A Stunning

Imperial Mail Marking Machine Cancel

from Ottawa, Canada,

16 July 1897


This cover is stunningly beautiful in it’s simplicity.


ottawa f4 1897 07 16

The envelope appears in size [5 1/8” x 4 3/16”] to be something that we might equate today with a greeting card. 

It’s franked with a very well centred 3¢ rose Queen Victoria Jubilee stamp [Scott/Unitrade No. 53]. The full set of 16 'Jubilee' stamps, ½¢ to $5.00 denominations, were issued on 19 June 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria's 60th year of reign, which began on 20 June 1837.

The stamp was canceled in Ottawa, Canada, on 16 July 1897, less than one month after the stamp was first issued for use.

The cancellation is an almost perfect impression of a dater from an Imperial Mail Marking Machine [Sessions Type Y]1, with an obliterator which also highlights Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubliee on the throne, 1837-1897 [Sessions Type F4]. This particular obliterator was used on the machine in Ottawa only between 21 June 1897 and 6 August 1897.

The cover and it’s now missing contents were addressed to Miss Ida L Garrick, in care of Joseph Garrick, Esquire, in Dunham, Quebec (Missisquoi County).

There is nothing on the cover, front or back, which reveals who the sender was. The flap of the envelopoe was closed with a large wax seal, and a receiver stamp (small broken circle) of Dunham, Que, JY 17 97 appears on the back.

The extra fine appearance of the cancellation impression suggests that this may have been a specially canceled ‘favour cover’, albeit one that passed legitimately through the postal system.

And therein lies some of it’s intrigue.

Ida L Garrick was the daughter of Joseph & Laura Garrick. Joseph Garrick, of Dunham, had married Laura Holden of Sweetsburg [sic], Quebec, in the Anglican church of Frelighsburg on 10 September 1849. Joseph and Laura farmed  450 acres on Lot 6 Range 8 in Dunham Township, which they owned outright. By 1871, they had five children – Allice, born in about 1851; Ida Louisa, born in about 1853; [George] Hannibal, born in about 1855; George, 1857; and Laura, born around 1859. Ida was still residing within the family home in the spring of 1891, when she was said to be 34 years of age.

But marriage was soon in the air – on 8 September 1897, Ida Louisa Garrick, the daughter of Joseph Garrick and his wife Laura Holden, was married to John Henry Bartlett.

John Henry Bartlett had been born in Falmouth, Cornwall, England, on 9 August 1836. He was the son of John & Ann Bartlett of that place, and he was baptised in the Anglican church there on 28 August 1836. John Henry was the elder John and Ann’s first or oldest child. Some time in the early 1840s, John and Ann and family emigrated to North America, and John the elder found work as a carpenter in Sutton Township, Missisquoi County, Quebec. Ann died there in 1851, or a bit earlier, and John Henry Bartlett was married to Ann [McKerley ?] a few years later. By 1881, John Henry Bartlett was said to be a ‘clerk’ who was residing in Ottawa with his wife and 5 children. Ann [McKerley ?] Bartlett died in Ottawa in 1895, at which time husband John H. was said to be a 'civil servant'.

When John Henry Bartlett was married to Ida Louisa Garrick on 8 September 1897, he was said at the time of marriage to be a widower, and was again described as being a ‘Civil Servant, Ottawa’. Indeed Lists of Canadian Civil Servants that were published in the 1880s and 1890s, show that John Henry Bartlett was a 2nd Class Clerk in the Post Office Department at the Ottawa Post Office, a position which he had occupied since 7 October 1878.

Ida and John Henry resided in Nepean Township, Carleton County, Ontario – just outside of the City of Ottawa, after marriage. John Henry was a witness when his mother-in-law Laura Garrick’s remains were buried in Dunham on 25 April, 1901. He was also undoubtedly present when Joseph Garrick’s remains were also buried in Dunham on 23 October 1903.

John Henry Bartlett himself died in Dunham, Quebec, on 28 February 1923, and his remains were interred in The Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa. Ida Louisa (nee Garrick) Bartlett died in Dunham, and her remains were interred in the Methodist Cemetery at Frelighsburg on 17 December 1928, 77 years if age.

So, rather than a specially canceled ‘favour cover’, this now appears to have been cover which must have held a card of some kind, sent by John Henry Bartlett, a clerk in the Ottawa Post Office, to his fiance, just a short while before they were married at the Bride’s father’s home in Dunham, Quebec, on 8 September 1897. It's unfortunate that there's a small tear at the top on the front, just above the flag of the obliterator, but this does not detract from it's superb appearance at all.


1    Sessions, David F.; The Early Rapid Cancelling Machines of Canada; The Canadian Philatelic Society of Great Britain and Unitrade Associates of Toronto, 1982, 1st Edition. 

Offered for sale at US$100.00

(plus shipping & handling, and applicable taxes)

Contact Bruce D. Murduck   concerning any matter at all.