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John W. Hill of Waterbury, CT loved to whittle (carve) wood. In 1861 was a disabled soldier in the Civil War and found work at the local Post Office where he put his talent at whittling wood to use on their cancellation device. Stamps were principally cancelled by cork cancels with designs created by the local postmasters. John used the most dense cork he could find to give good detail to his creations.The most common design being a circle with two crossed lines resulting in four fairly equal quadrants. There are few cancels as ornate as John Hills. His cancels have become highly collectible and quite valuable. However their main attraction is their simple beauty.
Here are a few of the more distinctive postmarks from John Hill.