The Reverend J.W. Poland began in the proprietary medicine business when he became very ill and studied medicine to treat himself. He devised Dr. Poland's Cough Medicine, which reputedly cured him and some others who tried it, and off he went, developing Poland's Cedar Plaster, Poland's Canker and Chilblain Killer, Poland's White Mountain Bitters, Poland's Diarrhoea Elixir, and so on and so forth. He used general issue proprietary stamps for his products, and his mortar and pestle cancel is sought after.
Around 1864 Poland transferred some of his products to George W. Swett, M.D. of Boston. Swett eventually had a private die proprietary stamp prepared. It was issued from November of 1866 until January 8, 1870. 143,625 were printed, all on old paper.
Swett seems to have disappeared from the records after 1872. At that time the Reverend Doctor Poland transferred all of his remaining medicines to Littlefield & Hayes, who presumably ordered the four-cent green Swett stamps in 1876. These were last delivered prior to the end of 1879. 5,248 were issued on silk and watermarked papers. They are known perforated and die cut with perforations. This perforated copy is on silk paper.