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Bills of Lading - From The Past©

from the Countryman & McDaniel document collections

Voyage of the Schooner Debby Starie - 1801

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A small sliver of paper from the business records of a Savannah merchant in 1801, long since separated from the group and thrown in "Grandpa's trunk", either because it looked interesting, or because it was simply overlooked. To The Cargo Letter, this scrap a paper has proved to be a treasure. The document is an important glimpse to understanding the history of intermodal transportation, kept as a shipping & tax record from 200 years ago. The lessons below may suprise you!
TAX STAMPS: Our color scan of this document is intended to show the rare, embossed tax stamps along the left hand border of the document, a practice that was replaced by actual postage type "tax stamps" within a few years. The emobosed mark was made by the Treasury Deptatment (U.S. Customs Service), amounting to about four cents for our shipment.

"GOOD ORDER & CONDITION": This receipt, the bottom half of the Bill of Lading, notes that the goods were received "in good order and well conditioned". The standard bill of lading term used around the world today is "received in good order & condition". We all understand the modern term to simply mean that the cargo was received "undamaged", but this ancient document teaches us that this shipping term once stood for much more.

Two centuries ago. the phrase "good order", as on our 1801 B/L, stood for good condition, as in "undamaged". However, the term "well conditioned" represented a shipment that was properly "conditioned" for the move, including proper packing and preparation for the rigors of the intended transportation. Indeed, a "in good order and well conditioned" endorsement verfied that there was (a) good condition of goods, and (b) proper packing & presentation for the intended shipment. This shipping term addressed a logical need to confirm these two, important cargo charateristics.

THE CARGO: In the 4th month of 1801, chests of special tea, kegs of lard and barrels of "super fine flour" are sent south on the Schooner Debby Starie to the Port of Savannah, with three bill of lading. Once one of the the bills of lading was surenderd to take delivery of the cargo, the other bills would "stand void". As we alaways remind, the practice of cargo release only with surrendr of a proper bill of lading from the consignee is both ancient and central to modern intermodal practice.

 NOTE: We hope this exercise clearly demonstrates the valuable information and lessons to be learned from Bills of Lading From Our Past©.

Visit our Ocean Cargo Claims Center for more information on the lessons on this page.

Special Note: The images displayed in Bills of Lading - From The Past© are from the physical document collections of Countryman & McDaniel.

These copyrighted materials may not be reproduced without the express written permission of Countryman & McDaniel.

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Voyage of the Schooner Debby Starie - 1801- "good order & conditioning"

Voyage of the Schooner Logan - 1857

Voyage of the Steamboat Genevieve - 1882

The Mysterious Rail Travels of Dr. Hoovner - 1883 - An "HHG Mystery"

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