The Port of Philadelphia was established more than 300 years ago during the colonial period, and was for a time the busiest port in both that period and the earliest years of the new republic, finally being eclipsed by the Port of New York. In much of the 20th Century, the Port was overseen by the city's Department of Wharves, Docks, and Ferries, which was replaced by the quasi-public Philadelphia Port Corporation in 1964. Many war ships were built at the Port for use in the Civil War.
Offering 24 certificates listing the name of WILLIAM B. THOMAS, an abolitionist and a close friend of President Lincoln, as collector of the port. Approximately 3 ½ x 6 ½, each certificate is on yellow paper.
Each certificate asserts the “Healthy State” of various vessels and covers various dates in April 1864. Each contains the name of the captain and his ship and is signed by the port’s health officer, including George Rush Smith and William Reed. The originating country is also listed.
In the 1850s, Thomas became an early abolitionist and supporter of the Republican Party. He was in Baltimore during the secession fervor in Maryland in April 1861 and wielded a knife to help defend the Union cause. He served as the colonel of the 20th Pennsylvania Volunteer Militia. He and the 20th fought at Gettysburg. Lincoln rewarded THOMAS with the customs position after considering him for a cabinet position.
The certificates are in very good condition.
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