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Exhibits | Dakota Territory
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The Postal History of Mitchell, Dakota Territory
Mitchell was born of the railroad's westward expansion. In 1879, two railroads were headed into Davison County: one from Yankton, Dakota Territory, and one from Sanborn, Iowa. Railroad officials preferred directing the construction toward existing settlements; however, Firesteel (at the time, the county seat of Davison County) was deemed flood-prone. Several enterprizing businessmen quickly siezed the opportunity, platting a town some two miles west of Firesteel. Mitchell was established as the new railroad junction town, named in honor of then-president of the Milwaukee railroad, Alexander Mitchell.

The post office at Mitchell, Dakota Territory was established Nov 17, 1879 with John W. Walsh as the first postmaster. Although Mitchell quickly grew into the dominant commercial center of the area, it was only the fourth earliest post office established in Davison County, following Firesteel in 1871, Chanka in 1875, and Morriston in 1876. This exhibit encompasses the postal history of Mitchell, Dakota Territory (1879 to 1889). Mitchell, Dak. Dec 20 (1880) postmark in blue on first issue government postal card. Earliest known postmark from Mitchell, Dakota Territory. Only known example of this type postmark.
Mitchell, Dakota Territory - Postmark Devices
Mitchell, Dak. Dec 20 (1880) postmark in blue on first issue government postal card. Earliest known postmark from Mitchell, Dakota Territory. Only known example of this type postmark.
Mitchell, Dak. Dec 20 (1880) postmark in blue on first issue government postal card. Earliest known postmark from Mitchell, Dakota Territory. Only known example of this type postmark. [Enlarge 326 KB]
Mitchell, Dakota Ter. Aug 29 1881 sawtoothed oval postmark in purple with bullseye killer on 3c banknote issue stamp. Postmark known used from Feb 10, 1881 to Aug 29, 1881.
Mitchell, Dakota Ter. Aug 29 1881 sawtoothed oval postmark in purple with bullseye killer on 3c banknote issue stamp. Postmark known used from Feb 10, 1881 to Aug 29, 1881. [Enlarge 566 KB]
Mitchell, Dak. Oct 12 1881 postmark in purple with quartered cork killer on 3c banknote stamp. Postmark known used from Oct 6, 1881 to Dec 13, 1881.
Mitchell, Dak. Oct 12 1881 postmark in purple with quartered cork killer on 3c banknote stamp. Postmark known used from Oct 6, 1881 to Dec 13, 1881. [Enlarge 326 KB]
Mitchell, Dak. Mar 24 (1882) postmark in black with cork killer on 3c green banknote stamp. Postmark known used from Feb 14, 1882 to Apr 3, 1882. Enclosed letter transcribed, in part, below (with spelling in kind).
Mitchell, Dak. Mar 24 (1882) postmark in black with cork killer on 3c green banknote stamp. Postmark known used from Feb 14, 1882 to Apr 3, 1882. Enclosed letter transcribed, in part, below (with spelling in kind). [Enlarge 259 KB]
Mt Vernon Davison Co., Dakota Terr
L.P. Sherman Ft. Thompson Dak.

Dear Bro. I am about to answer your letter of March 12th. which I received March 16th 1882. I am very much pleased to hear that you and Valentine are doing so well and getting so high wages. I was informed in your letter that your position now is Agency Overseer and Store Keeper, and are getting a Salry of 75 Dollars per month, and I seene in your letter that Valentine is Agency Clerk, and is getting 100 Dollars per month, in your letter you write that you cant get a place for me now at Crow Creek Agency Dak. and that there is now show for me now. if we would get a Scool here this winter that would probably do me just as much good I think we will have a School here by next winter. I am bound to learn something and I will do so too. Bro John A is thinking about going to Crow Creek Agency Dakota Terr Bro Valentine wrote him some time ago and wrote him that he could get him a place for about 50 Dollars per month. I think we can get along along this summer, the weather down here changes considerable March 14th we had quite a Hurricane and a thundershower March 20th had quite a Blizzard but now the snow is most all gone and it is very nice and warm. ...we had to quit diging on the well because we had no more Boards to Board it out and whitout having it Boarded out where we can dig from now on it will cave in because the Blue Clay is getting so wet that it will cave right in. we are now down 55 feet. we found some large pieces of Coal in the well.
...I must close my writeing for this time all well hoping that you all are the same of your Bro
           Joseph A. Sherman
           Mt Vernon Davison Co., Dakota Terr
Mitchell, Dak. Jul 28, 1882 postmark in black with bullseye killer on 3c banknote stamp. Postmark known used from Apr 21, 1882 to Mar 11, 1883.
Mitchell, Dak. Jul 28, 1882 postmark in black with bullseye killer on 3c banknote stamp. Postmark known used from Apr 21, 1882 to Mar 11, 1883. [Enlarge 479 KB]
Mitchell, Dak. Nov 17 (1884) postmark in black with barred killer on 2c banknote stamp. The return addressee, O.T. Letcher, was part owner of the townsite of Letcher, a community about 17 miles northwest of Mitchell. Postmark known used from Apr 4, 1883 to Dec 30, 1884.
Mitchell, Dak. Nov 17 (1884) postmark in black with barred killer on 2c banknote stamp. The return addressee, O.T. Letcher, was part owner of the townsite of Letcher, a community about 17 miles northwest of Mitchell. Postmark known used from Apr 4, 1883 to Dec 30, 1884. [Enlarge 402 KB]
Mitchell, Dak. M.O.B. Aug 13 1885 octagon postmark in black as received marking on cover mailed to Mitchell. Postmark known used from Feb 21, 1885 to Aug 13, 1885.
Mitchell, Dak. M.O.B. Aug 13 1885 octagon postmark in black as received marking on cover mailed to Mitchell. Postmark known used from Feb 21, 1885 to Aug 13, 1885. [Enlarge 261 KB]
Mitchell, Dak. Oct 12, 1885 postmark in black with star killer on 2c banknote stamp. Postmark known used from Jan 27, 1885 to Jul 15, 1887.
Mitchell, Dak. Oct 12, 1885 postmark in black with star killer on 2c banknote stamp. Postmark known used from Jan 27, 1885 to Jul 15, 1887. [Enlarge 554 KB]
Mitchell, Dak. Oct 19 11AM 1888 postmark in black with duplex killer on 2c green banknote stamp. Postmark known used from Jul 11, 1887 to Feb 18, 1890 (into statehood).
Mitchell, Dak. Oct 19 11AM 1888 postmark in black with duplex killer on 2c green banknote stamp. Postmark known used from Jul 11, 1887 to Feb 18, 1890 (into statehood). [Enlarge 503 KB]
Mitchell, Dak. May 15 630PM 1889 postmark in black with duplex killer on 2c green banknote stamp. Mayor's Office corner card with South Dakota designation, in anticipation of statehood about six months later. Same type postmark as previous cover.
Mitchell, Dak. May 15 630PM 1889 postmark in black with duplex killer on 2c green banknote stamp. Mayor's Office corner card with South Dakota designation, in anticipation of statehood about six months later. Same type postmark as previous cover. [Enlarge 296 KB]
Mitchell, Dakota Territory - Bank Corner Cards
Mitchell, Dakota Ter. Aug 17, 1881 sawtooted oval postmark in purple with bullseye killer on 3c green banknote stamp. Exchange Bank of Mitchell, Dak. corner card.
Mitchell, Dakota Ter. Aug 17, 1881 sawtooted oval postmark in purple with bullseye killer on 3c green banknote stamp. Exchange Bank of Mitchell, Dak. corner card. [Enlarge 254 KB]
Mitchell, Dak. Aug 1, 1886 postmark in black with 'S' in circle killer on 2c brown banknote stamp. The 'S' killer is likely for George A Silsby, who was postmaster from Mar 24, 1884 to Oct 8, 1886. Davison Bros., Bankers, Mitchell, Dak. corner card.
Mitchell, Dak. Aug 1, 1886 postmark in black with "S" in circle killer on 2c brown banknote stamp. The "S" killer is likely for George A Silsby, who was postmaster from Mar 24, 1884 to Oct 8, 1886. Davison Bros., Bankers, Mitchell, Dak. corner card. [Enlarge 465 KB]
Mitchell, Dak. Dec 28 230PM 1887 postmark in black with duplex killer on 2c printed stamped envelope. The Security Bank, Mitchell, Dakota corner card.
Mitchell, Dak. Dec 28 230PM 1887 postmark in black with duplex killer on 2c printed stamped envelope. The Security Bank, Mitchell, Dakota corner card. [Enlarge 325 KB]
Verso of cover shown above, illustrating a 'Map of the Corn Belt of South Dakota' and showing Mitchell as the railway hub of eastern South Dakota. It is interesting to note the use of the term 'South Dakota', even though statehood was nearly two years away.
Verso of cover shown above, illustrating a "Map of the Corn Belt of South Dakota" and showing Mitchell as the railway hub of eastern South Dakota. It is interesting to note the use of the term "South Dakota", even though statehood was nearly two years away. [Enlarge 276 KB]
Mitchell, Dakota Territory - Hotel Corner Cards
Mitchell, Dak. Apr 21, 1882 postmark in black with bullseye killer on 3c green banknote stamp. G. F. Bowman, Exchange Hotel, Elkton, D.T. corner card. Apparently carried by a traveler on the railroad from Elkton (in Brookings County) to Mitchell, where it was mailed.
Mitchell, Dak. Apr 21, 1882 postmark in black with bullseye killer on 3c green banknote stamp. G. F. Bowman, Exchange Hotel, Elkton, D.T. corner card. Apparently carried by a traveler on the railroad from Elkton (in Brookings County) to Mitchell, where it was mailed. [Enlarge 511 KB]
Mitchell, Dak. Apr 13, (1883) postmark in black with quarted cork killers on 3c green and 10c brown banknote stamps making up registered rate. Alex Mitchell House, Mitchell, Dakota corner card.
Mitchell, Dak. Apr 13, (1883) postmark in black with quarted cork killers on 3c green and 10c brown banknote stamps making up registered rate. Alex Mitchell House, Mitchell, Dakota corner card. [Enlarge 477 KB]
Mitchell, Dakota Territory - Attorney Corner Cards
Mitchell, Dak. Dec 9 (1883) postmark in black with solid star killer on 2c brown banknote stamp. D.A. Mizener, Attorney at Law, Mitchell, Dakota corner card.
Mitchell, Dak. Dec 9 (1883) postmark in black with solid star killer on 2c brown banknote stamp. D.A. Mizener, Attorney at Law, Mitchell, Dakota corner card. [Enlarge 360 KB]
Mitchell, Dak. Oct 16, 1885, postmark in black with solid star killer on 2c brown banknote stamp. John Foster, Attorney at Law, Mitchell, Dak corner card. The blacking out of this corner card suggests is was used by another sender.
Mitchell, Dak. Oct 16, 1885, postmark in black with solid star killer on 2c brown banknote stamp. John Foster, Attorney at Law, Mitchell, Dak corner card. The blacking out of this corner card suggests is was used by another sender. [Enlarge 353 KB]
Mitchell, Dakota Territory - Other Business Usages
Mitchell, Dak. Jan 5, 1883 postmark in black on government postal card. "Dakota Advocate" magazine back ad. [Enlarge 500 KB]
Mitchell, Dak. Jan 5, 1883 postmark in black on government postal card. 'Dakota Advocate' magazine back ad.
Mitchell, Dak. Dec 28 3PM 1889, postmark in black with duplex killer on 2c green banknote stamp. M.F. Duncan, Livery, Feed and Sale Stable, Mitchell, Dak. corner card.
Mitchell, Dak. Dec 28 3PM 1889, postmark in black with duplex killer on 2c green banknote stamp. M.F. Duncan, Livery, Feed and Sale Stable, Mitchell, Dak. corner card. [Enlarge 325 KB]
Mitchell, Dakota Territory - Official Usages
Mitchell, Dak. Jan 20 (1884) postmark in black with cork killer on 3c Department of Interior stamp. United States land Office, Mitchell Dak. Ter. penalty envelope with rare usage of Official stamp from Dakota Territory.
Mitchell, Dak. Jan 20 (1884) postmark in black with cork killer on 3c Department of Interior stamp. United States land Office, Mitchell Dak. Ter. penalty envelope with rare usage of Official stamp from Dakota Territory. [Enlarge 458 KB]
Mitchell, Dak. May 1 130PM 1888, postmark in black with duplex killer on Department of Interior penalty envelope.
Mitchell, Dak. May 1 130PM 1888, postmark in black with duplex killer on Department of Interior penalty envelope. [Enlarge 183 KB]
Mitchell, Dakota Territory - Territorial Fairs
Mitchell, Dakota (Sept 26-30, 1887) unused envelope with printed overall back ad for the Third Annual Territorial Fair of Dakota, to be held in Mitchell
Mitchell, Dakota (Sept 26-30, 1887) unused envelope with printed overall back ad for the Third Annual Territorial Fair of Dakota, to be held in Mitchell [Enlarge 325 KB]
Mitchell, Dak. Jul 25 300PM 1888 postmark in black with duplex killer on 2c green banknote stamp. Western Loan and Trust Co, Mitchell Dakota corner card. Illustrated ad showing Mitchell as 'The Railway Metropolis' (numerous other eastern South Dakota towns also proclaimed themselves as the railway hub). In addition, this cover features a discrete advertisement within the address area for the Fourth Annual Territorial Fair of Dakota.
Mitchell, Dak. Jul 25 300PM 1888 postmark in black with duplex killer on 2c green banknote stamp. Western Loan and Trust Co, Mitchell Dakota corner card. Illustrated ad showing Mitchell as "The Railway Metropolis" (numerous other eastern South Dakota towns also proclaimed themselves as the railway hub). In addition, this cover features a discrete advertisement within the address area for the Fourth Annual Territorial Fair of Dakota. [Enlarge 529 KB]
Mitchell, Dakota Territory - Agent and Railway Post Office Markings
Cal & Mitchell Agt. Sep 30 1882 postmark in black with solid 'W' (western portion of the line) killer on government postal card. The Calmar (Iowa) to Mitchell line of the Milwaukee system ran for 332 miles.
Cal & Mitchell Agt. Sep 30 1882 postmark in black with solid "W" (western portion of the line) killer on government postal card. The Calmar (Iowa) to Mitchell line of the Milwaukee system ran for 332 miles. [Enlarge 478 KB]
Manilla & Mitchell R.P.O. Apr 8 EAST 1889, postmark in black with cork killer on 2c green banknote adhesive. The Manilla (Iowa) to Mitchell line of the Milwaukee system ran for 228 miles. University of Dakota (Vermillion) corner card.
Manilla & Mitchell R.P.O. Apr 8 EAST 1889, postmark in black with cork killer on 2c green banknote adhesive. The Manilla (Iowa) to Mitchell line of the Milwaukee system ran for 228 miles. University of Dakota (Vermillion) corner card. [Enlarge 511 KB]
Orton & Mitchell R.P.O. Dec 18, 1887 postmark in black with solid 'E' (eastern portion of the line) killer on 2c brown postal stationery envelope. The Ortonville (Minnesota) to Mitchell line of the Milwaukee system ran for 238 miles.
Orton & Mitchell R.P.O. Dec 18, 1887 postmark in black with solid "E" (eastern portion of the line) killer on 2c brown postal stationery envelope. The Ortonville (Minnesota) to Mitchell line of the Milwaukee system ran for 238 miles. [Enlarge 325 KB]
St.Paul & Mitch R.P.O. Aug 2 1889 WEST postmark in black with cork killer on 2c green postal stationery envelope. The Saint Paul (Minnesota) to Mitchell line of the Milwaukee system ran for 426 miles.
St.Paul & Mitch R.P.O. Aug 2 1889 WEST postmark in black with cork killer on 2c green postal stationery envelope. The Saint Paul (Minnesota) to Mitchell line of the Milwaukee system ran for 426 miles. [Enlarge 402 KB]
Worth & Mitchell R.P.O. Oct 17, 1889 postmark in black with quartered cork killer on government postal card. The Worthington (Minnesota) to Mitchell line of the Chicago and Northwestern system ran for 134 miles.
Worth & Mitchell R.P.O. Oct 17, 1889 postmark in black with quartered cork killer on government postal card. The Worthington (Minnesota) to Mitchell line of the Chicago and Northwestern system ran for 134 miles. [Enlarge 325 KB]
Calmar & Chamb W.D. R.P.O. Jun 12, 1888 postmark in black with light cork killer on 2c brown banknote stamp. The Calmar (Iowa) to Chamberlain line of the Milwaukee system ran for 399 miles. The 'W.D.' denotes the 'Western Division' of the route. Sanborn House, Mitchell, Dak corner card noting 'Bus to and from all Trains.
Calmar & Chamb W.D. R.P.O. Jun 12, 1888 postmark in black with light cork killer on 2c brown banknote stamp. The Calmar (Iowa) to Chamberlain line of the Milwaukee system ran for 399 miles. The "W.D." denotes the "Western Division" of the route. Sanborn House, Mitchell, Dak corner card noting 'Bus to and from all Trains. [Enlarge 448 KB]

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