Details For Cover ID# 29860

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Front Image

Cover Type: USA domestic with stamp(s)
Entered by: kenlawrence
Added on:Feb 8, 24
Edited on:Feb 10, 24
Postmark: circa 1855 (Anti-Slavery Cover)
Origin: Maine, UNITED STATES
Destination: Newfield, Maine, UNITED STATES
Rev. David Thurston (1779-1865) of Winthrop, Maine, a minister of the Congregational church, had been a co-founder of the Maine Anti-Slavery Society in 1834. According to the Maine Historical Society website, "Although owning enslaved people was outlawed in Maine in 1783, broader American slavery faced little opposition in Maine until the formation of the Anti-Slavery Society in 1833. The Anti-Slavery Society's Portland group was integrated with Black and White members and included both men and women, unusual for the time period."

The Congregational Church of Winthrop dismissed Thurston as its pastor on grounds that his anti-slavery activities caused a “division” among parishioners. Brown Thurston (1814-1900), David Thurston’s son, was active in anti-slavery and temperance movements, and was among the founders of the Republican Party. In a 1993 article titled “Brown Thurston’s Year,” in Maine History, Allyn Storer wrote: "Thurston’s father, the Reverend David Thurston, was one of the leading anti-slavery activists in Maine. But Brown did more than just give moral support to his father. He was active politically and personally in the anti-slavery movement and his involvement with the underground railway is evident in these two [diary] entries in March 1855:

'March 6th. — Had a call from Mr. Potter this evening concerning a poor fugitive from the state of Georgia, who is at his house sick. I promised to take a physician with me and go to see him to-morrow.

'March 23rd. — Wife & I went over to the poor house to see a fugitive that I have been instrumental in getting into the institution — having spent most of the time for three months in the open air, in getting away from slavery, is now entirely helpless by rheumatism. He’s getting better.'

"These were not isolated acts. At one time Thurston and his friends had thirty fugitive slaves under their care."

Brown Thurston published the Portland Inquirer, described by the Maine Historical Society as “the last permutation of a series of anti-slavery newspapers in Portland and Maine. . . . It ran from 1851-1855.” In partial fulfillment of its mission, the Inquirer published and distributed this anti-slavery envelope.

The addressee, Isaac M. Trafton, was a teacher who later became a Republican Party official and a member of the Maine legislature.

Certificate? No
For Sale? Yes, for US$ 1000.   Interested in this cover? Contact kenlawrence.
Stampless? No
Stamps:Stamp images are from reference catalog. Click image to view at larger resolution.
[SNS 4] SNS# 4 [1851 3¢ Orange Brown - USA Stamps 1851-1856 Issue]