U.S. and the Channel Islands

Just as many towns, cities and counties in North America are named after places in the British Isles, a few are named after places from the Channel Islands. For example, Sarnia is the Roman or Latin name of Guernsey, thus we have Sarnia, Ontario.  Likewise, Caesarea was the Roman name for Jersey.  When the Province of New-Jersey was granted in June 1664 to Sir George Carteret and John lord Berkley, the grant referred to the lands "...hereafter to be called Nova-Caesarea or New-Jersey."[1]

It doesn't help that New Jersey is commonly called 'Jersey' by Americans and Canadians alike.  Perhaps innocently unaware of its namesake, the Bailiwick of Jersey is located 14 miles off the French Normandy coast and is a peculiar (that is to say possession) of the English crown[2].

The following two items illustrate articles addressed to Jersey, but were inadvertently routed by clerks to Jersey City, NJ.
 

  1934 (AUG 30) Howes Cave, NY to Jersey, CI.  Datelined "August 28th", it was posted on the 30th with a 3 National Recovery Act commemorative (Scott #732) paying the UPU surface Post Card rate.

It was inadvertently dispatched to Jersey City, NJ where the mistake was corrected.  Stamped MISSENT TO AND FORWARDED FROM JERSEY CITY, N.J., it was machine cancelled on the picture-side and then forwarded to Jersey.  Unfortunately, the Jersey City date is unreadable.

   

 

  1947 (21-3) Ansbach, Germany to Jersey.  This letter travelled the long way round before arriving in Jersey.  Given the "Jersey (Jersey)" address, it's reasonable for postal clerks operating in the US Zone to route the letter to the United States.  Upon arrival in the US, such an incomplete address would normally result in returned-to-sender, except for the experience of the Jersey City clerks handling mis-sent Jersey mail.  A clerk clarified the address with "Channel Islands", marked it with MISSENT TO AND FORWARDED FROM JERSEY CITY, NJ and then back stamped it JERSEY CITY, N.J / APR29 / 1947 / REC'D.

 
Early 19th Century

 

 

Courtesy Matt Liebson

  Courtesy Matt Liebson
1811 (August 1) Cambridge, OH to St. Martins, Guernsey  

1818 (June 11) Cambridge, OH to St. Martins, Guernsey


EARLIEST KNOWN OHIO COVER TO A FOREIGN DESTINATION [6]

A very early letter from Cambridge, OH to Guernsey. Cambridge is located in Guernsey County which was formed in 1810 and was named after the Channel Island since 15-20 families settled in the area a few years earlier[3]. The letter is written in French. 25 U.S. postage pre-paid to New York (single sheet, over 500 miles, rate effective April 1799). The previous owner read the postage due as '2/11', and then offered the following breakdown:

s d. Comments
1/ 1 Packet rate. America to Falmouth, 1805 - British dominion, the 1807 Directory interpreted the 1805 Act suggesting 'America' was treated in the same context as British North America, not the foreign rate (1s/2d).
  11 Inland rate. Falmouth to London, distance of 270 miles, 11d.
  8 Inland rate. London to Southampton, between 80-120 miles, 8d.
  3 Domestic packet rate. Southampton to Guernsey, 1805, packet postage to Guernsey, 3d.
2/ 11 Total postage due

However the 2/11 should be read as '2/1' with the middle stroke splitting the shilling and pence. Furthermore, the Packet Service from the mainland to the Channel Islands operated exclusively out of Weymouth from 1794 to 1845[5]. Therefore, the letter would not have travelled from London to Southampton in 1811.

1/ 1 Packet rate. America to Falmouth, 1805 - British dominion, the 1807 Directory interpreted the 1805 Act suggesting 'America' was treated in the same context as British North America, not the foreign rate (1s/2d).
  9 Inland rate. Cross-posted from Falmouth to Weymouth, 120 to 170 miles, 9d.
  3 Domestic packet rate. Weymouth to Guernsey, 1805, packet postage to Guernsey, 3d.
2/ 1 Total postage due

Since the letter does not have any London postal marks, we know it was cross-posted from Falmouth to Weymouth.

 
 


The letter is part of the same correspondence and was written in French. 25 U.S. postage pre-paid to New York (single sheet, over 400 miles, rate effective May 1, 1816). British clerk crossed out the U.S. 'Paid 25' and then rated it '2/3' postage due.
 

 

s d. Comments
1/ 3 Packet rate. America to Falmouth, 1/3 + UK inland abated by 1d. (1817, January. GPO Notice to all Postmasters)
  9 Inland rate. Cross-posted from Falmouth to Weymouth, 120 to 170 miles, 10d. (52.GEO III c 88 - July 1812) less 1d abatement.
  3 Domestic packet rate. Weymouth to Guernsey, 1805, packet postage to Guernsey, 3d.
2/ 3 Total Postage due

 

Last Updated: December 24, 2007 16:54 Jersey local time   Hit Counter
[1] Smith, Samuel. The Colonial History of New Jersey. 1765. Trenton NJ: State of New Jersey, Digital Antiquaria, 2004, pg 56.
[2] Liddicoat, Anthony. A Grammer of the Norman French of the Channel Islands.  Berlin, Mouton de Gruyter, 1994, pg 6.
[3] Booth, Russell. A Very Brief History of Guernsey County, Ohio. http://www.guernseycounty.org - 18 November 2007.
[4] Tabeart, Colin. United Kingdom Letter Rates Inland and Overseas 1635 to 1900, 2nd Ed, 2003, pg 38
[5] Hunt, Brian and Philip Cockrill. The Cross-Channel Services, Part I, Southampton - Channel Islands - Havre Routes to 1940. pg 47
[6] Liebson, Matt. "Cambridge OH". e-mail to Jeffrey Wallace. 3 December 2007.