Beginning in 1855, the Post Office provided a registry service to more securely move high-value matter through the mail system. Indemnity, or insurance for loss, was not offered until 1898.
This cover is an example of registered mail from that period of no indemnity. Note the "Registered No. 9" notation on the left of Figure 1. It was sent from Claremont, Minnesota to Winona, Minnesota, a distance of about 80 miles, on January 6, 1873. The cover includes 18-cents worth of postage, which covered the 3-cent letter rate plus the 15-cents for registry service. The four stamps on the cover are:
US Scott catalog #150, a 10-cent stamp depicting Alexander Hamilton;
US Scott #159, a 6-cent stamp depicting Abraham Lincoln; and
2 copies of US Scott #145, a 1-cent stamp depicting Benjmain Franklin.
Minnesota was hit by a major blizzard January 7-10, 1873, so it would be interesting to know if this cover reached Winona in a timely manner. Unfortunately, there is no received postmark to indicate when it arrived.
The cover was likely sent by Henry Riddle (see the name "H. Riddle" in Figure 2), who is listed as a farmer residing in Claremont in the 1870 US Census. Mr. Riddle was born in New York in 1832. He must have moved to Wisconsin at some point because he served in a Wisconsin infantry unit during the Civil War. He married after the war and settled in Claremont. He died at age 78 in 1911 at his daughter's home in Minneapolis (i). He was buried at Lakewood Cemetery in Minneapolis.
The cover's recipient was Sidney C. White, a wholesale grocer in Winona. Mr. White was born in 1831 and died at age 78 in 1910. According to his obituary in the April 10, 1910, edition of the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Mr. White was in the grocery business for 50 years. He was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in Winona.
Figure 1 - Front
Figure 2 - Back