October 3rd, 2007
It was in 1822 that mail for westerly points began to pass through Watsonburg and across the river by ferry which Daniel Caldwell (1775-1836) had established about the first of the century. Samuel McKee (1794-1869) carried the weekly route by horseback but Caldwell was the owner of the business, having procured it under the administration of James Monroe. It was on January 10, 1828 that a post office was established in what would become Watsontown with the appointment of David Watson as postmaster. In the early days the location of the post office was determined by the postmaster which was most commonly the postmaster’s place of business. For the first twenty-six years the mail was delivered to David Watson’s store on the southeast corner of Front and Canal Street.
The next site of the post office was Minerva Hall on the southeast corner of Brimmer Avenue and Main Street. Around 1875 Minerva Hall was destroyed by fire. In the early 1880s the post office was moved to the Watsontown Boot and Shoe Building located at 222 Main Street, where it remained for approximately 70 years. It was not until September 1, 1953 that due to extensive growth in postal business made it necessary to relocate to larger quarters in the Houseknecht Building at 26 East Fourth Street. The office moved to the present location on August 22, 1964 and two days later opened for business. The building was dedicated October 17, 1964 and contains 3,021 square feet gross area interior, besides 236 square feet mailing platform, 4,502 square feet of maneuvering area, in addition to sidewalks and lawn area of 1,081 square feet. The box lobby has 175 lock boxes and a separate service lobby provides pleasant surroundings for patrons to transact other postal business. The work room section is of ample size to process mail efficiently and expediently. The interior of the building is air conditioned for summer comfort and heated in the winter months by gas, the system being hot water with radiant type construction in the floor. Postal receipts govern the class of a post office.
The Watsontown office was third class until July 1, 1921, when it was advanced to second class. However, on July 1, 1933, due to decline in revenue, the office was relegated to third class. For seven years it remained at this level but on July 1, 1940, was again advanced to second class. The office remains in the top bracket of second class. Rural delivery began on March 1, 1902 with William H. Trick (1860-1941) and Edward R. Taggart (1868-1940) serving as rural carriers on route No. 1 and No. 2 respectively. Samuel Bryson (1865-1940) replaced Mr. Trick on June 16, 1902, and served the route until his retirement. The Record and Star notified the citizens of Watsontown that they would have to provide a private mail receptacle – either a cut in the front door or a suitable box selected by the patron – in order to receive home delivery. Delivery within the town was officially started May 1, 1917 with James K. Huther (1875-1968) as the first carrier. He covered the town twice daily and walked approximately 15 miles each day. His starting pay was $50 a month. Alfred D. Roth (1890-1975) became a full time carrier in 1940 when J.K. Huther retired from the postal service and continued as a regular city carrier until he retired in 1960 at the age of 70. City delivery replaced village delivery on March 1, 1944 when the postal regulations discontinued village delivery. Parcel post delivery began on October 1, 1925 with packages being delivered once each day. Warren M. Johnson (1889-1974), a substitute carrier at that time, was responsible for this service and used a push cart in making delivery of parcels. W.M. Johnson became a clerk in the post office in 1930 and continued in that capacity until his retirement on December 31, 1959. It was not until July 15, 1953, that a contract vehicle was hired to make parcel post delivery and collections from the street letter boxes.
Postmasters since 1828
|David Watson||January 10, 1828||Daniel L. Grier||April 1, 1905|
|Edmund L. Piper||July 18, 1854||Dr. Henry R. Hummel||July 27, 1914|
|Joseph P. Hogue||July 12, 1861||David F. Barr||April 23, 1920|
|Enos Everitt||March 25, 1868||David L. Bly||October 1, 1924|
|Philip Shay||November 16, 1868||Mae Morgan Beagle||October 1, 1934|
|Joseph S. Wagner||April 29, 1869||Paul C. Klapp||September 30, 1949|
|James D. Caldwell||July 5, 1871||Albert Koons||June 14, 1973|
|Philip Shay||January 1879||Herbert D. Cohick||December 15, 1979|
|Mary V. Shay||February 9, 1885||Richard W. Herbert||March 23, 1991|
|Catherine J. Piatt||May 10, 1893||John F. Kane||July 20, 1996|
|Samuel O. Comly||September 18, 1897||Michael S. George||October 16, 2004|
|Dan C. Hogue||January 29, 1902|
[The Record and Star, April 13, 1917, pg 1; The Record and Star, September 4, 1925, pg 8; The Milton Standard, January 4, 1960, pg 5; The Milton Standard, February 23, 1960, pg 5; The Milton Standard, August 11, 1967, pg 5; The Daily Item, Salutes Watsontown Edition, August 13-20, 1967, pg 12; the last five appointments were given to me via the Watsontown Post Office; Watsontown’s 2nd Historic Walking Tour, May 31, 1980] Last Modified: 03.17.09