Deposit, New York: 1849. Unbound. This two-page letter measures 15.5” x 10” unfolded. It was sent by Judge Nelson Knox Wheeler from Deposit, New York to an associate, H. Ballard, at Cortlandville. It is franked with a well-margined (one just a little narrow), red-brown 5-cent Franklin postage stamp (Scott #1) . The stamp has been pen cancelled and a circular Deposit, N.Y. postmark is in the upper left corner. A Philatelic Foundation certifying that this is a genuine usage of Scott #1 on cover will be included along with a transcript of the letter. Near fine. Item #008980
Judge Wheeler returned to his birthplace, Deposit, shortly after the end of New York’s infamous Anti-Rent War during which he served as a judge and presided over a number of trials of long-term sharecroppers who, having become dissatisfied with their legal but draconian leases, attacked and killed landowners while disguised as hooded ‘Calico Indians.’ Although Wheeler does not mention the Anti-Rent times in his letter, he does note that he had only recently arrived in town and not been able to find an office available to rent so he could relocate his law library. Perhaps his relocation was due in part to local animosity that resulted from the trials. On its own, Wheeler’s letter is interesting, and his involvement in the Anti-Rent War is fascinating, however the desirability of this correspondence is greatly increased by the genuine use of the first U. S. postage stamp, the red-brown Franklin 5-cent stamp (Scott #1), to prepay postage from a very small New York town. This is, perhaps, the only extant example of use of Scott #1 from Deposit; a real trophy for a New York collector.