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I saw a real one cent stamp the other day and it is a beauty with the profile of Benjamin Franklin on it. The stamp was in a business record book that was started in 1867. The stamp had no date on it, but I do know that in 1867 you could send a letter for one cent. In fact, this stamp is still on the letter and it isn’t in the usual place we put them today. This one was about halfway down on the left side. There is no cancellation date on the letter which has only “Dan’l Buckley, Smyrna, Ind.” Mr. Buckley was probably a frugal person because he used the back of the envelope for figuring numbers.

I had never seen a one cent stamp but I’m old enough to have seen and used three cent stamps. It’s not easy to figure out when the one cent stamp stop being used as a one stamp for letters. At least on the Internet I found several dates and learned that a one cent stamp can also have some value to stamp collectors even if it has been cancelled. I wasn’t interested in the money value, but the historical value is right up my alley.

“A few paper items were stuffed into the business record kept by Mr. Buckley. A delightful one advertised “Jaxon Anti-washboard soap makes easy washing,” made in Jackson, Mich. It’s bound to be good because you can do your washing without boiling. You need not rub any but the most soiled darts and those only slightly (I assume the word darts was supposed to be parts). It is perfectly harmless to clothes and hands and it costs no more than ordinary soap. Boil clothes? No thanks.

Another is from the business of Thomson and Trusler who were dealers in “Hardware, guns, ammunition, farm implements and sewing machines etc.” That business was in Greensburg but there is no address. It showed that Dan Buckley owed $3.28. Another ticket was from c. Horstmann, a dealer in dry goods and groceries in Newpoint, Ind.

Buckley’s handwriting is that lovely old writing that is hard for me to read today in many cases. And, of course, he did everything by hand. No computer or even an adding machine. It is a wonderful bit of our history and the history of Smyrna, an unincorporated community that was established in about 1846.

Dan Buckley was 12 years old when his family moved to Marion Township in Decatur County. Dan helped his father John Buckley on the family farm and later was the owner of the farm after buying out his uncle, brother and sister. It was 150 acres of “level land.” The Buckley family had about 80 head of hogs and 20 head of cattle in 1915.With son Edward, Dan also got into the fencing business and later started dealing in farm implements, hardware and buggies and the book Susie loaned me was a record of the business from 1867 to 1892.The family built a beautiful home that is still standing. It was purchased by Irvin and Mary Redelman, Susie Hahn’s parents. Ted and Susie Hahn have lived there since the early 1980s.

The book itself is a treasure. One of the first entries is what John Hamel had purchased on Sept. 29, 1867 which included “2 shoes set; December 18, 2 new shoes plain and 2 shoes sharpened.” The list goes on until June 28, 1868 and most had to do with shoes of some kind. From the looks of a word that I surely am not seeing right, “shoes toad set.” Not human shoes, though. Perhaps horse shoes? Mike Spillman suggested it might be the copper toes that once were put on the shoes of people who rode horses, but maybe there was something else called shoes 150-plus years ago. Does anyone know what that could be?

Decatur County resident Pat Smith may be contacted via this publication at

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