A little while back, I obtained a nice little cover that marks a first in my Coast Guard Postal History collection. It is my first Revenue Cutter Service item.
The Revenue Cutter Service was established by then Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton in 1790 to enforce tariffs and is a precursor to the US Coast Guard. In 1915, the Revenue Cutter Service and the Lifesaving Service were merged to form the modern US Coast Guard. Some years later, the Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation and the Lighthouse Service would be merged into the Coast Guard.
The cover here was addressed to Mr. Henri De Fries on the USRC Dexter, in Newport, R.I. Unfortunately, I can find no record of who Henri de Fries is or what his role on the ship might be. This letter was mailed in 1888.
The Dexter, however, is a different story. This was the second cutter to bear the name Dexter. The first was commissioned in the Revenue Cutter Service from 1830 to 1841.
The Dexter of my cover was commissioned from 1874 to 1908. She primarily patrolled from Long Island Sound up to Nantucket, conducting law enforcement and search and rescue. During the Spanish-American War, she conducted patrols along the east coast and Caribbean Coast to protect Army shore installations.
In 1906 she struck a barge, and her engines became disabled. Two years later, she was sold to Aiken Towing Company of Pensacola, Florida, and renamed the Leroy. Two years after that, she sank off Pensacola.
My first joy regarding this cover is that it is a philatelic item from the US Revenue Cutter Service. I rarely run across those items; when I do, they are usually out of my financial reach. I also very much appreciate the clear address and the postmarks, which also are clear and easy to read.
It is a welcome addition to my collection!