Rhode Island Stampless Covers & Letters
1800 Stampless Folded Letter Signed by Christopher Raymond Perry
(Father of Oliver Hazard Perry & Matthew Calbraith Perry)
To Cashier of the United States Branch Bank of New York
(Scroll Down for Complete Text of Letter & Historical Background)

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The letter is written and signed by Captain Christopher Raymond Perry and was sent to a branch of the United States Bank in New York concerning Bills of Lading and a large sum of money owed by Perry for which he promises payment via the next packet sailing to New York. 

The letter indicates that Bills of Lading were included with this letter. The cover and Bills of Lading with the postal markings (if present) were most likely on another sheet and not included with this item. The letter might have been sent via Packet from Newport to New York at the prevailing rate of 17 cents for mail traveling between 150 and 300 miles set by the Postal Act of March 2, 1799 or it might have been carried privately outside of the postal system by a fellow ship's captain.

The Text of the letter and a biography of Christopher Raymond Perry
follow below:


Newport July 28, 1800  


          You I Presume have in this received Bills of Lading for a considerable
amt. signed by me  --  The money will be sent to N. Y. by the next packet,
which will sail in a few days --  

Your Obedient Servant,
Chris. Raymond Perry

The Cashier of the
U.S. Branch Bank
Of New York


The Perry's were of Quaker stock and the first of the family to make the voyage to America was Edward Perry, who arrived in the Plymouth Colony in 1639. Edward and his sons Samuel and Benjamin remained in constant trouble with the Puritan authorities of the Plymouth Colony and in 1704 the family moved to Rhode Island.

Christopher Raymond Perry was born on December 4, 1760 in South Kingston, Rhode Island to "Judge" Freeman Perry (The son of Benjamin Perry) and Mercy Hazard. In 1777 Chris joined a local quasi-military organization known as the "Kingston Reds." During his membership in the "Reds," Perry is said to have shot and killed the Tory farmer, Simeon Tucker.

In January of the year following the killing of Simeon, Christopher signed on as a seaman on the Privateer "Yankee" out of Bristol, Rhode Island after which, he shipped on the Privateer "Mifflin." The "Mifflin" was captured by a British Cruiser and young Chris was sent to the British Prison Hulk "Jersey" in New York Harbor. (The British Prison Hulks were virtual death traps and many Americans died while imprisoned on board these rotting, disease infested hell-holes. It is estimated that over six thousand prisoners died on the "Jersey" during the Revolution.) Christopher eventually escaped and turned up at his father's house in South Kingston half-dead from starvation and fever. After recovering his strength, Christopher shipped out once again, this time on the Man of  War "Trumbull" under Captain Nicholson.

The "Trumbull" fought one of the bloodiest battles of the Revolution against the British Man of War "Watt." Both ships had to return to their home ports for repairs and Christopher, not waiting for his ship to be repaired, shipped on another Privateer in 1780.  The ship was captured in the Irish Sea and Christopher was sent as a prisoner to Newry in Ireland. American Prisoners in Ireland were granted parole and had free access to move around. Christopher became friends with William Bailey Wallace (of the famous Scottish Clan) and through him made the acquaintance of his future wife, Sarah Wallace

Perry broke Parole in 1782, shipping on a British Merchantman out of Cork bound for the island of Saint Thomas. He then shipped on an American Bark for Charleston, South Carolina. By the time Christopher arrived back in the colonies; he found that the war had ended and he made his way to Philadelphia and shipped aboard a vessel sailing for Ireland as First Mate.  Much to the surprise of Chris, he found that Sarah Wallace was one of three passengers awaiting passage to Philadelphia. Christopher and Sarah were married in Philadelphia at the home of Dr. Rush, (her guardian) and then returned to the home of his father, Freeman Perry in South Kingston.

In 1798, when war threatened with France, Christopher was appointed as Post Captain and sent to Warren, Rhode Island to supervise the construction and take command of the frigate "General Greene." He sailed to Haiti and assisted Toussaint L'Ouverture in his assault on the fort at Jacmel. From 1800 to 1808 he sailed as Captain on various merchant vessels and in 1808 he was made Collector of Customs for the port of Newport, Rhode Island.

Christopher and Sarah had eight children; Oliver Hazard Perry, Anna Maria Perry, Raymond Henry Jones Perry, Sarah Wallace Perry, Matthew Calbraith Perry, Jane Tweedy Perry, Nathaniel Hazard Perry, and James Alexander Perry. All five sons followed in their father's footsteps and entered the Naval Service. Two of Christopher's sons; Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry  and Commodore Matthew Calbraith Perry,  were famous Naval Heroes.

Christopher Raymond Perry died on June 1, 1818 in Newport, Rhode Island.

See:  Oliver Hazard Perry $1 Issue of 1894 with Bio
See: Matthew Perry First Day Cover with Bio

RI Historical Society
Stampless I
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Brown & Ives Letters
The Hazard Family Letters
Joseph Tillinghast
Free Franked Letters
DeWolf Family Letters

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