Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Steamship Company Cancels: The White Star Line

The American, Great Lakes-bound White Star Line Steamer Tashmoo

APR  16  1902

David Thompson scan

Stamp almost certainly used for passage on the Tashmoo for a ticket of $30 or less.

Steamer Tashmoo pulling away from the wharf

From Midwest Boat and Recreation, by Dale Blanshan. January 2014:

In 1912, the British White Star Line ruled the oceans with the great Titanic.  At the same time, another White Star Line -- this one American -- ruled the Great Lakes with the elegant Tashmoo.  The Titanic's reign lasted for four days.  The Tashmoo sailed for 36 years.

By the end of the nineteenth century, steamship lines on the Great Lakes were taking on another kind of passenger, the excursion boater.  Some travelers wanted luxurious transportation to the resorts that dotted the shores of the Great Lakes.  For others, the ships themselves were the resorts.

To meet that demand, the White Star Line commissioned the Tashmoo.  Launched in December of 1899 at Wyandotte, Michigan, the Tashmoo was 308 feet long and 37 feet abeam, with a gross tonnage of 1,344.

She was fitted with every luxury.  Two grand pianos graced her main salon, and expensive carpeting and polished mahogany furnished her decks.  Six hundred windows afforded passengers unobstructed views of the shore, earning the Tashmoo the nickname "The Glass Hack."

Passengers could picnic on the decks for lunch, watch the shoreline lazily pass in the afternoon, dine in "New York style" restaurants for dinner, and dance to a live band in the evening.

On June 11, 1900, the Tashmoo took on its first customers.  Within three months, she took on her first major challenge.

Races between rival steamships were exciting events.  In September of 1900, a ship called the City of Chicago won such a race, whereupon a Detroit newspaper published an article naming ten boats that it believed to be faster than the City of Chicago.

The Tashmoo was not on the list, prompting the president of the White Star Line to issue his own challenge, offering $1,000 to any freshwater ship that beat the Tashmoo.  The owners of the City of Erie accepted the challenge.

The race was to be 94 miles in length, from Cleveland, Ohio, to Erie, Pennsylvania.  Boats filled the Cleveland harbor, and spectators lined the shore. A cannon boomed, and the race was on!

The City of Erie jumped out to an early lead, but the Tashmoo caught and passed her.  Mechanical and steering problems put the Tashmoo behind again.

However, by the time the finish line was in sight, she was closing quickly.

Nonetheless, the gap was too great.  The Tashmoo finished 45 seconds behind.

Another great moment for the Tashmoo was the 1902 visit of President Theodore Roosevelt to Detroit.  For an afternoon, the President's blue and gold flag flew over the Tashmoo as the President toured the waterfront.

The Tashmoo came to its end in 1936 when, in the course of a turn, she struck a rock.  The captain was able to bring the ship to a nearby dock so that passengers could disembark before the Tashmoo  settled in 14 feet of water.

A salvage crew accidentally raised one end of the ship too quickly, and her keel broke.

The Tashmoo would never again sail the Great Lakes waters.


The Historic Detroit website has a great feature on the Tashmoo.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Steamship Company Cancels: Boston & Philadelphia Steamship Company

Boston & Philadelphia Steamship Line
Steamship Saxon

The company hedged on the reliability of steam power with the Saxon by running both steam power and sails. 

R163 1c documentary battleship on steam ship document fragment
"PHILADELPHIA" can be made out under the upper left corner of the stamp

B. & P. S. S. CO.
*  *  *

From The Historical Dictionary of the US Maritime Industry, 2011, by Kenneth Blume: 

I recommend this book for anyone research shipping cancels.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Cancel Identification Help: Y. S. R. R.

Help is needed identifying the cancel below.  Almost certainly by a railroad, except that a search of Poor's Manual editions of the period don't yield a likely candidate.  If you have any ideas or are certain of the identity of the cancel, please write 1898revenues@gmail.com.

Y. S. R. R.

David Thompson scan and highlight

Monday, September 8, 2014

Florin Benedict Had Issues Getting to School as a Child

According to David Thompson, Mr. Florin Benedict was a Justice of the Peace for Winchester, Litchfield County, Connecticut.  But as a child he went to school in nearby Winsted, Connecticut. David couldn't find much information about Mr. Benedict, and neither could I. Yet from the stamp below with his name on it, we can guess that he probably dealt in insurance of some kind, as most of the 1/2 cent documentaries were used for insurance taxes.


David Thompson scan and highlight

But I did find one very personal item about Mr. Benedict at the website of the Colebrook Historical Society.  Colebrook is about six miles north of Winsted.  And the Colebrook Historical Society has preserved a few public records, one of which tells us that when Master Florin Benedict was a school boy, he managed in one academic period of 79 days to be tardy for 6 and absent for 25.  Either he was something of a truant, he was sick often, or more likely, there were lots of things to do at home to keep things running.  I prefer to believe the latter, and that the farm work just had to be done.

From the records of the Colebrook Historical Society, Florin's name was in a list of many other boys that I did not paste into this post:

1872 to 1874 (As per a note attached written by Homer P. Deming dated 1948.)

Attendance Record

BOYS                       Tardy       No. Days Attendance (of 79)

Florin Benedict        6               54

No. Boys 27

Wages of Teacher $56.00

Whole No. of Scholars 40

Aggregate Attendance 2660 Days

Length of School – 16 Weeks (80 Days)

No. Scholars Over 16 – 9 (Boys 6; Girls 3) 

Friday, September 5, 2014

New York Stock Brokers: Drake, Mastin & Company


David Thompson scan

During the down months for this website, long time contributor David Thompson continued to work and submit new material for publication.  Thanks Dave for the continued work for the site.  I start today with the first new post of Dave's material in over a year.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Mystery Fancy Cancel

Looking for answers or clues for the identity of this unique cancel.  Any ideas?  Please write to 1898revenus@gmail.com

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Supreme Council of the Royal Arcanum

Royal Arcanum was founded in 1877 as a fraternal benefit organization.  Royal Arcanum still exists today and serves its members with a variety of benefits, including life insurance and annuities.


Langlois scan

Life insurance, as commercially conducted in the mid to late 1800's failed to meet the needs of the masses. Only the prosperous minority could afford to indulge in such an expensive luxury. Thousands upon thousands had seen their dearly bought protection vanish in bankruptcy proceedings and receiverships. 

Masons and Odd Fellows had organized relief associations that bound members of the lodge together. That gave rise to the concept of bringing men together in a fraternal union for purposes of protection.

John Upchurch founded the Ancient Order of United Workmen in Pennsylvania, upon the principle of combining cooperation and fraternity with the business of furnishing protection at the lowest possible cost. While his plan was wrong in detail, the protection was what people demanded. He planted the seed, from which grew a tree whose branches would protect many thousands of widows, orphans, and dependants.
The Knights of Honor was founded in Kentucky, with a slight improvement in recognizing sound insurance principles. Their growth was rapid, almost spontaneous. People in moderate circumstances welcomed them with open arms and pockets.

In 1876-77 two of the founders of Knights of Honor, John A. Cummings of Boston, MA. And Dr. Darius


Wilson attempted to have the K. of H. adopt a scale of assessment, recognizing one of the well-known elements of life insurance. The effort failed, because of a lack of public education.

Upon their return to Boston, Brothers Wilson and Cummings organized a new society under Massachusetts's law. Dr. Wilson invited the members to meet at his house, 1066 Washington Street, on June 23, 1877, and by virtue of his position as founder of the order, organized the Supreme Council of the Royal Arcanum.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

E. S. Wells: Another Documentary Printed Cancel

The pursuit of documentary printed cancels continues.  Today is presented a new cancel to me from the proprietary medicine firm E. S. Wells.  The term medicine here is used somewhat loosely, as the firm was well known for making a rat poison it called "Rough on Rats".

The firm used printed cancels on proprietary stamps, and used what appears to be the same canceling plate on 2 cent documentary stamps, likely for their use on checks.  Blocks that include the manuscript-style red printed cancel are illustrated here on the 5/8c proprietary and the 2c documentary.  In both cases it appears the 1898 plate was used.  But for the 2c, part of the second 8 has been removed so that the number more closely resembles a 9.  If anybody has an example of an E. S. Wells 2c documentary on a check, please write or send a scan of the check to 1898revenues@gmail.com.  We'll post the scan here.

E. S. Wells
JUL  11

E. S. Wells

The last 8 in 1898 has had the lower left portion of the number planed off to resemble a 9

Sheet music cover the E. S. Wells smash hit, Rough on Rats

From Matt Reynolds, in a comment at the East Carolina Digital Collection website:

"The Wells Company, based in Jersey City New Jersey, offered a wide range of products including Rough on Corns, Rough on Itch, Rough on Toothache, and Wells’ Health Renewer. Wells promoted all of the company products far and wide in both newspapers and via advertising cards. He even produced a Rough on Rats song touting the effectiveness of the poison, which included the chorus: “R-r-rats! Rats! Rats! Rough on Rats, Hang your dogs and drown your cats: We give a plan for every man to clear his house with Rough on Rats” Sadly, some purchasers of the product chose to misuse it both to take their own lives and to take the lives of others. The most notorious case of the latter was the poisoning of Ada Appelgate by her husband Everett Appelgate and his mistress Frances Creighton. Both were convicted of murder in 1936 and were sent to the electric chair at New York’s Sing-Sing prison shortly after.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

2014 Minnesota Stamp Show

The 2014 Minnesota Stamp Show was the site of the American Revenue Association annual meeting this year.  The timing of my annual leave this summer coincided with the show, and I managed to be in St. Paul and attend the show for a few hours on Friday and Sunday, even making the Friday night Association dinner.  I had the opportunity to meet many members for the first time, and see others for the first time in several years.  

 Frank Sente and your correspondent with his 1898 Revenue on-document use exhibit and his many honors, including the show Grand.

Active contributors to this site over the years exhibited 1898 material at the show and experienced top level success.  Frank Sente rolled out the on-document exhibit that he originally showed in Minnesota 3 years ago; this time it won the show grand.  Bob Hohertz showed his Revenue Stamp paper material and took Reserve Grand, and Herman Ivester received a single frame gold for his St. Louis Provisional material.

I look forward, if timing permits, to future Minnesota Stamp Shows!  It was great this year seeing old faces again and meeting new people. 


Frank Sente

A Fiscal History of the US Documentary Taxes 1898 - 1902:
Show Grand
Best Revenue Exhibit
Show Gold

Bob Hohertz

Revenue Stamp Paper of the Spanish-American War Tax Period:
Show Reserve Grand
Show Gold

Herman Ivester

The St. Louis Proprietary Provisionals - July 1898
Show Single Frame Gold

Bob Mustacich

The Rare Bookends of the 1898-1899 Documentary Revenues
Show Silver-Bronze

Bob Hohertz was also recognized in the single frame category for his 1932 check tax exhibit.

Bob Hohertz and his show Reserve Grand.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

1898 Revenues is Back?

As many readers may have noticed, your correspondent has not updated this site or been active for quite awhile.  Due to circumstances, some beyond my control, some having do to do with the weight of other obligations, and some having to do with lost momentum, 1898 Revenues has been dormant.

I'm now in the process of deciding how to handle future publishing targets.  The previous grind of nearly daily posts won't return for awhile.  Outside obligations remain intense, if not as great as in the past year or so.  Look forward to fewer posts than in the past. But there should be at least several posts a month, and when inspired, more than several.

Good to be back.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Southern Railroads: Georgia & Alabama Railway

The Georgia & Alabama ran from Montgomery, Alabama to Savannah, Georgia, straight through the heart of the old south.  On July 1, 1900, the Georgia & Alabama was merged into the Seabord Airline Railway.

GA.  &  ALA.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Southern Railroads: Southern Railway

Pre-Norfolk & Western logo above; Norfolk Southern logo below.

Restored Southern Railway locomotive on video from 1984