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Posted Aug 16, 19 12:10 by Dave Savadge (nomad55)

Mary Harris

Total shock this morning when I read of Mary's passing. One of my favorite stops was at Labron and Mary's booth at Westpex. They always stashed away a couple of tidbits that I would find interesting, and more often than not, I would buy one. We often swapped stories about various finds, and the ones that got away.

Rest in Peace Mary. You were one of the great ones who will not be forgotten.

Posted Aug 16, 19 11:39 by Richard Frajola (frajola)

PDR 2019 Regrets

I have decided to cancel the Philatelic Digital Rendezvous single frame exhibit competition for 2019. I am still happy to accept exhibits that can be added to the exhibit section of the website as always.

After a month of website disruptions in an attempt to improve the reliability of both the philamercury and sites by transferring them to the control of a new company, I find myself unable to commit the additional time and resources required to host the PDR this year.

The transfer of the sites is taking longer than expected and has proven to be more costly than anticipated.

Posted Aug 16, 19 11:38 by Andrew Kupersmit (andy kupersmit)

Missing Mary Harris

I will so very much miss talking to Mary at the shows. She always asked about how my kids are doing. Her and Labron's participation at NOJEX and all stamp shows is always one of my favorite parts of the shows.

She always sent me a kind thank you note after every NOJEX for my part in running the show. When NOJEX moved from the hotel's exhibition center to the hotel's ball room in 2015, I wrote in the cover letter to the dealers that, despite the change in the floor plan, I would do my absolute best to place them in a comparable location to what they had before, but that Mary and Labron Harris got first choice because Mary always wrote me a lovely thank you note. No one objected.

I would appreciate knowing about any funeral arrangements. Off board please.

Posted Aug 16, 19 11:24 by Lawrence Gregg (ecovers)

Mary Harris

Sad news indeed. Condolences to Labron and family.

NAPEX used to be held at National Airport and they have been at every NAPEX show since I started attending in the early 80's. Table #1 for decades. Mr. Harris would flag me down whenever he got a Crosby cover he thought I'd be interested in. I hope he can continue... he is a philatelic fixture in the DC area.

Posted Aug 16, 19 10:59 by David Snow (dwsnow)

Detroit to Perry, N.Y. rate calculation

Cary Johnson,

Thank you for your post and information, clarifying things. Thanks to you I finally understand how such mail was handled. And it makes sense to take a land route on the U.S. side, although longer. No sense in paying Canadian stage coach contractors.

Posted Aug 16, 19 10:51 by David Snow (dwsnow)

Mary Harris

I am very saddened to hear about the loss of Mary Harris. I had last seen her at WESTPEX this past April, and we had a most pleasant conversation about Labron's career, when she was minding the booth while Labron was away.

Gordon: Thank you for posting a photo of Mary and Labron, which I will treasure.

In this hobby it is the people you meet and friends you make that count. The collecting of stamps and covers is great, but it is only a medium for making friendships with people of similar interests. That makes it worthwhile. My condolences to Labron and his family.

Posted Aug 16, 19 10:33 by Rob Faux (robfaux)

Mary Harris

She only had to hear my name once and she remembered it every time I saw her at a show thereafter.  It didn't matter that it might be only once a year, perhaps twice.  It didn't matter whether I bought a little or a lot.  It didn't matter if I was talkative or quiet.  Mary always treated me with kindness and respect and I never did see her treat anyone differently than that.

Labron, I am so sorry for your loss and I am sure none of us will feel it as you do.  Please use the support the people in this community are willing to offer as you need.

Rob Faux

Posted Aug 16, 19 10:28 by Ken Stach (kenstach)

Mary Harris

This earth has lost a beautiful, wonderful, person in Mary Harris. It was always a pleasure to stop by the Harris' booth and chat with them. Mary always remembered your name and interests, even if you only saw her once or twice a year. Heaven is richer for our loss.

Posted Aug 16, 19 10:01 by Daniel M. Knowles (eastendfan)

Mary Harris

Mary was one of the kindest, gentlest and most thoughtful persons I have ever known. I would stop by the Harris booth at every show just to pass time away with Mary and Labron. It had nothing to do with buying or selling. I just wanted to spend time with both of them, such wonderful people.

Anyone who had the privilege to get to know Mary will miss here. There are not enough people like Mary on this planet.

My heart goes out to Labron and all their family.


Posted Aug 16, 19 9:44 by Tad Mackie (philaclectic)

Mary Harris

Now that's a darn shame! She always had a warm smile and was a real pleasure to be around. I will miss her...

Posted Aug 16, 19 8:26 by Cary Johnson (fastmail)

Detroit-Perry, NY rate calculation

As Bernard indicated, the land mileage from Detroit via Cleveland to Buffalo and on to Perry (not through Canada) is just over 400 miles so 25c is correct. As best I can tell, milage was calculated based on over-land route. Loose letters given to the captain or purser would have a WAY slip of paper attached to indicate origin for rate calculation when turned into the post office.

Posted Aug 16, 19 7:41 by Richard Drews (bear427)

Mary Harris

When I received emails from friends about Mary's passing yesterday I told my wife. She was as saddened as I was. Bonnie had known both Mary and Labron from helping with my auctions in the 90s. Lately we had the pleasure of sitting with them at Jim and Melanie  Lee's dinners during Chicagopex. They were charming companions and their show tables were always welcoming places for chats. It's hard for me to imagine the depth of Labron's loss. They were treasured friends of many on this Board. All we can do now is honor that friendship with Labron in the days, months and years ahead.


Posted Aug 16, 19 7:00 by Russ Ryle (hoosierboy)

Mary, thank you for many wonderful memories

Shows will not seem the same without her smiling face watching over us folks madly rushing among the tables. Labron, remember the good times and I know there are many. This is her legacy. Rest in peace, friend.

Posted Aug 16, 19 4:48 by Mark Schwartz (schwamoo)

Mary Harris

Mary was a smart and funny lady, who treated many of us like family. At many shows, I would spend Sundays sitting at Labron and Mary’s Booth, just chatting. It was “home” because Mary made it feel that way. I will greatly miss her. My thoughts go out to Labron.

Posted Aug 16, 19 0:40 by Gordon Eubanks (gordon)

Mary Harris

Mary's passing is a great loss to the hobby where she is so loved and will be remembered always as a warm and carring person. Ronda and my condolences go out to Labron in this most difficult of times.


Posted Aug 16, 19 0:37 by David Snow (dwsnow)


George Dekornfeld,

Thank you for your post and information, and for checking with the Empire State Postal History Society for me. I will make a point of contacting the APRL about that NYS route map.

A very useful reference book which I acquired long ago from the Empire State Postal History Society is "New York Postal History: The Post Offices and First Postmasters from 1775 to 1980" by John L. Kay and Chester M. Smith, Jr., published by the American Philatelic Society (1982), which I use on a regular basis for researching my early New York State covers.

Posted Aug 15, 19 22:32 by Terence Hines (thines)

A real tragedy.

Mary was such a wonderful person. My wife and I always looked forward to seeing her at the shows we went to.

Posted Aug 15, 19 22:03 by Roland Cipolla (roncipolla)


It is with a broken heart that I have to post the passing this afternoon of Mary Harris.

She and her husband Labron are true royalty within our hobby. There was not a kinder soul and she will be forever missed.

Please extend, as I do, sincerest condolences to Labron.

Posted Aug 15, 19 19:38 by george dekornfeld (docgfd)


David - The Empire State Postal History Society had published a route map for NYS years ago. I just checked with Publications Chair, Drew Nicholson, to see if we had any left and as I suspected, we unfortunately don't. Drew did mention, however, that the APRL was given a copy way back when. Perhaps they would be willing to make a copy for you (although its larger than standard size, and I'm unsure of what equipment they have available to them for copying larger items such as this).

Posted Aug 15, 19 17:16 by David Snow (dwsnow)

Steamboat 25c rate


Thank you for post and information. In my previous post I had neglected to include the distance from Buffalo to Perry, N.Y. (formerly in Genesee County, now in Wyoming County) which is about 54 miles on modern roads.

So 255 miles Detroit to Buffalo, plus 54 miles to destination = about 309 miles total, still under 400 miles.  But that is based on modern roads, traveling the shortest distance. Not applicable to early 19th Century post routes, especially prior to railroads. And the post routes on Lake Erie would include extra mileage for stops at various ports, I suppose. End result is that the post office would consider such a trip in excess of 400 miles, which explains the 25c rate. And as you mentioned, Bernard, probably the distance calculated was based on the overland land route, not based on boat travel on Lake Erie, which would freeze by end of November, shutting down lake navigation.

My understanding is that postmasters of that era (1840) were furnished with tables that would give the distances between towns based on postal routes. If someone can show an example of one of those postal route charts, or better yet where such information can be found online, that would be great. I would particulary like to learn how postmasters would figure out the mileage to little villages or hamlets such as Perry, which would not be listed in their tables. I suppose just knowing the destination county would be sufficient in computing the mileage.


Posted Aug 15, 19 17:04 by Thomas Mazza (tom mazza)

And yet New York City was occupied until November 25, 1783.


Posted Aug 15, 19 16:37 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Falmouth Way

Ron and I, I believe, have slightly varying interpretations of "Falmouth Way" on the Thatcher newspapers. I believe that it probably means that the paper is to be delivered at a non PO destination between offices on the way to Falmouth. Now Portland.

Posted Aug 15, 19 16:17 by Roland Cipolla (roncipolla)

Newspaper Announcing the End of the Rev War

The announcement of the cessation of hostilities was made in Newburgh, NY 18 April 1783 ......

The scan below (sorry for the quality) is the Boston newspaper dated 1 May 1783 with the announcement of peace. From the article, as Bernard B said, below at noon the following day, 19 April, Washington read the proclamation to his troops at Newburgh NY. NOTE: "An extra ration of liquor to be issued to everyman to-morrow, to drink Perpetual Peace, Indepedency and Happiness to the United States of America."

This newspaper was carried, from Boston to Biddeford District of Maine, by the post rider along the Post Road known as "Falmouth Way." George Thatcher was a member of the Continental Congress and served four terms in the House of Representatives. He was the longest-serving of the original members of the First Congress (1789).

Contemporary peace announcements, especially ones transmitted in the mails, are "nice items."


Posted Aug 15, 19 13:24 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)


The truce was announced to the Army by Washington several days later on April 19 -- (I don't have a date for announcement to the Army in New York). That is a strange ink -- maybe an aged variant of the olive?? Peace announcements are nice things.

Technically, the treaty was allowed to become invalid by a feckless Congress and US news of the definitive acceptance was not until mid-1784. The British were not interested in continuing the contest.

Posted Aug 15, 19 13:20 by Bernard Biales (bernard b)

Steamboat 25 cents

I think the overland route from Detroit to Genesee was probably a bit over 400 miles (look up Detroit to Buffalo via Cleveland or check old PL&Rs?)

Posted Aug 15, 19 11:53 by David Snow (dwsnow)

Inland waterways mail question

I have just added to PhilaMercury census a 1840 steamboat letter from Detroit to Perry, N.Y., via Buffalo, where it entered the mails. See Cover ID 28357.

It has a 25c collect marking, which puzzles me. On modern highways (via Canada) the distance from Detroit to Buffalo is about 255 miles, skirting around Lake Erie. So the route by water should be no more than that. The postal rate at that time (Act of 1825) was 150 to 400 miles for 18-3/4 cents, over 400 miles for 25c. So this letter (a single letter sheet) should have been charged only 18-3/4 cents, not 25c. Can someone explain why the higher amount was charged?

According to the American Stampless Cover Catalog, Vol. II, under Inland Waterways Markings, p. 130, it states "The rate properly charged for a Steamboat letter was the regular postage from where the letter was picked up (as reported by the master of the vessel) and its final destination."

So that means that the master of the steamboat had to segregate letters according to where he picked them up. For example, if the vessel stopped at Cleveland enroute to Buffalo and picked up mail there, someone had to keep those letters separate from those picked up in Detroit or any other ports. And for his services the master received 2c per letter. And if a passenger wrote a letter onboard the steamer enroute to Buffalo, and handed it to the boat's purser to go with the other outgoing mail, shouldn't such a letter be charged a lesser amount at the Buffalo post office, compared to the others? Any comments would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.


Posted Aug 15, 19 10:09 by george dekornfeld (docgfd)

Movie Prop Stamps

If memory serves, there was a discussion about these here a while ago, and I ended up buying a set. For anyone who hasn't gotten theirs yet, a set is being offered on eBay and its currently at a much less expensive price here.: (RCF - link will be deleted after sale closes)

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