Civil War Envelopes of Western Pennsylvania

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1 Reprinted with permission of the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society (WPGS). This article first appeared in the Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society Quarterly, Volume 37, Number 1 (2010): pp To learn more about WPGS, please visit Civil War Envelopes of Western Pennsylvania by James R. Miller O ld envelopes and postcards from postal history collections are a source of genealogical information. 1 This paper presents five envelopes sent to western Pennsylvania during the Civil War with basic genealogical data on the sender and recipient (when available). The purpose is to introduce genealogists to the Philatelic Genealogy website and database ( The website was launched in March 2009 to begin building a digital archive of envelope and postcard images with genealogical value and to promote an exchange between postal history collectors and genealogists. The site has grown to more than 1,325 envelopes and postcards and currently has more than 100 items sent to/from Pennsylvania. Every item includes a photograph (used with the owner s permission) and U.S. census or similar details on the sender and/or addressee. Western Pennsylvania residents served in the military during the Civil War and surviving envelopes from these years let us glimpse their lives and handwriting. Miss Sophia Stanford of Buchanan, 2 Allegheny County, Pennsylvania received an envelope postmarked in Annapolis, Maryland in [Figure 1] The envelope has a label stating that it is a Soldier s Letter from a paroled prisoner of war. The auction catalog states that this envelope was sent by a soldier to his sister after his capture at the Battle of Fredericksburg and release to Camp Parole (in Annapolis) where he was 1 James R. Miller, Philatelic Genealogy: Old Envelopes, Postcards, and Immigrant Origins, New England Ancestors 10:2 (2009): and Philatelic Genealogy Update: An Initial Assessment of the Genealogical Value of Old Envelopes and Postcards, American Ancestors 11:1 (2010): 45 [both viewable at click on NEA and American Ancestors in the Main Menu]. 2 The post office in Buchanan operated See Jim Forte Postal History, United States Post Offices ( accessed 19 July 2010), select Pennsylvania, select Allegheny County, click on Next 25 until Buchanan appears.

2 4 Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society Quarterly 37:1 (2010) Figure Soldier's Letter from Camp Parole, Annapolis, Maryland to Buchanan, Pennsylvania (Photo courtesy of Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries, Sale 988, Lot 258) waiting to be exchanged. 3 A Sophia and Benj Stanford, apparently sister and brother, are in Baldwin (in southern Allegheny County) in the 1860 U.S. census. 4 A Benjamin R. Stanford served as a private with the 102 nd Pennsylvania Infantry, 5 and this regiment participated in the Battle of Fredericksburg in December He survived the war and was living in Pittsburgh in This envelope was sent by a brother to his sister. 8 As with any source of genealogical information, old envelopes must be used in combination with 3 Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries [hereafter Robert A. Siegel] ( accessed 18 July 2010), click on Power Search, enter 988 as Sale # and 258 as Lot # U.S. census, Library Post Office, Baldwin Township, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, pp (written), NARA series M653, roll 1,063. Viewed on Ancestry.com 5 National Park Service [hereafter NPS], Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System [hereafter CWSSS], ( accessed 17 July 2010), Soldiers, Benjamin R. Stanford, 102 nd Pennsylvania Infantry. 6 NPS, CWSSS, Regiments, 102nd Pennsylvania Infantry U.S. census, Veterans Schedules, Pittsburg, Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, Enumeration District [hereafter ED] 119, p. 1, NARA series M123, roll 88. Viewed on Ancestry.com. 8 Additional correspondence involving Sophie and Benjamin R. Stanford survives in the Stanford - Smith Families Papers, Wyles Mss 43, Department of Special Collections, Davidson Library, University of California, Santa Barbara ( accessed 18 July 2010).

3 37:1 (2010) Civil War Envelopes 5 other sources before reaching any conclusion. This envelope and Figures 2, 4, and 5 were found in an online philatelic auction catalog from which Philgen.org has permission to use photographs. 9 Figure envelope from Belle Island Prison, Richmond, Virginia to Washington, Pennsylvania sent By Flag of Truce via Old Point Comfort, Virginia (Photo courtesy of Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries, Sale 988, Lot 142) Abner Bane of Washington, Pennsylvania received an envelope marked By Flag of Truce and postmarked in Old Point Comfort, Virginia. [Figure 2] The auction catalog states that this envelope was sent in December 1863 by Sample S. Bane while a prisoner at Belle Island Prison in Richmond, Virginia. 10 An Abner Bane and his apparent son Sample were in Amity (about eight miles south of Washington) in the 1860 U.S. census. 11 A Sample S. Bane served as a private with the 22 nd Pennsylvania Cavalry. 12 After sending this envelope, Sample Bane was transferred to the prison in Andersonville, 9 Robert A. Siegel. Civil War postal history is featured in the catalogs for Sales 795, 801, 815, 822, 823, 834, 840, 841, 845, 850, 860, 870, 874, 875, 907, 933, 950, 954, 966, 980, 981, and Robert A. Siegel, Sale 988, Lot U.S. census, Amity Post Office, Amwell Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania, p. 13 (written), NARA series M653, roll 1,191. Viewed on Ancestry.com 12 NPS, CWSSS, Soldiers, Sample S. Bane, 22 nd Pennsylvania Cavalry

4 6 Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society Quarterly 37:1 (2010) Figure 3 Circa 1863 envelope from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to Warren, Pennsylvania with Union and Liberty design (Photo courtesy of Schuyler Rumsey Philatelic Auctions, Sale 32, Lot 873) Figure Prisoner of War envelope from Camp Oglethorpe, Macon, Georgia to Washington, Pennsylvania sent via Old Point Comfort, Virginia with soldier's name, rank, and regiment (Photo courtesy of Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries, Sale 988, Lot 131)

5 37:1 (2010) Civil War Envelopes 7 Georgia, where he died on 1 April This envelope, sent from Richmond and passing through the exchange point at Old Point Comfort, 14 appears to have been sent by a son to his father. Mrs. Lucinda Sweeting of Warren, Pennsylvania received an envelope from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania circa 1863.[Figure 3] A Lucinda Sweeting and her apparent husband John Sweeting were in Glade (about three miles east of Warren) in the 1870 U.S. census. 15 A John Sweeting served as a private with Independent Company C of the Pennsylvania Infantry 16 and this unit was in Harrisburg circa October 1862 to March John Sweeting was in Warren at the time of the 1890 Veteran s Census. 18 The envelope, which is illustrated with a Union and Liberty design, may have been sent by husband to his wife. This envelope was found in a philatelic auction catalog different from the other figures and from which Philgen.org also has permission to use photographs. 19 Mrs. E.R. McNary of Washington, Pennsylvania received an envelope from O.R. McNary, L[ieutenan]t Q[uarter] M[aster] 103 [rd] P[ennsylvani]a Vol[unteer]s, Prisoner of War. [Figure 4] An O.R. and Ellen McNary, apparently husband and wife, are in Washington in the 1860 U.S. census. 20 An Oliver R. McNary served as a lieutenant with the 103 rd Pennsylvania Infantry and was a prisoner of war. 21 The auction catalog states that he was captured at Plymouth, North Carolina in 1864 and that this envelope was sent from Camp Oglethorpe in Macon, Georgia in He survived the war 13 Andersonville Prisoners of War, Sample S. Bane, Pennsylvania. Viewed on Ancestry.com 14 Robert A. Siegel, Sale 988, Lot U.S. census, Warren C[ourt] H[ouse] Post Office, Glade Township, Warren County, Pennsylvania, p. 16 (written), NARA series M593, roll 1,461. Viewed on Ancestry.com 16 Historical Data Systems, compiler, U.S. Civil War Soldier Records and Profiles [hereafter USCWSRP], John Sweeting, served Pennsylvania. Viewed on Ancestry.com 17 Historical Data Systems, compiler, American Civil War Regiments, James Infantry Company (also shown as Warren County Rifles). Viewed on Ancestry.com U.S. census, Veterans Schedules, Glade, Warren County, Pennsylvania, ED 149, p. 2, NARA series M123, roll 89. Viewed on Ancestry.com 19 Schuyler Rumsey Philatelic Auctions ( accessed 17 July 2010), Sale 32, Lot 873. To locate this entry, select Catalog from the menu bar, then choose the correct sale, and scroll down in the Table of Contents to the appropriate range of lot numbers. Civil War postal history is featured in the catalogs for Sales 29, 32, 34 and U.S. census, Washington Post Office, East Ward Washington Borough, Washington County, Pennsylvania, p. 125 (written), NARA series M653, roll 1,192. Viewed on Ancestry.com 21 USCWSRP, Oliver R. McNary, served Pennsylvania. Viewed on Ancestry.com 22 Robert A. Siegel, Sale 988, Lot 131

6 8 Western Pennsylvania Genealogical Society Quarterly 37:1 (2010) and is with his family in Kansas in the 1870 U.S. census. 23 This envelope, which was also exchanged at Old Point Comfort, Virginia, was apparently sent by a husband to his wife. Figure envelope from the prison in Andersonville, Georgia to Erie, Pennsylvania sent via Washington, D.C. (Photo courtesy of Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries, Sale 988, Lot 127) Mrs. D.B. McCreary of Erie, Pennsylvania received an envelope postmarked in Washington, D.C. in [Figure 5] D.B. and his apparent wife A.G. McCreary are in Erie in the 1860 U.S. census. 24 A David B. McCreary served as a captain and later as a lieutenant colonel with the 145 th Pennsylvania Infantry. 25 The auction catalog states that David B. McCreary was captured at Petersburg, Virginia in 1864, and this envelope was sent from the prison at Andersonville, Georgia on 23 June 1864 and passed via Washington, D.C. 26 David B. McCreary survived the war and later served in the Pennsylvania State Legislature. 27 This envelope was apparently sent by a husband to his wife. This article has shown how postal history documents our ancestors wartime U.S. census, Leavenworth Ward 3, Leavenworth County, Kansas, p. 9 (written), NARA series M593, roll 437. Viewed on Ancestry.com U.S. census, Erie East Ward, Erie County, Pennsylvania, p. 174 (written), NARA series M653, roll 1,107. Viewed on Ancestry.com. 25 NPS, CWSSS, Soldiers, David B. McCreary, 145 th Pennsylvania Infantry. 26 Robert A. Siegel, Sale 988, Lot David B. McCreary ( accessed 18 July 2010).

7 37:1 (2010) Civil War Envelopes 9 experience. Other envelopes relate to our ancestors political and social interests, work, recreation, and immigrant origins. 28 Many more envelope and postcard photographs involving western Pennsylvania residents are available. Postal history vendors have given Philgen.org permission to use thousands of photographs from their websites and archived philatelic auction catalogs and most have not yet been placed on Philgen.org. At present, genealogists cannot easily locate an envelope or postcard sent or received by their ancestors. Envelopes and postcards for sale and in postal history collections are classified by stamps, cancellations, and other postal markings. The purpose of Philgen.org is to present envelope and postcard photographs with details on who wrote and received each item to make the collections accessible to genealogists. Anyone may place a photograph of an envelope or postcard used in their genealogical research (with the owner s permission) and/or may help add western Pennsylvania envelope and postcard photographs to the website by contacting the author. Photographs and data posted for each item will be credited to the person and/or their genealogical or philatelic association. Acknowledgments The author thanks Robert A. Siegel Auction Galleries and Schuyler Rumsey Philatelic Auctions for the use of photographs, the genealogists who posted family trees at Ancestry.com and responded to and message board queries, and Lisa Birsinger for database and website support. About the author James R. (Jim) Miller is a genealogist and postal historian and is the founder of Philgen.org. He lives in Caroga Lake, New York and Haguenau, France, and can be contacted at 28 For examples of other types of information available from postal history, see James R. Miller, Philatelic Genealogy in Iowa: An Introduction, Hawkeye Heritage, Vol. 44, No. 1 (2010): cover, 7-14; James R. Miller, Philatelic Genealogy in Minnesota: An Introduction, Minnesota Genealogist, Vol. 40, No. 4 (Winter ): 9-14; and James R. Miller, Philatelic Genealogy in Ohio: An Introduction, Ohio Genealogy News, Vol. 41 (Spring 2010): cover, 6-9 [all viewable at click on Iowa, Minnesota, or Ohio in the Main Menu].

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