Canton Post Office 1898
Canton’s first postmaster was Asa Pratt, whose commission was dated December 31, 1825. The first post-office was operated from his small log house, located on Troy Street. Mr. Pratt also served as Justice of Peace and performed many marriages during the years 1828 to 1841. A stage line operating between Elmira, New York and Williamsport, PA served the post-offices between these towns.
The Rev. James Parsons, a circuit-riding Baptist minister, was the second post-master, receiving his commission from President Andrew Jackson, dated September 23, 1828. The post-office was established in Mr. Parson’s newly built log house located on Troy Street, a short distance north of the Pennsylvania Railroad station. Describing his father’s duties, H. B. Parsons wrote: "The duties of post-master at that time were not very onerous. Two or three times a week the heavy stage, drawn by four horses, halted at the door of the office and the mail had to be changed, leaving perhaps three or four letters and taking away as many. The postage on a letter cost from 25 cents and upward, according to distance. Envelopes had not yet been invented and the letter sheet had to be so folded as to leave a blank face for the address. Then the letter was sealed either with wax or wafers made for the purpose. Postage might be paid by the sender of the letter, but was usually paid by the party receiving it."
The stagecoaches were described as " fine upholstered coaches with sleek horses." The relay station for changing horses on both the Williamsport-Elmira route, and one operating between Towanda and Morris, was Canton. The latter stage used Concord coaches with one team, and operated daily at the time of the Civil War and later. With the coming of the railroad in 1854, the Elmira-Williamsport route was abandoned.
|Canton PO from rear 1898|
The Parsons family moved to Barre, New York in 1832, and J. R. Pratt was commissioned postmaster on March 23, 1832. His post-office was in the "Red Tavern", present site of the T. Burk & Co, store. John Cummings, commissioned August 8, 1835, retained the post-office in the "Red Tavern", which he operated, but Bernard Wood moved it to his home situated on Troy Street. In 1841, Benjamin Coolbaugh moved it back to the Red Tavern, but on October 28, 1841, Senaca Kendall moved it to his wagon shop on Lycoming Street. Charles Stockwell ran the post-office from his home on Troy Street, but on January 1848, Mr. Kendall was again made postmaster and moved it back to his wagon shop. On April 1848, John VanDyke succeeded Mr. Kendall and moved the office to a small store at the corner of Main and Sullivan Streets.
Thus with nearly every new postmaster, the site of the office was changed, until about 1900, when a location in the Lewis Building was established during the latter part of Charles E. Riggs term as postmaster, and a location in this building was retained until it burned in November 1942, while Otis S. Williams was postmaster. The office was then established at its present location on Troy Street after being located on the north side of Main Street for a time after the fire. Upon Mr. Williams’ resignation in 1949, James Taylor was appointed postmaster and held this post for many years.
Rural Delivery was begun from the Canton office on May 2, 1904 with three carriers, Earl Furman, Fred Furman and William Mason. Another route was added in 1905 with Arthur Putman as carrier. With improved roads and the use of automobiles, these four routes were consolidated into two. City Delivery was established on October 1, 1915, with William Foster, carrier and Robert Northrup assistant carrier. Later two routes were needed and Fidello Biddle and Walter Gardner were carriers, with John Fulkerson, assistant.
See Also Canton
Eleanor P. Keagle (1896-1971)
Canton Independent Sentinel: March 22, 2007
Time Capsule 1937
A Few Prices
Annual Income: $1,259
Man’s Dress Shirt: $1.39
Nurses uniform: $1
Large eggs: 45¢ a dozen
Floor wax: 39¢ a pint
Ground beef: 2 lbs. for 29¢
Linoleum: 22¢ a square yard
Gasoline: 20¢ a gallon
Bacon: 18¢ a pound
Lemons: 11¢ a dozen
Potatoes: 10¢ for 3 pounds
Toilet paper: 6¢ for two rolls
Yeast: 3¢ a cake
First-class stamp: 3¢
Daily newspaper: 2¢
Split peas 1¢ for 2 pounds
75 Years Ago – 1932
After April 1 the D. M. Packard Meat Market will be located next to the Market Basket in the building formerly occupied by Keagle’s Music Shop.
On Saturday evening about six o’clock fire was discovered in the apartment over Rod Stull’s grocery store at the corner of Centre and Main Streets. The fire department soon had the fire under control and damage is estimated at $500, mostly from smoke and water. Within twenty minutes Mr. Stull was conducting business as usual at the old stand.
90 Years Ago – 1917
Walter Scott Newman died at his home on Centre Street aged one hundred years, nine months and nine days. At the time of his death he was the oldest man in Bradford County. His brother, also residing in Canton, is ex-postmaster Edwin Newman, who is 94. He was a grandson of Ezekiel Newman, a Revolutionary soldier, who also lived to be slightly over one hundred years of age. In 1846, Walter and his brother Samuel came to Canton and established a mercantile business. In 1849 he got the gold fever when news came of the wonderful gold field of California. He joined an expedition that crossed the plains by wagon train. He ran trading posts in various mining camps and “grubstaked” miners. Several of whom made rich strikes, and Walter returned to Canton in 1852 with a fortune estimated at $100,000, which was almost as food as a million would be now. We are convinced that he is the last survivor of those who sought the golden fleece in 1849 and for several years he has held the title, “The Last of the Argonauts.” With a part of his fortune he built the three story wooden structure at the corner of Sullivan and Lycoming streets, and in this the firm of Newman Brothers continued their mercantile business until the dissolution of the firm in 1870.
The business office of the Farmers National Bank was shifted on Wednesday form the old quarters in the Donovan Block to their new building at the corner of Main and Centre Streets.
Open Hand Grange celebrated the anniversary of the Grange.
Mr. and Mrs. A. T. Lilley and Robert Mason, three of the five living charter
members, were able to be present.
THE CENTENNIAL EXCURSION (1876; The first official World’s Fair)
A LARGE NUMBER OF CANTONIANS PAY A VISIT TO THE CENTENNIAL CITY
A VISIT TO INDEPENDENCE HALL, U.S. MINT, CENTENNIAL BUILDINGS AND OTHER PLACES OF RESORT
A TWENTY-FOUR HOURS WELL SPENT
The cheap rates of fare offered by the Pennsylvania Railroad Company,
together with the prospect of fine weather, led us to decide upon a visit
to the Centennial City. Accordingly, in the early morning of Tuesday, the
9th inst., we repaired to the Canton depot, where a goodly number of our
townspeople were in waiting for the southward bound train. Procuring our
tickets at a cost of $4.80 for the round trip, at 6:28 a.m. we stepped
on board the cars, and were soon rolling over the ground at a rapid rate.
The coaches furnished for the excursion were the best in use on the road,
being very finely finished and nearly new.
The morning was clear and frosty, and as we journeyed down through the Lycoming valley, stopping at the way stations, our numbers were gradually increased. Emerging from between the mountains below Trout Run, the sun for the first time looked out upon us, the frost soon disappeared, and as the valley widened out a charming picture was presented in the landscape before us. At Williamsport several coaches were added the train, (at this place Mr. E. S. Harrar, general ticket agent of the Philadelphia and Erie R. R., boarded the train, and accompanied the excursionists from the “sawdust city,” and carefully looked after the comfort of all on board;) and we swept on down the valley of the Susquehanna with nine passenger cars, containing between three and four hundred excursionists. Arriving at Harrisburg, twenty minutes stop was made for dinner. Our friend Mr. R. A. Hazelton, here came on board the train and extended a cordial greeting to the Canton delegation. Some of us bent on sightseeing, postponed dinner and walked up to the State Capital. The bu9ilding is just now undergoing some repairs; there is room for improvement in it architectural appearance, but the grounds upon which it is situated are splendid. We had only time for a hasty glance, and hurrying back to our train, were again en-route for the Quaker City.
Riding on the cars becomes tiresome after a few hours, and notwithstanding the many pleasing views presented in the varying landscape, we were not sorry when we came in sight of the Centennial buildings and the city, where we might rest. It was nearly 5 o’clock p.m., and we thought best to defer visiting the Centennial grounds and Park until next day, so getting on board a street car we made out way to the Mercantile Hotel, where we found good quarters for the night. Supper over, and being somewhat rested, we decided to spend the evening at Wood’s Museum, cor. Ninth and Arch streets.
The time was to much limited for an examination of the large collection of curious and interesting objects here on exhibition, but we looked until we were tired and then took seats to witness the stage exhibition. The play, “Sy Slocum” was well rendered, and kept our attention until nearly 11o’clock, when, returning to our Hotel we were ready for a good night’s rest. It was not very early in the morning, when we looked out of our Hotel window and saw that it was raining, with a prospect of a wet day, but determined to make the best of the situation we purchased an umbrella and after breakfast sallied forth to see first, Independence Hall. Passing by the statue of Washington in front, it was with feelings of reverence that we entered the Old State House, and looked upon our Nation’s birth-place.
Space will not permit me to describe the large collection of Centennial relics here presented. Philadelphia may well be proud of them. The Old Liberty Bell waits in its rusty hangings to join in celebrating the one hundredth birthday of our nation. We left the place feeling that what we had seen was well worth the expense of the trip to Philadelphia. The next place of interest visited was the U. S. Mint. We were kindly shown through the building, and the various processes of manufacturing what was once used as money, and what the result of the recent elections encourage us to hope, may again come into use. It is pleasant to look upon a dollar which has real value.
Our excursion tickets indicated no postponement on account of the weather, so leaving many things unseen, we took a street car for the Centennial Buildings. Arriving at the grounds in due time we made our way through rain and mud to the shelter of the great roof, which covers a structure more that fifteen hundred feet long. The buildings are not yet complete, and nearly a thousand workmen are engaged in fitting them for the reception of the world’s treasures. 3:40 Wednesday p.m. came all too soon, and we again entered the cars and left the city, realizing that though we had seen much that was interesting, the time allotted us was far too short, and another visit would be necessary to complete out survey of Philadelphia.
To Mr. E. S. Harrar, of whom we have spoken, the public is largely indebted for this cheap excursion, and it is probable that as the time for the great exposition draws nigh, he will interest himself in organizing another trip. [Submitted by Don Stanton - Added to site 28 October 2010]