MICHAEL HAMILTON
POSTAL HISTORY
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Folkestone mail to a probable survivor of the wrecked Barque "Persia", Jamaica postal history
Having received news of the 19/20th November wreck of the "Persia" a reply is sent to probable survivor Walter Davidson, at the wreck of the Barque "Persia", Orange Bay, Hanover Cornwall, Jamaica, West Indies with GB QV 1/- green Plate 8 superbly pmk'd Folkestone "303" duplex dated F/DE 31 73 showing either front or back Kingston A/JA 20 74, Lucea A/JA 21 74, Green Island B/JA 30 74 and B/FE 4 74, and framed "RETURNED/LETTER BRANCH/9 FE 74/JAMAICA" with manuscript direction "Green Island", and magenta manuscript "Sailed for England" being the reason for letter undelivered.
The British Barque “Persia”, 530 tons, commanded by Captain Paul Patty, and having a load of Logwood of 400 tons, was taken from Black River to Orange Bay by Pilot, arriving there on Wednesday forenoon 19th November. During the night a heavy north wind set in, and the vessel was driven ashore and became a total wreck. Two of the crew were drowned, and 4 others with the Captain were saved with great difficulty by the people of Orange Bay. The Captain and fellow sufferers were conveyed to Green Island.
£850


The GHOSTS of POINT ELLICE HOUSE, the most haunted house on VANCOUVER ISLAND
1898 cover to Mrs (Caroline Agnes) O'Reilly (1831-1899, thought to appear as an apparition in the grounds of her house) at Point Ellice, Victoria, Vancouver Island pmk'd KINGSTON AU 10 98 and then mysteriously spirited some 4,432 miles to DUBLIN (AU 24 98, husband Peter originated from Ballybeg, Co. Meath, only 45 miles from Dublin) before travelling a further 4,502 miles to VICTORIA, B.C. PM/SP 6 98 per b/stamp) with I/SP 7 98 and "10" cents tax due handstamp added the next day, some soiling.
Husband Peter, former Indian Reserve Commissioner, is the subject of supernatural investigations at the house which went live on a YouTube video October 31 2020. Visitors and volunteers have had spooky encounters with lights switching on and off, a piano playing on its own, and apparitions chasing them away. In later years "a nice young lady in a blue dress" had shown visitors around the house giving many previously unknown facts, when questioned they went back inside the house and pointed to a blue gown lying across a bed, "that's the one she was wearing" in daughter Kathleen O'Reilly's bedroom. Kathleen had returned! For many years the whereabouts of the grave of Caroline Agnes was a mystery, but in her final year, being so ill, she made a last visit to her family in England, dying only a few days after arrival. Her remains lie in the cemetery at Cheriton, Folkestone (only 2.1 miles down the road, a 39 minute walk, from me!).
£475


Wreck of S.S. "WINDSOR CASTLE" (Donald Currie Line), CAPE OF GOOD HOPE postal history
1876 cover and lengthy 5-page letter headed "Kersal Rectory (Salford) Sept 16 1876" to Miss Helen Ayliffe, Greystone, Grahamstown, Cape of Good Hope marked "per first Steamer, September 22 1876" with GB QV 6d grey Plate 15 tied Manchester "498" duplex dated SP 22 1876 with CAPE TOWN O/OC 20 76 arrival alongside, reverse shows DARTMOUTH B/SP 23 76 despatch and GRAHAMSTOWN OC 25 76 arrival clear of large part flap missing which shows both albino SPIERS & SON OXFORD envelope manufacturer and sender's emblem.
The "Windsor Castle" sailed from Dartmouth on 23rd September 1876 and hit rocks between 2 and 3am on 19th October off Dassen Island while approaching Cape Town. A Lt. Melville and a Mr Searle, after a most unpleasant journey, reached Cape Town at about 9pm with the news of the wrecked mail steamer. The "Florence" was despatched to the scene of the wreck, but due strong winds was unable to get out of the harbour until 4.15am, sighted the masts of the Windsor at 7am, and cast anchor at Dassen Island at 8am where the 160 passengers had assembled taking up a Robinson Crusoe kind of existence in tents rigged up from sails amongst heaps of saved baggage, boxes, gun cases and 70 to 80 mailbags. The "Florence" left at 1pm with the first of the survivors arriving at Cape Town at 6pm. Seven or eight feet of rock had ripped through the bottom and the ship broke up in heavy swells within a week. The rescued mail was postmarked at Cape Town on 20th October 1876.
£1200


HMS SULTAN (under command of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh), MALTA postal history
1877 cover with H.M.S. SULTAN printed flap to the Honorable Mrs. Lindsay, Woodlands, Cardiff, South Wales (possibly written by Royal hand) with GB QV 2½d rosy-mauve Plate 5 pmk'd Malta "A25" duplex dated D/AP 6 77, flap intact but poorly opened either side of printing clear of light Cardiff C/AP 11 77 arrival.
In 1876 HMS Sultan was refitted and reduced from a small Channel Fleet coastal warship to a barque rig and posted to the Mediterranean under the command of His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Albert (1844-1900) second son of Queen Victoria. Alfred married the Grand Duchess Maria Alexandrovana of Russia in St. Petersburg and their second daughter Princess Victoria Melita was born on 25 November 1876 in Malta. Prince Alfred, Honorary President 1890-1900 of what is now the Royal Philatelic Society, was the first serious stamp collector in the royal family and it is thought that he encouraged his nephew, later KGV, to collect stamps. Prince Alfred sold his collection to his brother King Edward VII, who shared his enthusiasm, who in turn gave it to his son King George V, and keenly expanded by the latter the two collections became the basis of what is now the Royal Philatelic collection.
£225


Mail to the "U.S.S. Michigan" (Fenian Raids/Canada), MALTA postal history
1872 cover marked "Via Italy & Germany" to a U.S. Naval Lieutenant on the U.S.S. Michigan, Erie, Pennsylvania with GB QV 1d, 3d, 6d pmk'd Malta "A25" duplex dated B/NO 18 72 showing London Paid (NO 26) but without arrival backstamps, small corner fault.
U.S.S. Michigan was the first iron-hulled ship in the U.S. Navy and was built in response to the British Government arming two steamers in response to the Canadian rebellion in the late 1830's and operated on the Great Lakes out of Erie, Pennsylvania. Irish immigrants in the Fenian Brotherhood, after the American Civil War, saw their opportunity to attack the British Empire at their weakest point on the borders with Canada, and seize a sufficient portion of Canada to form a belligerent government recognised by the United States. In early June 1866, 850 Fenians led by Col. John O'Neill crossed the Niagara River. Battles with Canadian Volunteer Forces and British regiments were fought at Ridgeway and Fort Erie, and with some 2,000 to 3,000 re-inforcements unable to cross from Buffalo the raid was effectively over. In 1866 the 'Michigan' intercepted and interned the army of the Fenian Brotherhood as it returned from its invasion of Canada near Buffalo (see pages 82-83 of enclosed book).
£625




SMITH'S ISLAND, BERMUDA internal postal history
In July 1609 Sir George Somers left Plymouth on the flagship Sea Venture as part of a fleet of 9 vessels with supplies for the new English colony at Jamestown, Virginia. In a severe storm she was separated and driven onto the reefs at Bermuda with all 150 sailors and settlers saved, this event is thought to be Shakespeare’s inspiration for The Tempest. With materials primarily stripped from the Sea Venture two new ships, The Deliverance and The Patience, were built and most set sail again on May 10 1610 for Jamestown. Smith’s island in St. George’s became Bermuda’s first settlement when three of the survivors, Christopher Carter, Edward Waters and Edward Chard (two were mutineers), set up camp becoming the first accidental permanent colonists. They built cabins, planted beans, melons, tobacco, maize, fished the coast and hunted wild hogs left there from an earlier visit by the Spanish. When the Plough arrived from England July 11 1612 with the first part of planned colonists Governor Moore was delighted with the garden produce because the Somer Isles Company in London had supplied him with some 80 varieties of seeds to try in Bermuda. Many of the first European crops Virginia and later American colonies saw were planted on Smith’s Island. The illustrated QV ½d Post Card, postmarked St. Georges 14 JA 1901, is addressed to C. W. McCallan, perhaps the only resident family on the 61 acre island, and perhaps the replied pricing for pupils at the Grammar School was intended for E.A. McCallan, the 1948 Bermudian author of “Life on Old St. David’s”.
Also included u/m commemorative set plus pre-owned Gail Langer Karwoski's book "Miracle - The true story of the Wreck of the Sea Venture" (64 pages).
£325






THE SEARCH FOR EXPLORERS BURKE and WILLS, South Australia postal and social history
1862 cover to Mr. Edward Palmer, McKinlays Exploring Expedition, Adelaide G.P. Office with pair QV 1d (one defective corner) pmk'd PORT-AUGUSTA OC 6 62 with handstruck "UNCLAIMED", reverse GPO OC 8 1862/7 datestamp. Filing crease crosses adhesives as the unclaimed letter was placed in the accompanying "Returned Paid Letter" back to Mr. H. Mildred, Port Augusta making an exceptionally rare "round trip" pair. In 1859 the South Australian Government offered £2,000 for the first successful south-north crossing of the continent west of the 143rd line of longitude. In 1860-61 Robert O'Hara Burke and Willian John Wills led an ill-fated expedition of 19 men with the ingroup back to report only to find that another expedition under Howitt, which had left June 1861, had already found the graves of both Burke and Willstention of crossing from Melbourne (south) to the Gulf of Carpentaria (north), approx. 2,000 miles. At that time most of the continent had not been explored by non-indigenous people. The south-north crossing was successful but both of the expedition leaders died on the return journey. Only one man, John King, made the eventual return to Melbourne. Six expeditions were sent to search for Burke and Wills. One left August 1861, under McKinlay, and found the remains of Charles Gray, one of the expedition, and a partially empty grave in the Cooper Creek area. McKinley sent part of his in that same area. In December McKinley visited the site of the graves and then went on to explore the lakes region around Lake Moolionburinna. In February he left the Cooper region following Burke and Wills track to the Eyre Creek and the Gulf before turning east to a station on the Bowen River near Port Denison in Queensland, and the party returned by sea to Adelaide.
Edward Palmer was the bullock driver with the McKinley led "South Australian Burke Relief Expedition". Accompanied by previously owned Sarah Murgatroyd's book THE DIG TREE, the extraordinary story of the ill-fated Burke and Wills Expedition (372 pages) and 150th anniversary commemorative stamps.
£1425
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