This J.C. Wilson patriotic Maple Leaf For Ever Type II, variety E-2 cover was postally used from Colesberg, C.G.H. on October 28, 1900 to Miss Helen R. Livermore, 358 Linden Street, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A. / Shelby Co., bearing three Cape of Good Hope 1d stamps with a pair of Colesberg squared circle cancels. Helen R. Livermore was born about 1885, and by 1930, was living in Shelby, Tennessee.
Colesberg was in the north of Cape of Good Hope. It was founded in 1830 as Toverberg, and was renamed Colesberg after Sir Galbraith Lowry Cole, then Governor of the Cape Colony. The town was on one of the well-travelled routes used by traders, hunters and explorers to gain access to the interior. Colesberg saw a large number of battles and skirmishes during the second Anglo-Boer War.
Colesberg was one of the first districts in the Karoo to be invaded during the Anglo-Boer War when the Boers crossed the Orange River on November 14, 1899, and occupied the town. From November 1899 to February 1900, Colesberg was the southern front of the war. Later, starting about October 1900 when this cover was dispatched, the guerrilla war phase of the Boer War commenced, when the Boers undertook raids with small and mobile military units under the leadership of Louis Botha, Christiaan de Wet, Jan Smuts and de la Rey. Colesberg saw action during what was referred to as the Great de Wet Hunt; the Canadian Contingents participated in the 1st de Wet Hunt.
The J.C. Wilson cover use from the Boer War to the USA is quite scarce—this being the only one that I have seen. As it was not sent within the British Empire, it could not be sent at the soldiers’ preferred postage rate, which would have been 1d.
At right, the reverse of the cover, with a Memphis November 27, 1900 receiving cancel. The use of the E-2 variety of this design was also uncommon. Unlike the cover variety with the Nelson Lodge imprint, which was distributed to soldiers in South Africa, this design would have been brought to South Africa by a soldier for use from there.
This cover was formerly part of the extensive Boer War collection of Bill Hart, and was sold by auction in 1993.