annes Allegany Kent AVERAGE RELATIVE SCARCITY INDEX xiv

15 Summary Approximately two thousand Maryland communities have had a local post office in the postcolonial period since the first office opened in Annapolis in December Some larger communities had or have more than one, with local branches or stations supporting the main office. A complete collection featuring one example from each community s post office, including where applicable each different name, period of operation, movement between counties, temporary special event stations, and any branches or stations, would number somewhere around forty-five hundred to five thousand items. Expanding that collection to include all of the different postmarks and cancellations used over time by each of those facilities would likely push that number well above twenty-five thousand items. The Maryland county postal history catalogs document the pursuit of these postal history artifacts. Assembling a complete collection is unlikely; however, the search rewards the collector with a broader appreciation of Maryland s communities and their histories even without encountering a relic from their past. xv

16 III. UNDERSTANDING THE POSTAL HISTORY CATALOG The Maryland Postal History Catalog is presented by county. The following notes explain what information can be found in the county catalogs and how it is structured. DATA ELEMENTS Maryland is organized into twenty-three counties plus the City of Baltimore, which has been a separate jurisdiction since County boundaries have been fixed since 1918 when the final demarcation of Baltimore City s borders was established. The following data are included for each county post office: Dates of operation All known postal markings with early and late dates of reported use Illustrations of all known postal markings where available Description of each marking s distinguishing design elements A sample listing for the Annapolis Junction post office is displayed below, which shows how the data are presented within the catalogs. Annapolis Junction Dates of operation Notes 1844 Aug Nov 29 Est. in Anne Arundel County; moved to Howard County 1871 Nov Oct 7 Howard County; moved to Anne Arundel County 1919 Oct Sep 29 Anne Arundel County; moved to Howard County 1921 Sep 29 Howard County HAND CANCELS DESCRIPTION EARLY USE LATE USE 4-bar cancel type F/1 (var. 1) 1950 Feb 7 Dial: 32 mm, no comma after PO, lettering in upper half of dial Cancel: 4 bars, left ends curved (Willett-Thompson Collection) 1950 Feb 7 Two separate tables are presented for each post office. The first two columns of the table directly underneath the post office name display the dates during which the post office operated. A blank cell in the second column means that the office is currently operating. Many post offices have multiple start and end dates, reflective of changes that have occurred over time. In some instances, the periods of operation are continuous; for others, there are breaks when the post office was closed and later reopened. Explanatory notes regarding all such changes are provided in the third column. In this example, there are four distinct, continuous periods of operation for the Annapolis Junction post office. The notes explain xvi

17 that the office was originally established in Anne Arundel County in 1844, moved to Howard County in 1871, moved back to Anne Arundel County in 1919, and moved once again to Howard County in 1921, where it remains an active post office today. Other information that may be found in the Notes column include name changes, reclassifications, and the post office from where a community received its mail service after its own post office was closed. The second table beneath the post office name heading lists the known postal markings from that office. An illustration is provided if available, in approximate actual size unless noted otherwise, along with descriptive information and reported early and late dates of use for each marking. The example shown here is a 4-bar hand cancel applied at Annapolis Junction on February 7, No other uses of this particular marking have been reported yet, thus there is no entry in the Late Use column. Attribution for the source of the illustration is given where required or desired. Please see the section Postal Markings that follows for additional information on the presentation of postal markings in the postal history catalogs. Illustrations Cancel illustrations feature markings from actual covers or cards when available. This presentation has been chosen in order to provide the user with an example of how a given cancel may actually appear when it is encountered. The descriptive information provided along with the illustration should allow most if not all cancels to be positively identified. Colors If no color is specified in the Description column of the postal markings table, the marking is only known in black. If the marking is known only in a color or colors other than black, those colors are listed. For a marking that has been reported in both black and one or more other colors, all of the colors including black are listed. GENERAL ORGANIZATION Post offices are listed alphabetically. Some post offices have changed names over time. Each name by which an office is known or is reported to have operated is listed. Occasionally, town names on postmarking devices are misspelled or differ from the official spelling used by the Postal Service. Listings are included for these alternate spellings that point to the correct town name. Listings have also been provided for town abbreviations used in postmarks from which the full town name may not be obvious. A community s postal history is intrinsically linked to, and often reflects, its local history. As a community evolves, so too does its postal history. With that historical linkage in mind, each community s postal history is presented intact. Postal markings, therefore, are arranged chronologically under the current name of the community s post office or the last name under which it operated, regardless of previous changes in name or spelling. There are listings for all of the obsolete names and alternate spellings that point the user to the consolidated postal history. For example, the community and post office known today as Jessup has also been called Pierceland, Hooversville, Jessup s Cut, Jessup s and xvii

18 Jessups. All of the obsolete names are listed and direct the user to Jessup, at which the complete history of the postal markings associated with that community can be found. TERMINOLOGY The standard terminology of the postal history hobby is used throughout the Maryland postal history catalog. The identification of postmark and cancellation types follows the type charts of published studies, unless no such study is known. Varieties within a postmark or cancellation type are noted as (var. 1), (var. 2), etc. Acronyms have been avoided unless in common usage outside of the postal history hobby (e.g., RFD for Rural Free Delivery ). Descriptions of key design elements have been provided to assist with differentiating similar postal markings. The postmark types assigned by D. Homer Kendall in his book Maryland Postal History are noted where applicable as Kendall type. Unlike other type charts, the Kendall types are specific to markings recorded from Maryland post offices and do not have universal application. Maryland postal historians commonly refer to the Kendall types, thus necessitating their inclusion here. Please refer to Section IV Sources Used for a complete list of the reference books consulted. POSTAL MARKINGS Postal markings for each community are grouped in the categories and sequence listed below. Not all categories apply to every community s post office. The postal markings within each category are listed chronologically by the earliest date of use reported. Illustrations are provided where available. Hand cancels and markings Hand cancels are postmarks and/or cancellations applied by hand-held devices or in manuscript and are the typical historical postal markings found for most post offices. They are seldom encountered in the mail today unless requested by the sender at a postal counter. Machine cancels and markings At least two hundred thirty-five post offices in Maryland are known to have used mail cancelling machines for some period of time. Equipment from more than thirteen different manufacturers was eventually deployed throughout the state, beginning as early as 1876 in Baltimore. With the transition to centralized processing at large facilities equipped with high-speed sorting and cancelling machines, most if not all of the cancelling machines installed at local post offices are no longer in service. Received markings Some post offices used a separate postal marking to document their receipt of incoming mail. The markings include the word Received or an abbreviation such as Rec d as one of the design elements. The received markings were not supposed to be used as cancellers, but occasional uses as such can be found. Received markings are no longer in use. xviii

19 Special purpose markings Post offices often use different marking devices when conducting business other than the routine processing of items placed in the mail. Among these services are issuing postal money orders, processing of General Delivery mail, and handling of registered mail. The special purpose markings contain wording that specifies the nature of the service provided, such as Reg. Sec. (Registry Section) for registered mail. As with received markings, special purpose markings are not to be used as cancellers. Rural free delivery (RFD) cancels Mail carriers servicing RFD routes in the early 1900s used hand held devices or manuscript markings to postmark mail picked up on their routes. The hand cancels typically show the name of the post office out of which the rural carrier operated. Manuscript markings vary widely, ranging from a simple scribble to cancel the stamp(s) to more elaborate markings showing date, post office and RFD route number. Most manuscript RFD markings are what are called down the line markings, meaning the marking was applied by the carrier to mail picked up at one residence that was addressed to a residence further along the route. The carrier cancelled the stamp and delivered the mail without bringing it back to the post office. In the years immediately following the implementation of RFD service, it was not unusual for such items to be addressed to a town where the post office had been closed, a RFD route having replaced the town s local post office. Down the line RFD markings addressed in this manner are shown under the discontinued post office. Those addressed to an operating post office and RFD route number are shown under the operating post office. Named, lettered and numbered branches and stations Larger towns and cities often established branches or stations of the main post office for their patrons convenience. In addition, formerly independent post offices were sometimes reclassified as branches or stations of larger nearby offices. The change was generally made to consolidate services and cut costs. Reclassification also occurred as the result of a neighboring jurisdiction annexing the community, as happened twice to post offices in Baltimore County and Anne Arundel County when the Baltimore City borders were redrawn. Many branches and stations were simply assigned a letter or number, e.g. Station A or Branch 1 ; others were given names or retained the names under which they had previously operated. Please see the section entitled Post Offices That Operated in More Than One County for additional information. Station agent markings Station agent markings were applied at the local railroad station using a hand stamp intended to validate train tickets rather than to postmark the mail. In many of the small towns from which these markings are seen it s likely that the station ticket agent was also the town s postmaster, and that the post office and railroad station were located in the same building or in close proximity to each xix

20 other. The ticket dater was employed to postmark the mail either because it was handy or because the postmaster had not purchased a separate postmarking device. Transfer clerk markings Train stations in Baltimore and Cumberland housed postal facilities that were part of the Railway Mail Service, which operated the railroad post office (RPO) mail cars. The postal clerks in these facilities were responsible for the efficient transfer of mailbags between mail trains. The clerks also postmarked mail that was handed in or dropped in a mailbox at the station. The postmarks include the words Transfer Clerk or Transfer Office, usually abbreviated in some fashion. Transit markings Transit markings were required between about 1879 and 1913 to evidence receipt of mail pieces by distribution or separating post offices before the mail was forwarded on to its final destination. The markings were not used consistently. Specific postmarks for this purpose that include the word Transit are known only from Baltimore and Princess Anne. Streetcar post offices Five streetcar lines in Baltimore City operated mobile post offices aboard the trolleys at various times between 1895 and Special events stations A temporary postal station is sometimes set up at a local event to provide special cancellations commemorating the event. Envelopes or cards with event cachets may also be available at the postal station. Other Postmarks that do not fit into one of the categories above are listed and described as Other. POST OFFICES THAT OPERATED IN MORE THAN ONE COUNTY One of the challenges of reporting postal history by county is that some post offices have operated within the borders of different counties. There are three different scenarios in which movement between counties has occurred: The post office moved to a different physical location within a community that happened to cross a county border. A new county was formed that included the community where the post office was already in operation. The community was annexed by a neighboring jurisdiction. One example neatly illustrates the first two scenarios. The town of Ellicott s Mills (now Ellicott City) grew up around the Ellicott brothers grain milling operations on the east bank of the Patapsco River in Baltimore County, where the town s post office was established in The post office relocated west just across the river to neighboring Anne Arundel County in 1837, the same year that the Ellicotts lost their businesses during a national financial panic. There may have been some connection between the xx

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