Imagine Delaware Township being served by eleven different post offices, nearly all of them located within the township boundaries. This was necessary in the days before “Rural Free Delivery.” Getting one’s mail involved traveling to the nearest village, and in the process getting up to date on local news from others who were also collecting their mail, and visiting stores and taverns while they were at it. It sounds rather appealing, as long as the weather is nice.
In this article, I have listed the post offices first in chronological order and then alphabetically with their postmasters. I am tempted to add more biographical details, but that would turn this post into a book. Stockton has been included only for the time that it was a part of Delaware Township. It did not become an independent borough until 1898.
1827 Sergeantsville (formerly Skunktown)
1832 Saxtonville (Raven Rock)
1845 Croton, name changed from Allerton.
1853 Bool’s Island/Raven Rock
1853 Stockton Post Office
1858 Sand Brook
1887 Grover Post Office
Alphabetical Listing, Post Offices and Postmasters
Note: I will combine the Saxtonville and Bool’s Island/Raven Rock post offices into one entry, under Raven Rock.
Click on this picture to get a better look at the gentlemen on the porch, the post office sign, and the condition of the building, which looks like it has had some rough use.
This post office was established on April 18, 1846, when the name was changed from Allerton to Croton. According to Hubert Schmidt, it was named for the Croton Dam in New York State. It was discontinued on June 29, 1935, when RFD service was provided from Flemington. There were 8 postmasters there in 90 years:
1846 Apr 18 John S. Hockenbury
1850 Apr 26 Johnson Gary
1852 Aug 7 Newton Gary
1856 Apr 5 John S. Bush
1862 Aug 12 Holcombe Warford
1874 Feb 21 George T. Arnwine
1875 Sep 15 Smith Fields
1914 Jun 6 George Cronce, until 1935
Here’s an example of how giving biographical detail could turn this into a book. Smith Fields shows up in several census years. In 1860 he was 37, working as a clerk, living in Flemington with wife Elizabeth 33 and children Samuel 10 and Mary 8. In 1870 he was in Raritan Township, which might have been in the east half of Croton, keeping an oyster saloon, while son Samuel, by then 21, was working there also. The old Etzel store, pictured above, was also situated in the Raritan Township side of Croton. In 1875, Smith Fields was named postmaster of Croton. In 1880 he was a 57-year-old grocer in Delaware Township, and son Samuel was clerking in his store. In 1900, Smith Fields had retired. He was 76 years old, living with son Samuel’s family in Delaware Township, and Samuel was the grocery salesman. The list of postmasters above is vague about who was postmaster in 1900. Perhaps it was the elderly Smith, or perhaps his son Samuel. None of the census records identify either of these men as postmasters. I cannot say exactly when or where Smith Fields died, but someone of that name was recorded as being the same age as the Croton storekeeper, dying on Sept. 1, 1908 in Marion Township, Indiana. Who knows?
Grover Post Office (Headquarters)
It is hard to believe there was no post office here before December 14, 1887 when it ws established with Joseph Denson as postmaster. I am not yet certain, but I believe the post office began with the name Headquarters, but its name was changed to Grover in about 1900, in honor of President Grover Cleveland, a New Jersey native. President Cleveland had two terms of office, first from 1885 to 1889, and then from 1893 to 1897. The post office closed in 1905 and the name reverted to Headquarters. However, Delaware Township resident Edna Garbowski remembers some people calling it Grover as late as the 1930s. I only know of two postmasters at the Grover post office:
1887 Dec 14 Joseph Denson
1903 William Brewer, to 19051
Here is another instance where the list must be incomplete. Joseph Denson, a shoemaker born about 1812, died in 1892 in Delaware Township. That leaves ten years unaccounted for.
Established on Nov. 8, 1856, and re-established on June 27, 1865, with John M. Chamberlin, postmaster and storekeeper. Notice of its opening in the Hunterdon Gazette stated that it was located in Locktown, Kingwood Township. This would have been somewhat north or west of the village itself. When John M. Chamberlin took over, he was apparently also located in Kingwood Township, as the census of 1870 locates him there. By 1880 Chamberlin was operating out of the store in the center of Locktown, in Delaware Township, now the home of Milt Smith. The post office was discontinued on July 30, 1906, with RFD service from Flemington. There were 3 post masters over a period of 50 years.
1856 Nov 8 John Bellis
1864 Apr 9 Post Office discontinued
1865 Jun 27 John M. Chamberlin2
1895 Aug 5 Sarah V. Chamberlin, until 1906
Established on November 24, 1856 at Bowne Station, William Barber, first postmaster. The station was known by several names, but the post office was officially Oakdale. According to E. T. Bush, the post office was relocated to Dilts Corner in 1895, keeping the name Oakdale. It was discontinued on Oct. 31, 1905, with RFD service provided from Stockton. The Oakdale post office had 11 postmasters over 49 years:
1856 Nov 24 William Barber
1865 Dec 5 Peter V. Hartpence
1879 Jun 16 Abner W. Muirhead
1881 Jul 7 William W. Hartpence
1889 Oct 31 Theodore H. Stout
1893 Sep 1 Anna R. Bowne
1894 Jan 31 Eva L. Suydam
1895 Moved to Dilts Corner
1898 Feb 27 Theodore H. Stout
1898 Feb 14 Norman Hartman
1899 May 6 C. S. Suydam
1902 Apr 18 William R. Stevenson
Established Dec. 31, 1817, Wm. L. Prall, son of John Prall Jr., postmaster. Prall ran the store in Prallsville with his cousin Jacob Lambert. They went bankrupt in 1819, and yet, according to this list, Prall was not replaced as postmaster until 1836, and then by his partner, Jacob Lambert. No doubt–there’s a story there. The post office was discontinued June 10, 1853 when it was relocated to Stockton. There were 3 postmasters over 36 years:
1817 Dec 31 William L. Prall
1836 Jul 1 Jacob Lambert
1837 Aug 11 William L. Hoppock3
Raven Rock (Saxtonville & “Bool’s Island”)
The post office at “Saxtonville” was opened in 1832, probably to serve people using the canal when it would open two years later. The post office was closed in 1837, but seems to have been reopened in 1841 when George W. Holcombe was named postmaster. In 1851, with the opening of Bel-Del RR, the post office was moved to “Bool’s Island,” although I do not have the name of the postmaster at that time. The post office at “Raven Rock” was established May 7, 1853, Mahlon H. Hoffman, postmaster. Some years the post office was located in the store, for instance, when George W. Robinson was postmaster. And other years it was located in the railroad station, Both station and post office were closed on June 30, 1936. The postmaster at that time was Earl F. Kerr, and the station master was Fred Moore. From the list below, you will see there was a heavy turnover of postmasters in the 1870s. You will also see that March was the favored month for installing a new postmaster.
Postmasters at Saxtonville (4 in 21 years):
1832 Feb 29 Peter H. Dilts, postmaster
1837 Sep 6 Carmelo F. Carnand4
1837 Oct 2 Post office discontinued
1841 Oct 4 Post office reopened, George W. Holcombe postmaster
1842 May 9 David Phillips, postmaster
1851 Post office closed, moved to “Bool’s Island”
Postmasters at Raven Rock (17 in 83 years):
1853 May 7 M. H. Hoffman
1859 Feb 5 Wesley Johnson
1863 Apr 13 Charles Heath
1867 Jul 16, Aaron Barcroft
1871 Mar 13 William Sherman
1872 Apr 22 Till K. Fieman5
1875 Mar 29 Lorenzo S. Kerr
1877 Mar 11 Thomas McAloan
1878 Mar 17 Cortland Morris
1879 Mar 11 Wilson McClannen
1879 Mar 29 Dora L. Reading
1881 Mar 23 John Hutchinson
1882 Mar 6 George W. Robinson
1888 Apr 17 Henry Hardon
1889 Aug 18 George W. Robinson
1907 Mar 19 Charles G. Melick
1930 Feb 3 Louella E. Trimmer
1930 Aug 15 Earl F. Kerr
This post office got a late start. It originated in the Rosemont store in 1884 and was discontinued in 1906 with RFD service from Stockton. However, it was reopened in 1913, once again, in the store. Life was a little slow in Rosemont back then. When the store had to close around 1944, Ed Sherman moved the post office to his living room, which tells you something about the quantity of mail he had to deal with (not much). There it remained until 1977, when Irene Chipps found that the new businesses in the Cane Farm complex were creating too much mail for her living room to hold. The post office was relocated that year to Cane Farm. There have been 10 postmasters for 128 years, and since this post office is still in operation, there should be a few more.
1884 Apr 2 Ezekiel E. Bonham
1903 Apr 7 Lambert B. Mathews
1913 Jul 2 Charles Place
1923 May 5 Edward T. Sherwood
1955 Jan 31 Irene E. Chipps, acting postmaster
1955 Feb 28 Grace V. Ellis, acting postmaster6
1972 Jan 22 Irene E. Chipps, OIC; postmaster Jan. 22, 19727
1985 Aug 31 Patricia L. Rauschert, OIC; postmaster Dec. 21, 1985
1996 Aug 9 Mark E. Brunner, OIC
1997 Jun 7 Russell P. Orlando, postmaster, to the present date
Established March 19, 1858, Reading Moore its first postmaster. (One of my sources stated that it began in 1848 with John A. Moore as postmaster, but I cannot verify that.) The post office was converted to a “rural station” on Dec. 31, 1959, to extend the rural routes of the Stockton post office. The Sand Brook rural station closed on May 21, 1970. A rural station was where mail was dropped off to be delivered by carriers; not a place where people could pick up their mail. There were 12 postmasters during the 101 years that it served as a post office:
1858 Mar 19 Reading Moore
1860 Mar 23 Caleb F. Wolverton
1878 Aug 26 Amy Wolverton
1884 Mar 17 Joseph S. Fauss
1886 Nov 19 George W. Higgins
1888 Dec 5 George W. Holcombe
1891 Mar 25 Andrew Bearder8
1901 Jan 14 Charles W. Moore
1902 Apr 18 Samuel F. Fauss
1911 Apr 17 Frank Johnson
1924 Oct 16 George Roemlin
1928 Nov 24 Frank Yasunas9
The granddaddy of all the township’s post offices–established 1827, first postmaster Jonas Thatcher. The story of how Skunktown became Sergeantsville when the post office was established has already been mentioned. Mr. Walker mistakenly states that the post office was opened on the northwest corner of the village. On the contrary, Thatcher’s store was located on property originally purchased in the mid-18th century by Amos Thatcher, on the southeast corner. Mr. Walker’s confusion no doubt comes from the fact that there have been stores on three of the four corners of ‘downtown’ Sergeantsville from a very early date.
When Amos Wilson owned the store in 1926, the postmaster was Newton V. Myers, who was also a schoolteacher. At some point, the post office was moved to the Venable Store, on the northwest corner, and later on it moved into the old butcher shop which is the current post office, one of only two remaining post offices in Delaware Township, out of the original eleven. There were 41 postmasters here in 185 years:
1827 Mar 15 Jonas Thatcher
1831 Feb 24 Henry H. Fisher
1834 Nov 24 Samuel Case
1838 Oct 26 Amos Hogeland
1840 Jul 23 John C. Fisher
1842 Jun 21 Amos Hogeland
1842 Dec 23 Samuel R. Smith
1845 Feb 5 Jeremiah Smith10
1845 Feb 17 John Quick
1850 Mar 5 Joseph W. Gano
1851 Apr 10 John C. Laban [Labaw?]
1854 Apr 29 Joseph W. Gano
1856 Apr 11 Charles H. Haines
1859 Jun 16 David Jackson
1862 Aug 21 Henry T. Quick
1864 Mar 23 John F. Shepherd
1866 Mar 22 George W. Mason
1868 May 5 David Jackson
1878 Feb 25 Harriet Jackson
1881 May 17 Asher B. Williamson
1885 Sep 16 George H. Fisher
1887 Oct 5 Joseph Lewis
1889 Apr 6 Asher B. Williamson
1893 Jul 12 Joseph G. Moore
1897 Jun 18 William L. Dobbins
1900 Jul 6 Isaac Haines
1906 Apr 12 Joseph G. Moore
1926 Nov 30 Newton V. Myers
1946 Feb 15 Lillian J. Myers
1958 Jul 24 Lawrence H. Emmons
1982 Nov 26 Anne C. Errico (post office in the old butcher shop)
1985 (about) Thomas F. Freeman, OIC, date not known
1990 May 5 William D. Bennett, OIC
1991 Feb 2 Lorraine S. Jones, postmaster
2000 Mar 21 Joseph Pepe, OIC
2000 Apr 10 Richard Boehme, OIC
2000 Apr 22 Charles E. McGill, postmaster
2004 (about) Kim Krzywicki OIC
2005 Emilio Mercado, postmaster
2006 (about) Mark Henderson, OIC
2007 Patricia A. Greaves, postmaster, to the present date
Stockton Post Office
Originally located at Prallsville, it was re-established here on June 10, 1853, and has continued in operation since then, without interruption. There were 12 postmasters during the 44 years that Stockton was part of Delaware Township.
1853 Jun 10 Jeremiah Smith
1856 Oct 20 William W. Mettler
1859 Apr 7 Peter Dilts
1861 Jul 25 William C. Veghte
1866 Sep 7 Gershom Lambert
1869 Apr 12 Gabriel Wolverton
1881 Feb 7 Stephen B. Hill
1885 Apr 27 Daniel R. Sharp
1889 Apr 6 Harry D. Mason
1893 May 20 Jonathan M. Dilts
1897 May 14 William P. Mason
Erastus “Rasty” Rockafellar was a well-known mailman, who took on the Stockton RFD route in 1905. His home was in Sergeantsville.
Postmasters of the Female Persuasion
One of the benefits of making lists is that things become noticeable that might otherwise have been missed. For instance, after compiling the above lists, I saw that in 1878, two women were named postmasters, the first time this had happened in Delaware Township. They were Harriet Jackson for Sergeantsville and Amy Wolverton for Sand Brook.11 The next year, Dora L. Reading was named postmaster for Raven Rock. This may have been new for Delaware Township, but it was not new for the country as a whole. Women had been working as postmasters nearly as long as there has been a postal system, going back to the days of the Revolution and even earlier. The designation postmaster referred to either gender. Why there should suddenly be three women taking on the job in the 1870s appears to have been a cultural matter, instead of a formal policy. The late 1870s were difficult economic times and many people had moved away, not only from Delaware Township, but from the East Coast as a whole. As so often happens, when there is a slack, women will take it up.
The next post in this series will deal with political appointees. I’m really looking forward to researching and writing about this subject, especially the travails of Amos Hogeland, but it will have to wait for awhile since there are several articles that need to be finished first.
- I do not know the exact date when Brewer became postmaster, or if there was a postmaster between Denson and Brewer. ↩
- John M. Chamberlin, storekeeper of Locktown, born about 1831 in Locktown. Married twice, both wives named Sarah. He died on July 24, 1895, and was succeeded in the position of postmaster by his surviving wife, Sarah Elizabeth Strimple. ↩
- Hoppock bought the Prall complex from the heirs of John Prall Jr. (of which he was one) in 1833. I doubt that Hoppock remained postmaster until 1853, but do not know who succeeded him before the office was closed. Egbert T. Bush wrote that Jeremiah Smith was postmaster when the Prallsville post office was transferred to Stockton. ↩
- I am not at all certain about this name; it comes from Mr.Walker’s book. ↩
- I’m pretty sure that name is not right. There is no one with a name like that in the census index. ↩
- Mrs. Ellis became postmaster May 15, 1956. Grace Ellis was the mother of Irene E. Chipps. ↩
- OIC means officer in charge; it designates a temporary position. A postmaster is permanently assigned to their post office. ↩
- The 1900 Census lists Margaret Holcombe, age 45, working as “Clerk Post office” in Sand Brook. She was boarding with the family of Charles Moore. ↩
- I do not know whether there was a postmaster after Frank Yasunas. If there wasn’t, then he held the position for 30 years. Frank Yasunas died in 1975 at the age of 81. ↩
- No doubt about, Jeremiah Smith got around. He was postmaster here in Sergeantsville, then he was doing the same job in Prallsville at the time it was closed. Then he served as the first postmaster of Stockton in 1853. ↩
- Amy Wolverton is surprising. In the 1880 Census, she was 70 years old, living with her son-in-law John A. Moore, and despite her age, her occupation was “Post mistress.” ↩
May 5, 2012 @ 8:57 am
I don’t particularly find it particularly surprising that Amy Wolverton was still working as a postmistress at 70 yrs. of age. Remember that most people did not “retire” in those days, but usually engaged in some kind of work until they dropped over. Obviously widowed, she no doubt did not wish to live off of the charity of a son-in-law. And seventy was not old. While the average life expectancy was lower at that time due to factors such as higher infant and child mortality, accidental death, and death in childbirth, but once people passed childhood and childbirth, they were very physically tough people who
often lived to be extremely old.
Besides, I don’t think in rural Hunterdon County, in 1880, the job would have been that demanding.
What might be considered surprising is that she was able to earn money by doing something other than the occupations traditionally open to women who had to support themselves (seamstress, servant etc.).
May 5, 2012 @ 9:02 am
Writing without enough coffee under my belt. Should have read: While the average life expectancy was lower at that time due to factors such as higher infant and child mortality, accidental death, and death in childbirth, but once peoople passed childhood, and WOMEN were through with childbearing, they were very physically tough people who often lived to a ripe old age.
May 5, 2012 @ 9:04 am
Absolutely right, Kay. On all points.
Mary Jo C. Martin
June 19, 2012 @ 6:02 pm
I, too, was intrigued by the listing of postmistresses. I was going to ask some follow up questions until I saw that you’d addressed them in your last paragraph.
Well done as usual, Marfy. Sometimes I think I’d love to take a master class with you to pick your brains on your variety of sources. You seem to be so much more thorough that I can be, and I’m a pretty methodical researcher and very organised type. Unfortunately, I’m in Australia… lol
June 19, 2012 @ 8:41 pm
Australia puts you at a real disadvantage, Mary Jo. Don’t beat yourself up about sources you can’t get to. And many thanks for the encouragement.
Mary Ann P
August 21, 2012 @ 4:12 pm
Marfy, All very interesting reading..I applaud your diligence to this work.
I do notice that the Sergeantsville post office dates are wrong when you get to postmaster Anne Errico..you have 1858..it should be 1980’s something since I remember her well at that time.. and the two postmasters after her need date correction to the 1990’s (vs. 1800.)
Again, minor typos for the immense amount of work you have listed.
Please continue to post.
Mary Ann Pichacz, Sergeantsville, NJ
August 21, 2012 @ 4:58 pm
Mary Ann, Thanks for catching those typos. Fixed.
April 29, 2013 @ 12:51 pm
My mouth dropped open when I saw that my great grandfather, William R. Stevenson, was a postmaster at Oakdale! No one in my family ever mentioned it. He had a large farm to take care of. Out of 6 children, only one would have been old enough to help. Bowne Station was only down the road a piece from his farm, which farm was on the corner where 4 roads meet, at Dilts Corner, and mail was probably sparse in that area so I guess he was able to fit it in his schedule. Every where I go in your stories, I run into another ancester of either mine or my husbands! I can’t believe I’m just now discovering your work! Excellent research and writing skills! I hope I live long enough to get thru every one of your works!