Rhode Island Stampless Covers & Letters
April 15, 1833 SFL Pawtucket to East Greenwich, RI

**1 of only 2 known Pawtucket Steamboat cancels**
Letter requests information on Granting of Liquor Licenses

(Scroll Down for Background Information, History & Full Text of Letter)

The Stampless Folded Letter (SFL) above was sent to Albert C. Greene in East Greenwich, RI on April 15, 1833 from John Gardner in Pawtucket, RI. The Cover bears a faint Pawtucket April 15 CDS. There is a black script 6 at upper right indicating 6 cents due. This rate was set by the Postal Act of April 9, 1816 (effective May 1, 1816) which set the rate for mail traveling less than 30 miles at 6 cents.

There is also a straight-line (black) steamboat marking just to the left of the rate. This steamboat marking is listed in the American Stampless Cover Catalog, Volume II as being used only in 1833 and in both red and black. It measures 30x3 millimeters.

The steamboat marking is believed by the dealer and a previous owner to have been applied in error. Under a strong magnifying glass, a faint line can be seen to have been penned through the marking. The previous owner stated, that he did not believe the Pawtucket Post Office would have sent a letter to East Greenwich via a "non-contract" steamboat. However, Pawtucket sits on the Seekonk River at the head of Narragansett Bay and it is possible that the SFL could have traveled by "non-contract" boat.

This SFL was extremely fragile and brittle at the folds and was coming apart at several of them. I made use of clear document repair tape to restore the item and have placed it unfolded in a sheet album.

Mr. Gardner is requesting information from Mr. Greene as to whether he has a case to petition for removal of a liquor license belonging to John W. Eagleston of Valley Falls, RI. It seems; according to Mr. Gardner, that Mr. Eagleston is selling liquor by the glass on the premises, while his license covers only off-site sales. Mr. Gardner also states that Mr. Eagleston maintains a disorderly shop.

Albert Collins Greene was born in East Greenwich, RI on April 15, 1791. He died on January 8, 1863. Albert was married to Catherine Celia Greene who is descended through another Greene line from Governor William Greene. Albert is listed on the 1850 Providence Census as a lawyer and residing in that city.

John W. Eagleston was born in Connecticut in 1789. He is listed on both the 1840 and 1860 Census's as residing in Smithfield, RI. There were two many John Gardner's from the period to determine which one wrote the letter.

The Complete Text of the Letter Follows Below:

                                                                Pawtucket April 15 - 1833
                                      Albert C. Greene Esq.
                                                                    I wish you to inform me what the license law of this state is in regard to the sale of ardent spirits. A few days ago I attended the town council of Smithfield for the purpose of opposing the granting of certain licenses, one of which was at Valley Falls in Smithfield. The person's name is John W. Eagleston. He applied and I opposed it on the ground that he had always kept a disorderly shop and had extended his sales beyond his license notwithstanding the license was granted to him to sell in no less quantities than a pint and that to be carried of his possessions before it could be drank. Since he obtained the license he has continued to sell contrary to it, and on the 12th instant did sell by the glass and never the pint which can be found to the satisfaction of an intelligent jury. I wish you to inform me if a person having a license can give away ardent spirits and allow it drank in his own shop, also what course I must pursue to stop the sale of more, contrary to license and if the above statements are sufficient to ground a complaint upon.
                                                                                  John Gardner

RI Historical Society
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Brown & Ives Letters
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Joseph Tillinghast
Free Franked Letters
DeWolf Family Letters

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