Rhode Island Stampless Covers & Letters
1835 Letter from The Reverend William Clark
to his brother
The Reverend John Clark
- Rector of Grace Church in Providence. 

(Scroll Down for Explanation of Cover Markings, Background Info and Text of Letter)

This is the Yet another Stampless Folded Letter (SFL) in the collection that has what appears like the 181/2 cent rate established by Act of Congress on April 9, 1816, (effective May 1, 1816) for mail traveling between 150 and 400 miles. The Postal Act of March 3, 1825, (effective May 1, 1825) increased the zone rate for 150 to 400 miles to 183/4 cents. Judging from the handwriting of the script 183/4 on this cover; it appears that the same postal clerk applied all of these markings. As stated in the cases of the previously discussed covers, it is felt that the clerk knew what the correct rate was in 1835, (10 years after the 1825 rate change) and was simply lazy in his application of the mark. (The actual road distance between Providence and Rhode Island is approximately 174 miles which puts it in the 183/4 rate zone.) 
See: January 1, 1835 SFL from New York to Providence

The letter was sent from New York by Reverend William Clark on May 6, 1835 to his brother Reverend John A. Clark - Rector of Grace Church in Providence. The letter was sent in reply to a letter from John, in which he evidently had told brother William that he was traveling to New York and was looking for a hotel or place to stay. This letter was written in May, which was shortly before Reverend Clark departed Grace Church to assume the position of Rector at Saint Andrews Church in Philadelphia.

John Alonzo Clark was born in Pittsfield, Massachusetts in 1801. He graduated from Union College near Albany, New York in 1823 and after some additional training was confirmed as a Minister in the Episcopal Church on April 12, 1826.

The Reverend Clark was an evangelical preacher and his fiery sermons placed special emphasis on the inherent sinfulness of man and the necessity of conversion through faith and personal acceptance. Clark traveled extensively in his first years; preaching throughout New York, Pennsylvania and New England. He also took part in missionary work in western New York State. He quickly gained a reputation as a powerful and eloquent speaker and in 1829, he was asked to assume the position of Assistant Rector at Christ Church in New York City. 

Reverend Clark moved to Providence, Rhode Island in 1832 to become the Rector at Grace Church and in 1835 he left Providence to become Rector of Saint Andrew's Church in Philadelphia. He also joined the American Tract Society in that same year. During the mid-1830s, John's health had begun to fail. He took a European Sabbatical from 1837 to 1838 in hopes of recovering his health, but to no avail and he was forced to resign from Saint Andrews in 1843.

Reverend Clark died on November 27, 1843. During his lifetime, he was also the author of several noted works including; "The Pastor's Testimony" in 1835 and "Glimpses of the Old World" in 1838.

NOTE: A return address including the notation Reverend William A. Clark indicates that the writer; John's brother was also a church Pastor, but doesn't indicate which Church.


New York May 6th 1835

Dear Brother

                   Yours dated yesterday is just received and I hasten to say that we shall expect you to our house to breakfast on Tuesday night; 110 15 Ridge St. near to Grand St. Why in the world you should have doubted whether we had a bed for you, I don't know. You must explain the matter when you get here. We always have a prophet's bed, and yet (God be Praised) a little cake to set before him, so that you need be under no apprehensions in coming straight to the house and calculating to spend your nights with us. 
                   I have just received a letter from Mr. Gras and another from Peter dated April 30th from Geneva
(New York)
. They were to start on the 4th. - All well -

  Respects to all, -- 
  Truly Yours
Rev J A Clark  William A. Clark

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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