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The Postal Service of the United States in Connection with the Local History of试读：
BY HON. N. K. HALL[A] and THOMAS BLOSSOM.[B]
No very satisfactory account of the origin and progress of the Postal Service of the country, in its more immediate connection with the local history of Buffalo, can now be compiled. The early records of the transportation service of the Post-Office Department, were originally meager and imperfect; and many of the books and papers of the Department, prior to 1837, were destroyed or lost when the public edifices at Washington were burned in 1814, and also when the building in which the Department was kept was destroyed by fire, in December, 1836. For these reasons the Hon. A. N. Zevely, Third Assistant Postmaster-General—who has kindly furnished extracts from the records and papers of the Department—has been able to afford but little information in respect to the early transportation of the mails in the western part of this State. Indeed, no information in respect to that service, prior to 1814, could be given; no route-books of older date than 1820 are now in the Department, and those from 1820 to 1835 are not so arranged as to show the running time on the several routes.
The records of the Appointment Office, and those of the Auditor's Office of the Department, are more full and perfect; and from these, and from various other sources of information, much that is deemed entirely reliable and not wholly uninteresting has been obtained.
Erastus Granger was the first Postmaster of Buffalo—or rather of "Buffalo Creek," the original name of the office. He was appointed on the first establishment of the office, September 30, 1804. At that time the nearest post-offices were at Batavia on the east, Erie on the west, and Niagara on the north. Mr. Granger was a second cousin of Hon. Gideon Granger, the fourth Postmaster-General of the United States, who held that office from 1801 to 1814.
The successors of our first Postmaster, and the dates of their respective appointments, appear in the following statement:May 6, 1818.Julius Guiteau,Samuel Russel,April 25, 1831.Henry P. Russell,July 26, 1834.Orange H. Dibble,August 28, 1834.Philip Dorsheimer,June 8, 1838.Charles C. Haddock,October 12, 1841.Philip Dorsheimer,April 1, 1845.Henry K. Smith,August 14, 1846.Isaac R. Harrington,May 17, 1849.James O. Putnam,September 1, 1851.May 4, 1853.James G. Dickie,Israel T. Hatch,November 11, 1859.Almon M. Clapp, (the present March 27, 1861.incumbent[C])
The Buffalo Post-office was the only post-office within the present limits of the city until January, 1817, when a post-office was established at Black Rock. The appointments of Postmasters at Black Rock have been as follows:January 29, 1817.James L. Barton,Elisha H. Burnham,July 11, 1828.Morgan G. Lewis,June 29, 1841.George Johnson,July 7, 1853.Daniel Hibbard, (the present June 1, 1861.incumbent)
In July, 1854, the Post-office of Black Rock Dam, now called North Buffalo, was established. The name of the office was changed to North Buffalo, February 10, 1857. The appointments to that office have been as follows:Henry A. Bennett,July 12, 1854.Charles Manly,March 17, 1856.George Argus,May 20, 1859.July 29, 1861.William D. Davis,George Argus, (the present 1864.incumbent)
The Buffalo Post-office was kept, during Mr. Granger's term of office, first on Main Street, near where the Metropolitan Theater[D] now stands, and afterwards in the brick house on the west side of Pearl Street, a few doors south of Swan Street, now No. 58 Pearl Street. Mr. Guiteau first kept the office on Main Street, opposite Stevenson's livery stable; then on the west side of Main Street about the middle of the block next south of Erie Street; and afterwards on the northwest corner of Ellicott Square. It was kept in the same place for a short period at the commencement of Judge Russel's term of office, but was soon removed to the northwest corner of the next block above, where it remained until after the appointment of Mr. Dibble. It was removed by Mr. Dibble about 1836, to the old Baptist Church then standing on the corner where the post-office is now kept, and it was kept in that building until after Mr. Haddock took the office. He removed the office to the northwest corner of Main and Seneca Streets, where it remained until it was removed, in August, 1858, into the Government building in which it is now.
The gross receipts of the post-office at Buffalo, for the years given in the following table, have been as follows:1805$ 90.831825$ 2,840.606,695.341806120.13183019,219.341807122.82183525,501.491808173.63184022,681.261809217.49184539,644.011810291.46185047,458.671812963.611855Imperfect returns.44,800.9418131860488.37[E]55,265.57[F]181418621,932.9848,238.5318151863 1,463.211820
The gross receipts at the offices of Black Rock, Black Rock Dam and North Buffalo, for the years named have been as follows:
At Black Rock:1817$ 56.881845$ 467.321818134.341850776.621819237.961855420.241820239.381860317.741825737.411862389.501830493.081863461.52}18641835617.49234.52to July 1.1840712.77
At Black Rock Dam (North Buffalo):1854$ 108.471862$ 463.271855419.821863650.731860303.15}1864319.75to July 1.1861307.20
The aggregate amount of the postage received at the different post-offices must always depend, in a greater or less degree, upon the extent and frequency of the mail transportation by which such offices are supplied, and the rates of postage charged, as well as upon the number, education, character and occupation of the population within the delivery of such offices. Other causes, some of them local or temporary, may at times affect the revenue of an office, but only the population of the neighborhood, the frequency and extent of the transportation service, and the general rates of letter postage, will be here considered.
The first census under the authority of the United States was taken in 1790; probably in July and August of that year. In that portion of New York lying west of the old Massachusetts preëmption line it was taken by General Amos Hall, as Deputy Marshal, and an abstract of his list or census-roll is given in Turner's "History of Phelps and Gorham's Purchase." The number of heads of families then residing west of Genesee River, and named in that list, was 24; but it is probable that the deputy marshal did not visit this locality, as neither Winney the Indian trader, nor Johnston the Indian agent and interpreter, is named; although it is probable that both of them resided here. Winney, it is quite certain, was here in 1791, and it is supposed came about 1784.
The whole population west of the Massachusetts preëmption line, which was a line drawn due north and south across the State, passing through Seneca Lake and about two miles east of Geneva, as given by Turner from General Hall's census-roll, was 1,084, as follows: males, 728; females, 340; free blacks, 7; slaves, 9. In the State census report of 1853, the population of Ontario County in 1790 (which county then embraced all that territory) is stated at 1,075. The difference between the two statements is caused by the omission of the slaves from the latter statement. In 1800 the population of the same territory (then the Counties of Ontario and Steuben) was 15,359 free persons and 79 slaves.
In 1808 the County of Niagara (embracing the present counties of Niagara and Erie) was organized, and its population in 1810 was 6,132. Of these 1,465 were inhabitants of the present County of Niagara, and 4,667 of the present County of Erie. There were then in the county 8 slaves, which number should probably be added to the aggregate above stated.
In 1820 the population of Niagara County was 18,156, of which 10,834 were inhabitants of the present County of Erie. There were then 15 slaves in the whole County of Niagara.
In 1821, the County of Erie was organized with its present boundaries. Its population at each census since has been as follows, viz: 1825, 24,316; 1830, 35,719; 1835, 57,594; 1840, 62,465; 1845, 78,635; 1850, 100,993; 1855, 132,331; and 1860, 141,791.
It is probable that in 1790, Winney and Johnston were the only white residents upon the territory now embraced within our city limits. In 1796, there were but four buildings in all that territory—as stated by the late Joseph Landon. In 1807, there were about a dozen houses. This number, it is said, had increased to more than 200 houses, when, on the 31st of December, 1813, the village was burned by the British and Indians;—only the house of Mrs. St. John, Reese's blacksmith shop, the gaol, and the uncovered frame of a barn escaping the general conflagration.
The white population of the territory now comprised in our city limits did not, in 1800, probably exceed 25. The earliest census report which gives any information in regard to its population is that of 1810 when the population was 1,508. It was 1,060 in 1814; 2,095 in 1820; 5,141 in 1825; 8,668 in 1830; 21,838 in 1840; 34,606 in 1845; 49,769 in 1850; 74,214 in 1855; and 81,129 in 1860. It is believed that it is now about 100,000.
But little reliable information in regard to the transportation of the mails west of Albany from 1800 to 1824, can now be obtained; and as the transportation service and the origin and progress of the system of posts, by which, even now, much of this transportation service is performed, are believed to be the most interesting of the topics of the present paper (as that service itself is the most essential of those connected with the Post-office establishment), it has been deemed proper to refer to the probable origin of that system;—a system which in its continued extension and constant improvement, has grown into the Post-office establishment of the present day. These are now, almost universally under the control of the State or sovereign power, and they are certainly among the most important and beneficent of the institutions of civil government.
It is said that the Assyrian and Persian monarchs had their posts, at a day's journey from each other, with horses saddled, ready to carry with the utmost dispatch, the decrees of these despotic rulers. In the Roman Empire, couriers on swift horses carried the imperial edicts to every province. Charlemagne, it is said, established stations for carriers who delivered the letters and decrees of the court in the different and distant parts of his dominions. As early as the XIth Century the University of Paris had a body of pedestrian messengers, to carry letters and packets from its thousands of students to various parts of Europe, and to tiring money, letters and packets in return. Posts for the transmission of Government messages were established in England in the XIIIth Century, and in 1464 Louis XI. established a system of mounted posts, stationed four French miles apart, to carry the dispatches of the Government.
Government posts, as the convenience and interest of the people at large began to receive some attention from their rulers, were at times allowed to carry private letters, and private posts for the transmission of general correspondence were sometimes established. This was at first but an irregular and uncertain service, without fixed compensation; but considerable regularity, order and system were the results of the public appreciation of their convenience, and of the gradual improvements which followed their more general employment.
In 1524 the French posts—which had previously carried only the letters of the King and nobles—were first permitted to carry other letters; and in 1543 Charles V., Emperor of Germany, established a riding post throughout his dominions. It was not until the reign of James I. that a system of postal communication was established in England, although Edward IV., in 1481, had established posts twenty miles apart, with riders, to bring the earliest intelligence of the events of the war with the Scots. It was not until about 1644 that a weekly conveyance of letters, by post, was established throughout that kingdom. Mail coaches were first used at Bristol, in England, in 1784. They were placed on the post routes in 1785, and their use became general throughout England.
The mail service of North America, which in its magnitude and regularity, and in the extension of its benefits to every settlement and fireside, has, it is believed, no superior, probably had its beginning in private enterprise; although perhaps sanctioned at the very outset, by local authority.
As early as 1677 Mr. John Hayward, scrivener, of Boston, Mass., was appointed by the General Court to take in and convey letters according to their direction. This was probably the first post-office and mail service authorized in America. Other local arrangements, necessarily very imperfect in their character, were made in different colonies soon after; some of them having the sanction of Colonial Governors or Legislatures.
Thomas Dongan, the Governor of New York under the Duke of York, in a letter to the Duke's secretary, dated February 18, 1684, says:
You are pleased to say I may set up a post-house, but send me