Letter with the Overland Mail from San Francisco to New York 1859
Postal stationary U18 of the USA. Mailed from San Francisco to New York, postmarked in San Francisco on September 5, 1859. No other postmarks present.
Handwritten annotation "Per overlandmail via Losangeles" and in pencil "Rec.d Oct 1(?)".
On September 16, 1857, the Postmaster General signed a six-year contract with a consortium (Overland Mail Company),
led by John Butterfield as president, for a mail route from St. Louis to San Francisco. This route, No. 12578, ran south, began
at St. Louis and at Memphis, joined at Fort Smith, and ran through Fort Belknap, El Paso, Tucson, Fort Yuma, Los Angeles, Fort Tejon,
Visalia to San Francisco. The contract went into effect on September 15, 1858. This mail route is also known as the "Butterfield Overland Mail."
[Correction]: here, I had mentioned the outbreak of the Civil War as the reason for the relocation of the route of the "Butterfield Overland Mail".
This is not correct.
According to the book "The Overland Mail 1819-1869" (Chapter IX) by LeRoy R. Hafen, according to which, after long debates, a compromise was reached
which met with the approval of the House of Representatives and the Senate. This "Post Office Appropriation Bill" became law on March 2, 1861.
It states that the route of the "Butterfied Overland Mail" (route number 12578) will be terminated no later than July 1, 1861, and will be used as a new
route via the central route, via Salt Lake City.
Due to the fact that on March 1, 1861 seven states had passed secession ordinances and a southern confederacy had been formed,
this "transfer" was only accelerated.[End of Correction]
On the San Francisco postmark date, a stagecoach of this Overland Mail left San Francisco. According to the timetable, the trip took about 24 days to St. Louis.
Unfortunately, there is no arrival date noted for this trip. With the travel time of about 24 days, the letter should have reached St. Louis on September 29.
From there, the mail was taken by rail to New York. According to the handwritten note in pencil, it reached New York on October 1.
Postage of 10 cents was correct from April 1st, 1855 for a distance over 3,000 miles. The prepayment was compulsory.
"Mails of the Westward Expansion 1803 to 1861", Steven C. Walske/Richard C. Frajola