Rhode Island Postal History - Cancel Varieties
October 16, 1882 Wesson Type II Cancel
(Time on Bottom)
Bereavement Cover with Carrier Cancel on reverse

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The Wesson - Time on Bottom, (TOB) cancels were named for Mr. Walter D. Wesson of Providence, RI, who invented a new type of duplex postmarking device. The device showed the Month, Day, Year, and Time, and could be changed by removing and inserting slugs in a holder on the canceling devices handle.

Wesson Type 2 Cancels were in use by many cities during the Banknote Era. The Type 2 dial places the city name in an arc at the top of the dial as shown above. The Type 1 Dial was only used in Worcester, Massachusetts, which also lays claim to the Earliest Known Usage, (EKU) for a Wesson Cancel on July 2, 1881.

Note the Black Borders on the face of the cover and the black borders on the reverse side separations. This is a bereavement envelope. It was a common practice of the times to place black borders on bereavement covers. The sender was most likely informing the recipient of a death in the family or sending his respects to one of his parishioners.

The letter is addressed to Mr. Robbinson Coleman at the Treasury Department in Washington, D.C. and is from the Reverend B. Shaw in Providence, Rhode Island. The letter received a carrier cancel and a Washington D.C. received cancel on October 17, but was not picked up by Coleman until the 21st. There is also a penciled indication on the face of the cover that Mr. Coleman worked in the 2nd auditor's office.

The carrier cancel indicates that the cover was hand delivered to the offices of the recipient. This was not a usual practice of the time and a fee of 1 cent was generally charged for this type of delivery. Most postal customers of the time picked up and dropped off mail at the Post Office.

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