Arago: 10-cent Washington

10-cent Washington

10c Washington on cover

Scott Catalogue USA: 2

Lt. Clinton W. Lear mailed this cover on June 13, 1850, to his wife in New Orleans. The lieutenant was stationed at Fort Towson, adjacent to the town of Doakesville. The stamp paid a single ten-cent rate for a distance of more than three hundred miles. However, the letter weighed more than half-ounce but less than one ounce and so required an additional fee because of the weight. The postmaster at Doakesville therefore wrote "Due 10" in manuscript, indicating the extra rate was to be collected from the recipient, Lear's wife.

Although the Post Office Department at Washington lists this office as "Doaksville," the postmaster there spelled it 'Doakesville' and spaced the name in his townmark as if it were two words—DOAKES VILLE. The town was in unorganized territory west of Arkansas, and the Post Office Department included it as part of Arkansas for accounting purposes. Consequently the "state" at the bottom of the townmark is "Ark."

In 1850 the entire area adjacent to the western boundaries of Missouri and Arkansas was unorganized territory. Part of the area, including the reservation of the Choctaw Nation and the other four Civilized Tribes, was later informally called 'Indian Territory', even though such a territory was never officially organized. When Oklahoma became a state in 1907, this area was included within its state boundaries.

June 13, 1850
c-DOAKES VILLE/JUN/13/Ark. [1850] (Black) [townmark] "Due 10" (Black ms) [ate Mark] black ms pen marks [cancel]
paper; ink / handwritten; handstamped; engraved
Height x Width: 8.3 x 14cm (3 1/4 x 5 1/2in.)
Museum ID:
Place of Origin:
Doaksville (Choctaw Nation), Arkansas
Place of Destination:
New Orleans, Louisiana

  • Only nine 1847 covers are known from the area located west of Arkansas that later became Indian Territory, and is now Oklahoma. Most, including this one, were sent by Lieutenant Clinton W. Lear, who was stationed at Fort Towson, from the nearby post office at Doakesville, Choctaw Nation. They were addressed to his wife, who had gone home to New Orleans when it appeared he would be sent to the Texas frontier. Because this letter weighed more than one-half ounce, it was marked 'Due 10' in addition to the 10¢ stamp.
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