Jefferson County Post Offices - Then & Now
The cost of mailing a letter and cross-writing
Scope & Content:
Prior to the middle of the 19th century, postage was based on the number of sheets in a letter and the distance the letter traveled. Two sheets of paper cost twice as much to mail as one sheet. As a result, people rarely used envelopes, which would have counted as another sheet; they simply folded their letter so that the outside left a blank spot for the address. To fit even more lines on one page some people cross-wrote their letters. When they reached the end of the page they turned the paper 90 degrees and continued writing as you see in this example.

An 1845 letter to Lt. James B. Lewis from his wife, Ann Hume Lewis, while he was overseas in the Navy. The Lewises lived in the southeastern portion of Jefferson County. (ARC150-JBL-C-3)
Object ID:
ARC150 ve
Search Terms:
Lewis Family
Jefferson County, Virginia
Jefferson County, West Virginia
Lewis, Anne Hume
Lewis, James Battaile
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Cross-written letterCross-written letter