Mail schooner - “Vigilant"

The »Vigilant« in Christiansted harbour, commemorating the centenary ofits suppored participation as »Den Aarvaagne« (Danish for vigilant) in a battle against English warships on March 3,1801. The author documents in this article that it was a mistake,
as the two vessels have been confused.

SHIP MAIL FROM CHRISTIANSTED

Mail between  St.Thomas and St.Croix was often sent by mail schooner "Vigilant" that departed the Chralotte Amalie harbor every Tuesdag and Friday eveningg. It arrived in Christiansted early the next morning, weather permitting, It and other mail carrying ships were subject to the following regulation dated December 2, 1901:

The "Vigilant" letterbox was heavily used by the public who could deposit mail on it after the local post office had closed. St.Thomas used a special four-ring cancel for mail arriving with stamps that had not been canceled. the ring cancel would be used on the stamp(s)  and than the St.Thomas date cancel would be struck on the back . the four ring cancel is commen on DWI stamps demonstrates just how extensive this praticce was. It is, however very rarely seen on bisected mail. The study only located three such items, one being an envelope. 

Somtimes a "C" would also be used to indicate the mail was from Christiansted. Christiansted Post Office did not have a similar arrival cancel. Mail that had beeb deposited in the letterbox while the ship was at St.Thomas would have been canceled "Christiansted" with a date on the stamp since the DWI post office required all stamps to be canceled.

Not all mail between St.Thomas and Frederiksted was routed via Christiansted. The post office also routed mail on ships sailing directly between the two locales. 

 

The St.Thomas Post Office used a four-ring cancel to cancel stamps on mail that arrived without a cancel. It is seen on approximately 1% af bisected mail . (incl. envelopes and on-piece)

"C" indicate the mail was from Christiansted and also backstamped St.Thomas february, 23.

LETTERBOX - EARLIEST REPORTED ST.CROIX POSTMARKS - SENT FROM ST.THOMAS TO CHRISTIANSTED

Letterbox - letter canceled in Christiansted January 23.

As previously mentioned the use of bissected 4 cents stamps on St.Croix was authorized on February 11 and these two letters pre-date that dateby weeks.They are neiher illegitimate nor philatelic. The letter was sent on the ship without being canceled at the St.Thomas Office. 

They were deposited in the ships letter box while it was in the harbor. At arrival in Christiansted they were accepted as legimate mail since they orginated in St.Thomas - and the stamps were cancelled without a postage due penalty.

Letterbox - letter canceled Christiansted January 31, and sent to Frederiksted - backstamped Frederiksted January 31.