Interesting Tidbits about the Postal System in
Steuben County, Lindley and Presho, New York
1836- Steuben County had 37 Post Offices and 9 post villages (a community, settlement or hamlet that has a Post Office. (A rural neighborhood.) *12
1837- Mail was being transported by Railroads. *13
1840- 41 –The local post office was moved from Centerville (Riverside) to Corning where a bridge across the Tioga River had been built and stage coach drivers with mail were encouraged to use this route.* 6
1851 – List of 74 post offices in Steuben County* 11
1860 –Prior to Civil War, Post office was the largest organization in the United States.*12
1891 –Mail was still being delivered by Stage Coaches.
1910 –Present Corning Post Office opened.*12
1930’s – Works Progress Administration (WPA) under FDR, financed the painting of murals in Post Offices. The one in the Painted Post- Post Office is labeled Recording the Victory and shows a Native American adding marks on a post.*( Internet)
2000 – About this time, several new post offices were built. Included are The Corning Northside and Addison,N.Y. buildings. *12
Bath,N.Y. was unique in that bicycles that could carry 70 pounds were used to deliver the mail.
Lindley-Presho, New York
(The following information was found in various local reference materials. The Post Office Archives may have a more complete file)
1812 -The Postmaster history of these 2 hamlets begins with Judge Eleazer Lindsley, Jr. (son of Col. Lindsley) being listed in the Steuben County histories as the first postmaster.* 3/4 (In the Lindley town files is a letter written during the War of 1812 to Eleazer,Jr. and is addressed to Postmaster-Lindleytown ,N.Y.)
1829-30 – A.C. Morgan is listed as Postmaster. (In Lyon –Morgan store) *3/4
1851–Postmaster is William Moore * 11 Lindleytown
1868-69 -William Moore*5 Lindleytown
1876-(?)- Hiram Middlebrook
1891- Edward Leggett *4 Lindley
1893-Marcus Stowell*10 Lindley
3/2/1914 – George Riffle is appointed as a Lindley mail carrier* (In his 2010 Memoirs,*9 George’s son, Richard (Dick ) wrote that his father took the Civil Service Exam for mail carrier in 1914-the beginning of WWI and passed. When questioned why he choose the Post Office position over one in a factory which would pay more, his reply was that after wars there are Depressions and that he saw a better future with the Post Office job. On a postal evaluation form,*2 he was still listed as a carrier in 5/28/1941 (-the year WWII began…) at 64 years of age. His route at this time was by automobile for 25.3 miles with 94 families and 89 boxes. (Dick has some interesting stories about his Father’s experiences a mail carrier and since he has given me permission to use his Memoirs on the HS blog- watch for some of these stories in the near future.)
1923/11/6 – Miss M.J. Losey is appointed Acting Postmaster*2
1/1/1933- 1954 (?) Murial Cobb*2 Was this Miss Losey? (Kitty)
May 26, 1954 - Joyce Holmes signs a carrier evaluation as Acting Postmaster*2
1988 –Earl Wheeler resigns as Postmaster with 30 years credit which included military credit*7
Postal Clerk’s names found were Kathryn Loughridge and Darla Bakeman Pierson Neal. Records of other Postal Clerks have not been located at this time. *7
Carriers Names found were *2
George Riffle - 3/2/1914- 1941 (?) Rt 2
Harrison Toby - 2/1/1926 -1954 Rt.1
Lawrence Toby - 1954-1979
Bill Wales 1979- (?)*7
Substitute Mail Carriers:*2
Giles Baker Soules- Veteran 1946
Luke Wood Rt. 2 8/2/1920
Earnest Harrison 6/22/1920
Hugh Orcutt 11/5/1925
Leon Terwilliger 2/28/ 1926
Lawrence Toby - with his Father Harrison Toby*7
Erwin Centre-Presho Postmasters:
1851 –Samuel Mersereau *11 Erwin Centre
1868 –Henry Bull*4 Erwin Centre
1/9/ 1888 Name was changed to Presho to honor Thomas Presho *4
1884-1891 – Thomas Presho*4
Historical facts of interest :
Records show that floods of 1927, 1937, 1946 and 1972 have disrupted mail delivery for short periods of time. *2
1946, Post Office records were lost. The flood occurred on May 27thand by the 29th, mail delivery was back to normal. Except---- The Presho Bridge was destroyed which necessitated the carriers retracing the route from Lindley to Presho on the River Road for some time until the bridge could be replaced. *2
1972 -Since the current Town Hall was nearing completion, the contents of the Post Office were relocated to the new building away from the river. Some of contents are still in use.*7
One of my memories of the 1972 flood was on Saturday morning after the flood and finding Lawrence Toby standing outside the old Post Office in his boots --sorting mail. Since my parents were his neighbors, I asked if he knew anything about them. His reply was” No-but there’s my car -go see.” They were doing okay, but the experience of driving a mail carrier’s car with a block on the gas pedal (to allow him to reach the mail boxes) is something that I never forgot nor his kindness.
In reading stories about mail carriers, there are many stories about not only their dedication to delivering the mail, but, also, their many acts of kindness and of being a good friend and neighbor to their customers. They practiced the Postal System motto.
It does not appear to be true in Lindley, but often the postmaster was changed with the election of a new U.S. President.
Mail that was delivered by train discontinued in Lindley in 1935. In the old files, are copies of permission to change the location of the Post Office with RR routes numbers listed. A guess would be that this was to change the location of the mail drop. Old RR photos show the mechanism used to exchange the mail while the train was moving. See photo on - Mail Catchers on Internet)
There are several evaluations of the mail carriers in the old files. These give the times the carrier was to leave and return. (Interesting to note that the times in 1923 list are by horse and automobile…). According to the motto, mail must be delivered in all kinds of weather and in the winter this often meant that roads were not plowed. These were times when the Carrier’s sons were put to work… The sons would accompany their Fathers on the mail routes (horse and sleigh or even automobiles). When necessary, the sons would deliver the mail on foot to the customers snowed in. (Some good stories were told by Lawrence Toby, Dick Riffle and Francis Toby has a couple with his Dad –Harrison.
The old evaluation of 1954 showed a total of 54 miles of mail routes. RFD (Rural Free Delivery)- Routes #1 and #2 had been combined by then.) Kerry Rice says the 2 mail carriers now have 114 miles to cover all Lindley mail under the 14858 Zip Code.
I apologize for not having a list of names of the current Carriers, Postal Clerks and Kerry’s date of appointment. (This has become a larger report than I had originally expected to do)-(A huge thank you to Kerry Rice who found and donated some old post office records to the town files- This started the entire search for more information.
1. World book Encyclopedia 1968 8. Burr History of Lindley 1951
2. Old Records -Lindley Post Office 1923- 9. Memoirs of Dick Riffle 2010
3. History of Steuben County- Clayton 10. History of Steuben County Hakes 1891
4. A History of Steuben County –Roberts 11.1851 Post Offices Steuben County
5. 7 County History -1885 Star/Gazette 12. Leader.com 2012
6. Corning/Vicinity History Mulford 1920 13. History of U.S. Postal System
7. History of Lindley 1990 14. Grit Magazine Nov./Dec.201
The WPA, Star Routes and Rural Free Delivery were researched on the Internet
Lindley Post Office just Before Veteran's Monument Was Dedicated