Today I present THE Mendocino cover. I believe this is the earliest known cover from the town of Mendocino. The town mark cancel tells us this was posted before July 1 1860 when the POD prohibited the use of the town mark to cancel the stamp. C H Randall was pretty rough when he opened this cover. The large tear on the front is sealed with document repair tape. Both edges of the tear have accumulated dirt over the years and it is too fragile to clean completely.
Because the white population was so small (55 in 1850), and the county so large, the first post office in the county was Russian River (Now Healdsburg), then part of Mendocino county. That Office opened Nov 1 1854, the 1855 boundary change mover Russian River into Sonoma county, Apr 27 1855. No known post marks from the Mendocino period.
This link will show an interactive California county formation map, scroll down below map, click on year to see counties change.http://www.mapofus.org/california/
Mendocino post office was opened Dec 1 1858. Because of the POD's rule concerning use of town marks as cancelers, this cover could only been mailed in 1859 or 1860. Mendocino County did not have a central government until Jan 24 1860.
Judge C H Randall is my last clue as to the date of this cover.
JUDGE CHARLES H. RANDALL (1824-1891)
Judge Randall, now the editor of the Union Democrat and a resident of Sonora during some thirty years, and, withal, one of the most widely-known and honored of all those who have owned Tuolumne as their home, has kindly put the publisher of this book in possession of a few plain facts relating to his life, of which of the following are subjoined:
The Judge was born in Providence, Rhode Island, June 7, 1824. Went from there to New York City in 1844, from New York City to Tennessee in 1846, coming to California around Cape Horn, landing in San Francisco September 9, 1849. In that year he mined at Weber Creek, a tributary of the American River. In 1850 he went to Central America, spent the winter in Nicaragua, returned to California in 1851, and came to Chili Camp, Tuolumne County in that spring. Followed mining in the county until the fall of 1853.
In October 1853, he entered the Sheriff's Office under Major P. L. Solomon, continuing with him during the term, or until the spring of 1856. Solomon was appointed United States Marshal in 1857 and Mr. Randall was Deputy in his office until the fall of 1858, when he returned to Sonora and entered the mercantile business with the late James Lane, doing business under the firm name of Lane & Randall until 1862. In 1861 he was elected Supervisor and served six years. In 1867 he was elected County Judge, serving from June 1, 1868 to January 1, 1872. In 1869 he bought the Union-Democrat, conducting it until August 1875, when he sold it and moved to San Francisco. In two years he came back and bought into the Democrat again, where he now is.
In politics he was originally a Whig. After the Presidential election of 1852 he was identified with no political party until 1856, since which time he has supported the Democratic party. Most of the time since 1856 he has been an active partisan and has taken much interest in the welfare of the county. The Judge was one of the mass in early times and saw many of the exciting scenes of those days. He says, "I hope to always live in the county, for it is my home and all other places are strange to me compared with it."
It may not be out of place to say that he has been an active Odd Fellow since 1846, was Grand Master of the State of California in 1878-79 and has represented the Grand Encampment of California in the Sovereign Grand Lodge, I.O.O.F. for five sessions.
This is the Williams listing for Mendocino. I believe this Feb 17 Mendocino postmark proceeds the penciled in date of 1861, making this listing out of order. I think that the Feb 10 Men 2330 was a late emergency use of an old town mark.
There is nothing on the front or back of the cover to indicate forwarding.