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An earlier version of this article was written in

2002 and published in the Indiana Postal His-


tory Society Newsletter that same year.

by Thomas Keesling

F
or centuries, scholars
have debated the ques-
tion, “How many angels
can dance on the head of a pin?”
Not to be outdone, Hoosier
postal historians have long won-
dered, “How many discontin-
ued post office (DPO) back-
stamps can be found on a single
postal cover? Or, so I’ve been
told.

The postal cover displayed here


was postmarked October 28,
1906 at Marion, Ohio. Marion is
located about 50 miles north of
Columbus, Ohio. The cover was
addressed to O. T. Lewis at
Spartansburg [sic] Indiana.
Spartanburg (in southeastern
Randolph County) is often mis-
spelled and mispronounced in
this manner.

The back side of this cover re-


ceived cancels at Lynn, Spartan-
burg, and Crete. Spartanburg is about five miles east porated. The CCC & St Louis Railroad served both
northeast of Lynn. Crete is about four miles east of Lynn and Crete, but that line is long gone. Spartan-
Lynn and 1½ miles south of Spartanburg. Of the burg had no rail service. All three communities and
three communities, only Lynn has ever been incor- the railroad are shown on the accompanying maps.

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The addressee was O. T. Lewis. This was probably
Oliver Lewis whose name can be seen on the 1909
plat book map for Greensfork Township. He owned
63 acres of land (circled on the map) along the east
side of the “Boundary Road” southwest of Spartan-
burg and west northwest of Crete. The Boundary
Road follows the western boundary of the conces-
sions made by the Indian tribal leaders when they
and General Wayne negotiated and signed the Trea-
ty of Greenville in 1795.

A post office was originally established at Spartan-


burgh February 10, 1842. The name changed from
Spartanburgh to Spartanburg in 1892. The post office
was discontinued January 15, 1907, shortly after this
cover was processed. The Crete Post Office was es-
tablished December 13, 1882 and then discontinued
August 19, 1890. It was then re-established Septem-
ber 12, 1890 and once again discontinued November
Section of a state map published by the Indiana Secretary of 15, 1918. The Lynn Post Office was established No-
State between 1903 and 1906.
vember 29, 1838, discontinued January 1, 1842, and

Section of the Greensfork Township map from the 1909 Plat Book Randolph County, Indiana .

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then re-established May 23, 1848. The Lynn Post Of- celling devices were sometimes used without updat-
fice still operates today. ing the time of day. The routing of this letter was
probably from Lynn to Crete via the C.C.C. & St.
All three backstamps were applied on October 29. Louis Railroad and then to Spartanburg by horse-
The first to be applied was apparently at Lynn since drawn buggy.
the cancellation indicates 9 am on the 29th. If the date
stamps for Spartanburg and Crete are accurate, then There is an interesting side note for postal historians.
the letter was forwarded to Spartanburg where it When this article was published in 2002, the Spartan-
was backstamped with a Doane cancelling device burg Doane style backstamp on this postal cover was
later that same morning. The letter was then appar- found to be the latest known use for that device at
ently forwarded to Crete where it was backstamped, Spartanburg. It continues to hold that distinction in
again with a Doane device, on the afternoon of the the spring of 2013.
29th prior to delivery to Mr. Lewis.

However, it is more likely that the date stamps for


Spartanburg and/or Crete are incorrect. These can-

My parents grew up in Randolph County, Indiana as did I. Dad and I


both graduated from high school at Lynn while Mom grew up in Spar-
tanburg and graduated from Spartanburg High School.

This postal cover was another piece of Randolph County postal history
that Dad had rescued. His small collection of local postal history con-
tained some items that were unusual and others that were surprisingly
scarce. This is one of a handful of those items I’ve written about. A few
of my articles have appeared in the American Philatelist magazine and
others have been published in the Indiana Postal History Society News-
letter. The original version of this article appeared in the July-September
2002 issue (Vol. 18 Number 2) of the newsletter. This is a revised version
of that original article.