Rhode Island Stampless Covers & Letters
Free Frank Senator John Hopkins Clarke (Signed) - December 1851
Mailed to E. R. Potter in South Kingstown, RI
(Scroll Down for Background Information and Senator Clarke Bio)

In Script at Top  Right: Free J. H. Clarke USS (United States Senate)

This cover could have been included under the  "Cancellations - Free Franking" section, however it did not become compulsory to pre-pay mail until April 1, 1855, thus this letter even without the "Franking" privilege, could have been sent stampless, although regular U.S. postage stamps were available starting in 1847.

John Hopkins Clarke was born on April 1, 1789 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. While he was still quite young; John's family moved to Providence, Rhode Island where he received instruction from a private tutor until entering Brown University. He graduated from Brown in 1809 and began further studies in the field of law.  He was admitted to the Rhode Island State Bar and opened a private law practice at Providence, RI in 1812.

Clarke served as Clerk of the Rhode Island Supreme Court beginning in 1813 and ran a distillery in Cranston until 1824. In 1824, he switched to cotton manufacturing. He was elected to the State House of  Representatives in 1836 and again 1845.

As a member of the Whig Party, John H. Clarke was elected to the United States Senate on March 4, 1847 and served until 1853. After completing his term of office in the Senate, Clarke returned to cotton manufacturing.

John Hopkins Clarke died in Providence, Rhode Island on November 3, 1870 and is buried in the old North Burial Ground.

RI Historical Society
Stampless I
Stampless II

Stampless III
Stampless IV
Stampless V
Stampless VI
Brown & Ives Letters
The Hazard Family Letters
Joseph Tillinghast
Free Franked Letters
DeWolf Family Letters

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