Rhode Island Postal History 1846-1900
1850 James A Potter - Providence to Russell & Bigelow - New York
Five Cent Benjamin Franklin Issue - Red-Brown - Scott  #1
Folded Letter Mailed on September 18, 1850 
(Scroll Down for History, Background Information & Letter Text)

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SEE ALSO: 1848 Providence, RI to Newton, MA Letter for further information and history of the 1847 stamp issues.
This cover from James A. Potter - Providence, RI to E. T. & J. H. Russell & Bigelow, Attorneys, in New York is franked with the Five-Cent Red-Brown Benjamin Franklin Issue of 1847 - Scott #1. The stamp is tied with a red grid and there is a matching red Providence CDS. The cover has been signed on the reverse by Mr. Ashbrook, the authority on that issue and is listed on page 739 of "The United States 1847 Issue: A Cover Census" by Thomas Alexander and published by the U.S. Philatelic Classics Society, Inc. It was purchased by the previous owner on March 24, 1994 at a Regency Philatelic Auction. The Scott Catalog lists this stamp on cover at $700.00, however an extremely fine copy with four ample margins, such as this one on cover generally fetches a premium above catalog.

VIEW:  Blow-Up of the Stamp Showing the 4 Margins

I found three James A. Potters listed for Providence that fit this time period, however two of them would have been in their twenties; one was a jeweler and the other a Packet Boat Agent. The best fit and most likely James A. Potter who penned the letter above follows:

James A. Potter was born in Providence, Rhode Island on March 26, 1815 to Earl H. and Hannah Frothingham Potter. He married Sarah Abbot (date unknown) and their children were James A. Jr., Earl H., Mary, Sarah, Laura, and Imogene. He died on June 21, 1872. In 1838 James founded James A Potter & Co. The company manufactured and sold Yellow Pine Lumber at their mill on Westminster Street. He engaged in this business until his death in 1872, at which time his sons James A. Potter, Jr. and Earl H. Potter assumed control of the company.

The Complete Letter Text Follows Below:

Providence Sept 18th 1850

Messrs E. T. & J. H. Russell & Bigelow
                                                                        Your favor  of the 16th Inst
is at hand. I would now say that I wish to have the depositions of the 
following named parties in New York taken to use as evidence in the
Morland case as they can not leave their business to give their evidence
personally before the court and as I shall be going to New York the
last of this week, I wish to you to forward to me the necessary documents
& prepare to use me in obtaining their depositions, if any there are and
at your earliest convenience as I may go on Friday evening.
                          Messrs Howland & Asprinwall  }
                          "  "  " Stafford, Tileston & Co  }  New York
                          "  "  " Mason, Thompson & Co  }
are the parties referred to above and the last, Messrs Mason, Thompson
& Co are the parties the draft may draw upon --
                          I have talked with all the parties about the case and
they are of the most respectable Houses in New York, their testimony
can but have some weight & tend to convince the jury of the justices
of my claim.
                          Please let me hear from you at your earliest convenience.

                                                                              Very Respectfully
                                                                                        Your Obed Servt
                                                                               James A. Potter
                                                                               per R.M.P.

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