Aroostook County Postal History


The Line Rate


In 1851 the Postmaster of St. John, New Brunswick wrote the U.S. Postmaster General in Washington and suggested that adjoining towns along the U.S.—N.B. border have a 2 cent rate between them. In particular he mentioned Calais-St. Stephen, St. Andrews-Robinston, And Woodstock-Houlton. Evidently this 2 cent rate or 1 pence rate had been a local practice prior to the 1851 agreement. The U.S. Postmaster agreed to the rate between Calais and St. Stephen, but refused the other two as the distance was more than 5 miles. Evidently the rate was later agreed upon, but was only used sporadically and few covers have survived. Perhaps much of the population was not aware of the rate. Although the “United States Mail and Post Office Assistant” of August 1863 comments on it as if it were general knowledge, the 1863 and 1867 “Canadian Postal Guides” make no mention of it.

U.S. 1863, 2˘ black (Scott No. 73)

 Cancelled by cork with matching "Houlton, ME Feb 21" c.d.s. to Woodstock, NB, 2˘ line rate, black "U. States" Houlton exchange marking, 1867 Woodstock backstamp..

U.S. 1869, 2˘ brown (Scott No. 113)

Cancelled by bold cork cancel duplex with "Houlton, ME Jan 28" datestamp to Woodstock, NB, 2˘ line rate, "Paid 2" handstamp, 1870 Woodstock backstamp.


Aroostook Postal History