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    Site No. 25.  Post Office

    Before post offices, letters went on horseback.  By 1693, there was the Boston Post Route.  After 1761 stage coaches made regular trips between Portsmouth and Boston.

    After the Revolution, state postal riders—and then stage coaches— passed through Newmarket, but the town did not have a postmaster until later.  The first post office mentioned was in 1822, in clock maker John Kennard’s store near Rockingham Junction.  But once the Newmarket Manufacturing Company came to town, things changed.  James Creighton became the first postmaster here, operating out of the company store near Water Street.  But money talked, and in 1829 the mills had enough clout to move the post office and their company store closer to the factory office.  Deacon Benjamin Coe was put in charge. 

    As the country’s political administrations changed from party to party, so did postal appointments.  Very often the post office moved when the postmaster changed.  William Tenney, appointed in 1832, most likely fulfilled postal duties in his law office.  It’s unclear how it was decided, but he changed the name of the post office from “Lamprey River Village” to “New Market”.

    From 1887 to 1897 Dr. Charles Morse was postmaster.  One night, after discovering a burglar at his house, he chased the man up past the old ropewalk.  The two men scuffled and the burglar escaped after slashing Dr. Morse’s face.  Then the fire alarm was sounded and a hundred men went in pursuit, but the burglar was never found.  The only fatality was the policeman Charles Dame who died while giving chase.  Twenty years later, in 1914 the very energetic Dr. Morse was reappointed.  He managed the post office during World War I.  He treated the sick during the pandemic of 1918.  In 1919 he testified to Congress about limited postal budgets.  And in 1920, Dr. Morse vanished without a trace.  For the full story see the online link to Dr. Charles Morse, the “King of Newmarket” and his Mysterious Disappearance.  It has the published account of the botched burglary, chase and officer Dame’s death, as well as details of Dr. Morse’s other challenges.

    Up until 1967 there were three mid-19th century structures here.  Earlier still, Arthur Branscomb’s house, store and tavern had been hauled up here from their original home by the waterfront.  Only the Branscomb Tavern survived – it was moved yet again further up Main Street to make room for the Methodist Episcopal Church.  Built in 1871, this lovely building with a towering steeple was called the “jewel of Newmarket.”   In 1907 the church trustees declared bankruptcy.  The building was sold and stripped of its steeple and its spirituality.  But it continued to lift spirits with moving pictures.  For forty years the Star Theatre informed and entertained through two world wars and the Great Depression.  In 1954 it closed its doors. Still holding onto its old “Star” marquee until its demolition in 1967, it remained crammed between its two old neighbors—the Civil War Uniform factory on one side, and the building housing Dr. Morse’s post office at the time of his madcap chase of the mysterious burglar.  For more on this historic area, see the online link to The Demolished Block in 1966 and the Star Theatre.

    In 1967 Newmarket got its first Federal Post Office building here with Arthur Beauchesne as Postmaster.  No longer would postmasters battle landlords and scurry about the downtown area looking for a suitable and affordable place to lease.

    Many of the next 10 sites are on the west side of Main Street, but they are better and more safely seen from this side.  Site No. 26 is on the corner of Main and Chapel Streets.

    — END OF AUDIO TEXT. See below for photos and more information.

    25 (126 Main St.)  CURRENT  POST OFFICE  opened 1967. 

    A postal history of Newmarket, and a look at the buildings that were here prior to 1966

    There has been postal service in town for over three centuries, and post offices for at least two centuries.  The choice of postmaster was generally a political appointment, although expedience and the wishes of the local populace were often factored in.

    The Colonial Post Offices and First Postal Routes

    Postal service in America began in the private inns and coffee houses of seventeenth-century seaports. These establishments provided well-known public places to send and collect letters and packets. At first the letters and packets were mostly sent to or received from the mother country. Until roads were developed, or native trails or paths improved, communication between or among colonies was limited, with sailing ships providing the safest and most reliable method to transport letters and goods. (1) The Postal Service in Colonial America. A Bibliography of Material in the Smithsonian Institution Libraries National Postal Museum Branch, Compiled by Timothy Carr and Debra Shumate

    Locally, prior to 1691, anyone wanting to deliver anything (messages/letters/ notices) to an individual in another town would either hire a horseman or—more likely—seek out a gundalow captain to deliver it by way of the Bay.  Either way, the message would be left at a local tavern or inn, where word eventually got out that a letter had arrived and was awaiting pickup.

    (photo of 1973 Bicentennial Commemorative  “Post Rider”  - 8-cent stamp)

    In 1691 Thomas Neale received a royal patent for twenty-one years to control the colonial post-offices—this was the beginning of postal service for the colonies.

    Neale never came to America; via the Royal Postmaster-General in London, he appointed Andrew Hamilton of Philadelphia to establish with each colonial governing body such rates and sums payable for the conveyance of postal matter.  Postal rates were calculated to provide him sufficient compensation to regulate “the quicker maintenance of mutual correspondence amongst all the neighboring Colonies and Plantations, and that trade and commerce might be the better preserved” (2)- The Old Boston Post Road, by Stephen Jenkins, J.P. Putnam & Sons, NY 1913

    On May 1, 1693, Hamilton’s scheme for the postal service went into effect with the creation of a weekly post from Portsmouth to Boston, on to New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore.  Five riders covered each of the five stages of the Boston Post Route twice a week in summer, and once a fortnight in the winter.   Colonial New Hampshire had designated postal routes for horsemen, which were both economical and efficient. 

    As in so many other matters of colonial commerce, Her Majesty’s government wanted to make sure that the locals weren’t setting up or profiting from their system.   In 1706 Queen Anne placed the American postal service under the immediate control of the Crown, which meant any profits went to London.  Harsh penalties were strictly levied on anyone who was caught delivering for hire within the colonies outside the Crown’s approved postal service. 

    There was no public conveyance to Boston until 1761, when the first regular weekly round trip stage line ran from Portsmouth through Newbury, Ipswich, and Medford to Boston (at Charlestown Ferry).   This made sending and receiving documents a bit more predictable.   The trip south took two days, with the stage setting out at 8:00 a.m. Tuesday from Staver’s Inn in Portsmouth, arriving in Charlestown on Wednesday night.  Returning from Boston on Friday morning, it arrived in Portsmouth on Saturday night. 

    NH Post Routes

    Postal delivery to less populated areas continued via horse and rider.  The colonial mail route on July 27, 1781 sent post rider John Balch out from Portsmouth to Conway, then to Plymouth and Haverhill and down the river to Charlestown, then Keene and back to Portsmouth.  This was repeated once every 14 days.

    After the Revolution, the NH Legislature in 1784 set specific postal routes. The  Post concerning Newmarket was “to leave Portsmouth on Monday and proceed thro’ Exeter, Nottingham, Concord, and Plymouth to Haverhill and Orford and Hanover, and from hence to return thro’ Boscawen, Northfield and Canterbury to Epsom hence to Newmarket and Portsmouth…”

     A second route was established in March 1786 to “set out weekly on Monday from Portsmouth and proceed through Stratham, Newmarket, Durham, Dover, Rochester, Wakefield and Ossipee to Conway, and to return through Tamworth, Moultonborough, Meredith, Gilmanton, Barnstead and Barrington to Portsmouth. “(3) NH House of Representatives, NH State Papers v.20 (1784-87) pg 543

    Despite the establishment of these definitive postal routes, it is questionable whether they were strictly adhered to:  “Dover’s Postmaster Dr. Ezra Green was appointed by President Washington in 1790.  Dr. Green’s territory extended to the White Mountains, and he sent the mail along whenever there was anybody travelling that way.” (4) Colonial Era History of Dover New Hampshire, John Scales, 1923

    In 1791 New Hampshire officially established its own Postal Service with 10 postmasters in different parts of the state:  Portsmouth, Exeter, Dover, Concord, Amherst, Keene, Charlestown, Hanover, Haverhill, and Plymouth. 

    Prior to 1820 there were no cities in New Hampshire.  Portsmouth was called “the Metropolis”, Exeter was the second largest village in the state, and today’s Rockingham Junction in Newfields was the most prominent part of Newmarket.  But in 1823 the NMCo with its cotton mills soon saw Lamprey Village outrank Newfields in population, business activity and general prosperity. Consequently, the Village was soon granted its own post office. 

    For much of the next hundred years, the office of U.S. postmaster was a purely political appointment.  In,

    According to the United States Postal Service, from 1836 to 1971, postmasters at the larger Post Offices were appointed by the President, by and with the consent of the Senate. Postmasters earning less than $1,000 per year were appointed by the Postmaster General, generally upon the advice of the local congressman or townspeople. Regulations required that postmasters execute a valid bond and take an oath of office. Minors were ineligible, and U.S. citizenship was required for appointment to all but the smallest Post Offices. Prior to 1971, it was also required that postmasters live in the delivery area of their Post Office. Since 1971, postmasters have been selected through the merit system.

    As noted in a 2008 article by Bill Kemp published 11/16/08:  titles” Postmasters once core of vast patronage system” in  The Pantagraph:

     “Neither rain, nor sleet, nor gloom of night will keep me from my appointed rounds,” proclaims the “Postman’s Motto.”  Yet for much of U.S. history, raw politics in the form of patronage spoils dictated who handled the mail and when.  Postmasters who found themselves on the losing side of a national election were soon out of a job.  Politics, it seemed, was the one obstacle that could prevent a postmaster from his appointed rounds…

    …small town (officially known as “fourth-class”) postmasters…were at the mercy of the party in power and their commissions could be terminated at any time.  Such appointments were generally based on recommendations from the local congressman—that is, if the congressman was a member of the president’s party.

    Postmasters of Lamprey Village and their Post Offices in the last 200 years

    Before 1822:  We don’t know who our first town Postmaster was, as early town records were destroyed in the Great Fire of 1866.   Nor do we know where the post office was located.  It could be anywhere that the postmaster decided to set it up for the most reasonable rent.  It is through looking at available maps, reports, and (later) photos that we can follow the wanderings of the Lamprey River Village Post Office.

    1822-1824:  Clock maker John Kennard was postmaster; and he operated the post office out of his store at the Newmarket/Rockingham Junction next to the old Shute house.  Rev. Fitts in his History of Newfields writes that Kennard’s post office was the only one in town until after the NMCo built the cotton mills at Lamprey River Village in 1823.

    1827-1829:  James Creighton.

    Our first documented Postmaster of Lamprey River Village was James Creighton in January 1827 under President John Quincy Adams.  That was the same year that carriage maker Louis Downing of Concord NH created the Concord Coach, which soon became the method of transporting both passengers and mail.  Of course, a decade or so later the appearance of the railroad would change mail delivery forever.

    James Creighton writes in his autobiography that during his residence in New Market Village:  

    “while trading in the Factory Co. Store I was appointed Post Master, kept the Post Office in the store for a year or more, but as the Agents of the Company desired to have the Post Office kept nearer the Factory I resigned and Benjamin Coe, who was trading in another store of theirs nearer the Factory was appointed Post Master”.

    Z. Dow Creighton (1812-1866), like his father James Creighton, was a local merchant and businessman. For several years he held the office of Post Master for South Newmarket.  He was elected member of the State Legislature, held the office of Justice of the Peace, was the first president of the New Market Bank, and was a town selectman.  See Site No. 20 for more information about Z. Dow Creighton.

    1829-1832:  Deacon Benjamin Coe

    Coe was born July 20, 1801, in Durham, NH.  When he was a child, his family moved to South New Market (Newfields).  As a young man, he went prospecting in the West and engaged in trade and speculation there. After a few years’ absence he returned to Newfields, when he inherited and occupied his father’s homestead farm.

    Active in town affairs, he held several public offices between 1825 and 1855.  In 1842 Deacon Coe married Louisa Frances Meade (1806-1888), the daughter of Levi and Susanna (Hilton) Meade.  For many years he was a deacon in the Congregational Church. He died on April 8, 1873 in Newfields.

    On Dec 10, 1834, the Post Office changed the town’s name to “New Market” and the Post Office at the Rockingham Junction was renamed “South Newmarket” and  James Coleman was its postmaster there. 

    1832:  William Tenney

    Attorney Tenney was appointed postmaster after incumbent Democrat Andrew Jackson was reelected president. Tenney, a politically active attorney and Democrat, served as U.S. Postmaster of “Lamprey River Village” for two years.  As was typical of the times, he operated it out of his office building in Tenney Square.

    The Tenney law office was a wooden building in 1832 when William Tenney worked there.  It wasn’t until 1842 that Benjamin Mathes constructed the stone building on the site that we see today.

    1834: James Madison Chapman

    Town selectman, businessman and politically active Democrat James Madison Chapman (1808-1855) was appointed Postmaster several times over the next twenty years depending on changes in national politics and parties.  He and his wife Martha were living on Chapel Street at the time of his death.  He left a large estate, mostly in railroad stocks and bonds, which allowed his widow a comfortable living, and his only child to attend college. 

    His son,  Professor James Madison, Jr. (1851-1926),  became a nationally well- known elocutionist possessing a great wit and sense of comic timing. He taught oratory for several years at both the University of Florida in Gainesville and University of Florida in Miami. During the summers he traveled up and down the east coast to and from his summer home in Center Harbor, NH stopping along the way for speaking engagements on numerous topics. He was always in demand and was paid quite well for his presentations at conventions and universities.  Whenever he was in the area he would come to Newmarket and  deliver a speech at no charge to full and appreciative audiences at the Methodist Church or the Town Hall.  The Professor never married and is buried with his parents in the Old Town cemetery.  Nellie Palmer George writes that Chapman moved the post Office to the first floor of the southwest corner of the new brick Creighton Block as soon as it built — it opened in 1834.

    In 1838 the railroad went from Boston to Haverhill; from there the passengers and mail destined for Newmarket disembarked; both were transported by stagecoach to Newfields/Newmarket.  Three years later, on July 28, 1841 the first regular passenger train went through Newfields to Newmarket’s Lamprey River Village.  Here bags of mail and packages were offloaded at the depot and transported to the village post office.

    1841: David Murray

                    The ever busy Deacon Murray was appointed Postmaster July 6, 1841.  (For more detailed information on Deacon Murray see site# 47)

    1845: George A. Bennett

    Dr, Bennett came to town in 1843 and set up his business as a druggist working out of the old Smith Building (Site No. 30).  Within two years, he was appointed Postmaster, after a letter requesting his appointment was signed by 83 voters of the town and delivered to U.S. Postmaster General Cave Johnson in Washington D.C.  For more information on Mr. Bennett see Site No. 30 (Edward Smith Building).  The Smith Building served as a post office in 1845.

    The location of the post office during the 1840s and 50s is a little murky:

    At some point between 1850 and the Civil War, the Post Office was probably in the old Dufort Store adjacent to today’s Kennebunk Bank.  (That space now serves as the drive-up ATM & parking area for the bank.)  When the old wooden building was demolished in 1981 old post office boxes and cubicles were found.  There is also some documentation that the stone building on Tenney’s Corner (Site No. 15) was a post office again, around 1857.   

    1849: Timothy Murray 

    was appointed May 11, 1849. Murray (1811-1892) was Postmaster briefly. He was a merchant, but mostly known for his extensive insurance business.  He was a notary public and settled a great many estates in the area.  A founding member of the Methodist Church in town, he was heavily involved in the Temperance movement.

    1850: James Madison Chapman

    is listed in the Census as being Postmaster once again.

    1853: There were two presidents in 1853 and three Postmasters in Town

    Millard Fillmore (a member of the Whig party) took office 1850 and left office March 4, 1853; followed by NH Franklin Pierce (a Democrat) on March 4, 1853 serving until March 1857.

    That may explain by there were three Postmasters in 1853:

     1)  Samuel F. Prescott was appointed January 10th; under Whig President Fillmore; however, he was replaced in May by 2) Democrat James M. Chapman; who was replaced by 3) fellow Democrat Nathan H. Leavitt during Chapman’s illness.  

    1853: #1) Samuel F. Prescott

    Prescott’s family was from town, and he was a laborer in 1847 when he enlisted at age 18 as a Private in the Army during the Mexican War.  He was discharged 16 months later for time served from Camp Jefferson Davis. He then worked as a clerk in dry goods in Newmarket and Boston, before moving  to Concord, NH in 1880 where he was employed in an Iron Foundry. He died in Concord in 1904 at age 78 and is buried in Riverside.

    1853: #2) James Madison Chapman

    Once again Chapman was appointed as town Postmaster in May, but became ill with cancer and left his position, he died two years later at age 47.  

    1853 : # 3)  Nathan H. Leavitt

    Leavitt  was appointed in December as Mr. Chapman’s replacement. Like his predecessor, Leavitt was active in local and county Democratic politics.  He even had experience—having been Postmaster of East Northwood, NH in 1832.  He served as town Postmaster until 1861.

    1861-1883:  Jonathan F. Garland

    Garland was the town postmaster  and kept a very efficient and professional office  for 22 years.   He oversaw the changes that were initiated nationwide due to the Civil War.  About 290 men enlisted from town during the War and he was the village official responsible for getting pay allotments to their families back home.  

    He ran an efficient operation and was much liked by the community.  Known for his great wit; his humor was barbed and quick—from which few escaped.  This was according to Pharmacist John Twombly, who worked up the street in Dr. Greene’s building (Site No. 33). 

    Unfortunately for much of his tenure, Mr. Garland suffered from ill health. He died of Bright’s disease two years after his resignation, leaving a widow and four daughters.  

    Post card of the Newmarket Post Office during WW II.  It was at the corner of Water and Main Streets,  in the old wooden Creigton Block.

    1871:  Appointed as “Acting” Nathan Leavitt

    Leavit was again re-appointed as “Acting Postmaster” during Mr. Garland’s illness. While serving as “Acting” he kept his fulltime job as Sheriff of Rockingham County. 

    1872: “Acting”  Rueben French

    Rueben French was appointed as “acting mail agent” for the town, still under Mr.Leavitt or Garland (depending on Garland’s  re-appearance and re-occurring bad health).

    By 1879 the Post Office was located in the brick Smith building (Site No. 30). 

    1883 - 1887: Dr. Samuel H. Greene

    Doctor Greene was appointed postmaster under Republican President Arthur.  The Doctor hired his son Walter Greene as Assistant Postmaster, and it was Walter who actually ran the office.  Dr. Greene wasted no time renovating the old millinery store on the south corner of Main and Chapel Streets, and in April 1883 the Post Office moved once again.   Two new large windows on the first floor allowed for much better lighting.  The previous tenant seamstress Miss L. Stevens moved upstairs.   

    One-Stop Shopping  - Lick a stamp and get a medical diagnosis

    In January 1885, the Postmaster/Doctor  moved his medical office from Main and Central Street to the rear of the new Post Office “where he may be consulted by those in need of his services.” 

    Dr. Greene previously renovated this building at the  Chapel and Main Street, now he tweaked a few additional changes for his new medical Office in the old backroom. The bottom right section was a post office for 20 years, under three postmasters: Dr. Greene, Dr. Morse, and Willam Small.  This building was later demolished in 1966  along with the Methodist Church/Star Theater to make way for the new Federal Post Office.

    In July 1885, money orders became available to purchase at the Newmarket Post Office for the first time. 

    1888- 1897 - Dr. Charles A. Morse

    Dec. 1887Dr. Greene retired but agreed to stay on a few months during the transition.  The new Postmaster Dr. Charles A. Morse took possession of the Post Office, for what would be a ten-year stint.  

    In 1893 he was re-appointed Postmaster of Newmarket under Grover Cleveland’s second administration.  While he had postal assistants, Dr. Morse himself did much of the work involved.  And he was undoubtedly the town’s most colorful postmaster.

    The victim of an attempted Postal robbery on the evening of April 7, 1894 with a suspicious death resulting — as Doctor Morse went down fighting. He was slashed  across the face with q knife, yet  he got up and chased his assailant once more !    Dr. Morse proved to be our most colorful, dedicated, erratic, mysterious and politically well-known and well-connected Post Master.  Yet he was also our most set-upon and over-wrought Doctor as well as Post Master  — so much so that he requires a chapter unto himself.  To learn more about this dedicated  civil servant,  [[ see the link under his name attached to  this site]].    

    1894- The first bicycles were put in use in Chicago for mail carriers to see if  it  would result in greater efficiency in delivery in urban areas.  Bicycle delivery never made its way to Newmarket.

    1897- 1914 William H. Small

    When William  Small was appointed Postmaster for Newmarket, both Miss Alma J. Morse (Dr. Morse’s sister and efficient assistant), and Miss Mary H. Dame (who had clerked under Dr. Samuel Greene) were kept as assistants in the office.  At the time of his appointment, Mr. Small was Chief Engineer of the Newmarket Fire Department.  When he handed in his resignation to work full time as Postmaster, the town selectmen refused to accept it.  Instead, they petitioned Washington to allow Mr. Small to keep his position as chief fire engineer explaining that it would be “difficult to find anyone who would take such an interest in the Fire Department as does Mr. Small.” So Postmaster Small was allowed to keep both positions; however Civil Service rules required that he resign his position as a member of the town Republican committee.

    In February 1900, Richard Grant died at age 68.  Postmaster Small displayed an American flag draped in mourning on the day of his funeral with a large card with the inscription: “in Memorial, Richard Grant:  For More Than a Quarter of a Century United States Mail Messenger to this Post Office.”  Mr. Grant had been a mail carrier for well over 25 years between the railroad depot and the Village Post Office; and never once—no matter the weather—did he miss a delivery.  He got his team hitched and drove them to and from the depot and Post Office, picking up and dropping off mail and packages. 

    In 1902 The District Postal Inspector reviewed the receipts and found that 1901’s receipts were the largest in the town’s postal history.  The sale amount from stamps and stamped paper had increased over $500 per year since William Small took over the office, while the amount of mail matter increased over a ton a month, and the money order business had greatly increased as well.

    Having outgrown the building next to the Methodist Church, in July 1903 the Post Office moved to Dr. Charles Caswell’s newly renovated building (Site No. 18).  (His installation of electric lights must have been a real plus; it was described as lighter, more convenient, larger, and better in every way.)  The inspector looked over the new building plans and it was agreed that the number of locked boxes would double the number in use.  And better yet, both Postmaster Small and his assistant Alma J. Morse received a pay increase in July.  After the move, which lasted until 1919,   Alma resigned and was replaced by Bernard J. Haines; however, she returned to fill in during illness or vacations.

    Mr. Small was a meticulous record keeper and he maintained a daily diary: “Wednesday February 13, 1904 was a big flood on Exeter Street, it was under three feet of water, the river was free of ice and there was no snow on the ground after the rain.”

    Sept. 1903:  Joseph Bennet was chosen the first Rural Free Letter carrier, and Harry H. Briggs was hired as the first Letter Carrier in town.  Mr. Briggs stayed on for several years until he left to work full time on The Newmarket Advertiser.  Dr. Towle was the first in town to mail a 2-cent stamped letter from his office for pickup by the mail carrier. The  area of Newmarket’s first Rural Free Delivery was posted in the town paper.

    1905:  John Hersom (1872-1937) was hired as a mail carrier.  He lived behind the Community Church and was a boat builder with his brother Lewis.  A wheelwright by profession, John also ran a livery stable on Exeter Street opposite the Stackpole blacksmith shop. Here he stabled his white horse that pulled the mail cart for years before the automobile appeared on scene.  In 1927 John had to put the horse down, and many folks were saddened when they realized their old friend was now gone.

    1914-1919  Dr. Morse Returns, only to Disappear February 1920

    The robber-chasing Dr. Charles A. Morse returned to the Post Office, reappointed under a new Democratic President. But that wasn’t all:  New Hampshire’s Democratic Governor also appointed him as the Newmarket Police Court Judge,  and  the Manchester Union named him as “King of Newmarket”.

    Morse Faces Challenging Times: 

    Dr. Morse served as Postmaster throughout WW I, keeping the Post Office open Christmas Day in the afternoons from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.  which was much appreciated by the townspeople.  He was again reappointed via NH Senator Hollis and confirmed by the US Senate in 1918.  Although he was past the age for active military service, he joined the volunteer Army Medical Corps, and was placed on the waiting list, upon recommendation of Dr. Samuel J. Mixter of Boston —he was never called for active military duty.  However, he was on constant call for medical duty when the Spanish Flu pandemic swept through town.  He faced other challenges as well:

    August 15,1918:  The Lee Hill Post Office was closed by order of the First Assistant US Postmaster General of the US; and Postmaster Morse received instruction to take an account of all stamps and stamped paper in the office and forward his report to the Central Accounting Postmaster at Rochester, NH.

    Early 1919: Dr. Morse had to find a new lease or build a new building. Doctor Caswell had sold the Post Office building to Primo Vendasi (who rather quickly resold the building to the Bouras family).  He testified before a Congressional committee at a hearing in Boston.  The details of which are posted in  his link to this site.  By 1920:  The Post Office had moved a couple doors north, on the same side of Main Street, likely to the building between Bergeron’s store and the bank.  It would stay there for over ten years.

    March 1920:  The Newmarket Advertiser posted this notice:

    Examination for Postmaster

    First Woman Postmaster

    Oct. 1, 1920- 1923: Caroline Griffin Colby

    became the first woman to be appointed as Newmarket’s Postmaster.  While it is not known if she took the exam, she was a well-educated young woman. She graduated from Newmarket High Scholl in the Class of 1907, alongside her brother James Bartlett Griffin (who later became a Newmarket Police Court Judge).  She went on to Kimball Union Academy in Meriden NH, and then to Mt. Holyoke College where she graduated in 1913.  

    At a house wedding in Newmarket on July 28, 1915, she married Exeter physician Dr. Cleon Colby who had been in her same class at the Kimball Academy in 1908. The minister who officiated at their wedding was Dr. Walter Morgan of the First Congregational Church in Dover—another former classmate of the bride and groom in 1908. 

    (photo of Caroline and her brother James Bartlett Griffin)

    Unusual for those times, not only was she married, but she was also the mother of two very young daughters at the time of her appointment.   Caroline was assisted in the Post Office by Mrs. Sara Haley.  She remained in the position until at least the summer of 1923, when she left the position to become a full-time mother.  She and her husband later moved to Florida upon her husband’s retirement.  She died in Florida in 1983 at age 93.

    August 1923-1936:  Harold B. Pinkham

    Harold was the Assistant Postmaster under Caroline Griffin, and he took over the post as permanent Postmaster when Mrs. Colby resigned.  He hired Miss Carrie Small as assistant, and Robert Bennett was serving as acting clerk. Mr. Pinkham became quite ill in 1924 with scarlet fever; and Bennett would run the office on and off until Pinkham resigned in 1936.  In 1923 WW I wounded veteran Emmett Mullin was added as letter carrier covering the north side of town and Nichols Avenue.

    When Carrie Small left the post office in 1924 to work at the bank, she was replaced with the “talented and popular” Miss Amy Taylor who resigned in Nov. 1926 to marry Elmer Durgin in Los Angeles, California.  She was replaced by Albert H. Stevens who had worked on and off at the post office, usually taking over when Mr. Pinkham went on vacation.

    1931:  Once Novel’s store vacated the “New” Creighton Block at the corner of Water and Main Streets (Site No. 20), the Post Office moved in from across the street.  At that time the building was owned by the Newmarket Community Church, and the Post Office occupied the far-left side of the building.  In The Tide Turns on the Lamprey, Sylvia Getchell describes the history of the building:

      “In the 1866 Great Fire, the wooden Creighton Block on Main Street was destroyed.  It was rebuilt and housed the Post Office in the corner of the building at Water and Main Streets, just south of the Community Church….   It remained leased there off and on for the next hundred years until 1966 when the new Federal Building was built on the site of the old Star Theater.”

    Albert Caswell was hired as a Postal Carrier and worked 30 years out of the Newmarket Post Office.  Upon his retirement in 1958, a special dinner was held at the Exeter Inn, and he was presented with a gold watch by then Postmaster Frank LaBranche.

    1936-1943:  Albert F. Priest

    Mr. Priest was appointed on April 1, 1936 as Acting Postmaster on the recommendation of NH Congressman William Rogers.  He was reappointed as Postmaster in 1940.  Albert had the difficult task of operating the Post Office after the NMCo had left town, during the height of the Depression, and the outbreak of World War II. 

    He married Ida Hevey of Newmarket in 1902.  Their only child Adelaide was employed as a hairdresser in Boston where she died in 1933.  Albert died on Christmas Day in 1954. He had been the owner of Priest’s Clothing and Men’s Furnishing Store on Main Street; he also served as Town Clerk, member of the School Committee, and a Representative to the NH Legislature.  He was a volunteer fireman for years and a member of the Red Men’s Club. Through his many contacts he was instrumental in the success of the Salvation Army Fund Drive in Town in 1942.   

    1941:   Mr. Priest received the original January 27, 1827 US Postal Certificate appointing James Brackett Creighton as Postmaster of Lamprey Village.  Found by James Walker, it had been left in an old secretary of Mr. Creighton’s that had been kept in the family for over 100 years.  James B. Creighton was Newmarket’s first known Postmaster.  Mr. Walker lived in Lee and gave it to Mr. Priest with the condition that it be shown publicly in the Newmarket Post Office. It was then framed and put on display. Ita whereabouts today remains a mystery.

    1943-1966:   Frank E. Labranche

    Mr. Labranche served in WW II in the U.S. Army (1942-43).  After leaving the Army Engineer Corps he was appointed Postmaster in September 1943.  He served for 22 years up until his death in February 1966 at age of 64.  His assistant Ralph E. Willey had been initially hired in 1935 as a postal carrier by Postmaster Harold Pinkham; he took “temporary Leave” during WW II when he was sent to Europe in the US Army. He returned to work at the Post Office for many more years.

    After WW II, Newmarket resident and WW II veteran, Thomas Hood was hired as a postal carrier, a job he stayed with until he retirement. He died in 2015 at age 94.

    1949-1952:    Watchmaker and jeweler Walter A. Gazda operated his business above the Post Office.  It was reportedly an ungodly  hot place to work in the summertime.  But being the Keeper of the Town Clock, Mr. Gazda may have found the location convenient.   

    1956:   Citing the need to accommodate the growing population in Newmarket after the War, Labranche expanded the Post Office space in the Creighton building at Water and Main Streets.  Fortunately, the previous tenant Alphonse Tourigny was moving his barber shop to a new location on Main Street, and the Tourigny family relocated from their upstairs lodging to a new home as well.

    Mr. Labranche was involved in various organizations and served on several town and church committees dealing directly with community drives in town: the Salvation Army, Red Cross Blood Drives, and Polio vaccine drives.  At the time of his death, he had been a 46-year member of the Lamprey Aerie, a 26-year member of the Robert G. Durgin American Legion, National Association of Postmasters, Newmarket Service Club, NH Bowling Association, and St. Mary’s Church.

    First Permanent Post Office Building  1966-1967:

    Newmarket gets a federal building to house its Post Office.   In the process, an entire block of Main Street between Chapel and Church Streets is demolished.  Before the Post Office, there was a block of three buildings sandwiched between Chapel and Church Streets.    The demolished block of buildings are detailed in the link to this site under the title Out With The Old.

    The New Postmaster and a New Post Office Building

    Local realtor and Democratic politician Arthur Beauchesne was appointed Postmaster in April 1966 by President Lyndon Johnson. The first thing that happened under his watch was to make way for a new brick Federal Post Office.  No longer would postmasters battle landlords and scurry about the downtown area looking for a suitable and affordable place to lease.

    1966-1984:  Arthur Beauchesne

    Beaucheausne, a WW II Navy navigator during the battle over Midway,  served as town Postmaster until his retirement in 1984.    He more than anyone was responsible for the removal of the old block of demolished buildings along Main Street between Church and Chapel Streets .  His work in real estate, and in local town government and involvement in NH State politics was the right combination at the right time to put into motion the removal of the urban blight and replace the entire block with a modern post Office. 

    In January 1970, after 52 years as RFD mail carrier,   George A. Bennett retired from his route he began in January 1915. He served under six postmasters. The Bennett family were no strangers to the many different post office sites over 109 years. Joseph Bennett served from 1903 to 1923 and Robert Bennett from 1023 to 1960.  They had all lived on the old Bennett family homestead on Wadleigh Falls Rd. The Homestead was built in 1715. 

    During his position as Post Master  for 18 years ,  Ralph E. Willey’s who was initially hired in 1935 (he took time off to enlist in WW II)  retired in 1970 after over 30 years of service. Ralph’s son, John Willey worked for years in the post office prior to retiring as well. 

    Arthur appointed Mrs. Claudia Pitman as Assistant Postmaster, as she had been a postal clerk in town since before her marriage in 1948.

    Arthur Beauchesne retired in 1984.  Here are just a few of the people who followed.

    James C. Stewart was a Newmarket resident and Korean War Veteran  who was employed as  Assistant Postal Supervisor for a time, retiring in 1996.; and  Susan C. Zwolinski was postmaster here, retiring in 2001. 

    1984: R. Dean Michaud

    Appointed April 28, 1984. He served in the US Marine Corps 1966-1971, was elected Sergeant of the National Association of Postmasters of United States Supervisor Mails and Delivery Rochester, NH, was later  Superintendent Postal Operations Concord, NH - Postmaster Newmarket, NH - Postmaster Exeter, NH Postmaster Berwick, ME.  He was the NH/ME Coordinator for the Expedited Mail Collection System – and expanded the 9 Digit Zip Code System in NH.   He moved to Vero Beach, Florida and became a permanent resident in 2013.

    1986: Officer In Charge -Lillian J. Buckley.

    1987: Phillip P. Hefty

    Hefty was appointed Feb. 28, 1987. He was Postmaster for only a year and two months.   He worked as a prison guard at PNSY, delivery driver with Path Lab and a postmaster for the United States Postal Service in Kittery and Newmarket; he died in Dover in September 2016.

    1988: Officer in Charge- Duane Frank then Edward Sherman

    Newmarket resident and Korean War Veteran James C. Stewart was Assistant Postal Supervisor for a time, retiring in 1996. 

    1988>1997: Susan C. Zwolinski

    Mrs. Zwolinski was Postmaster here from July 30, 1988 and remained for nine years until she retired moved to San Francisco where she died in 2009.

    1997 > 2000; 2006>2014 Turmoil and Turnover

    1997: Officer in charge: Timothy Whalen

    1998: Leo Scott Murray, Postmaster for one year

    1999: Officers in Charge Hugh E. Mann until September, then Rhonda Knapp until December, then Richard Rafferty for the next four months.

    2000: Paul A. Sullivan

                       Appointed April 8th as Postmaster, served for a period of about 6 years.

    2006: Rhonda Knapp appointed May 13, 2006; however, she only lasted for  four months.

    Officers In Charge: 2006=Robert Santovasi; 2007=Kristen C. Kiernan (Kristen became USD Postal Service plant manager in Nashua in 2017); 2008= Gary W. Hodson & Kristen again for a few months; then Robert C. Dean between November and the end of January 2009=Scott Cassidy, and Paul Juneau until Paul was appointed Postmaster in July 2009.

    2009: Paul Juneau 

                 Once appointed Postmaster, he only kept the position for a year and a half.

    Officers in Charge: 2010=(Donna A. Hanscom In 2014, Donna was Postmaster in East Kingston); 2011=Anthony Glazier; 2012=Scott Cassidy, Kevin M. Cherry, John F. Minigan, Linda McNutt (Linda became the Postmaster of Gilmanton, NH in June 2022), and Stephen J. Sherman.Officers in Charge: 2010=Donna A. Hanscom; 2011=Anthony Glazier; 2012=Scott Cassidy, Kevin M. Cherry, John F. Minigan, Linda McNutt, and Stephen J. Sherman.

    2013: Robert J. Santovasi

    Was appointed as Postmaster, a position he kept for a year and a half,  until he left for a more lucrative job as a field Sales Rep within the US Postal Service.


    2014-2022 – Liz Warner

    Liz Warner was  Postmaster here in charge  during a pandemic, with an underfunded budget due to Congressional inaction, and coping with Postmaster General Louis Dejoy’s draconian policies.   These may have hindered many a small-town postmaster, but not Liz Warner.   Despite the national issues with mail delay, she made sure that the local office ran as efficiently as possible to mitigate any delay issues on the town’s end.  With workers out due to quarantine or contracting Covid, substitutes were brought in from out of town.  During this time, one resident had not received a scheduled delivery of medication; and he called to inquire if it was in the post office.  The clerk informed him that it hadn’t arrived yet—but that they would keep an eye out for it.  On Saturday night, well after post office hours, the resident received a knock on his door at 7 p.m.  It was a personal delivery of his medication from a substitute clerk brought over from another town.  

    Liz was the 2022 President of the NH/VT chapter of the United Postmasters and Managers of America organization. Her agenda on the State front was training to benefit workers dealing with all the changes that have been happening and the stress that postmasters have been under for the past two years.  She ran the NH/VT convention in Concord in March 2022,  and very shortly thereafter left her position in Newmarket to become Postmaster in another  NH town.

    July 16, 2022 – Paul Capodilupo

    Mr. Capodilupo came to town, a 30 year veteran in the Postal Services. He had been the Newburyport, MA postmaster prior to taking over in Newmarket. He comes at a time of proposed 2024 change and the ensuing controvesary in the state as the US Postal Service attempts to change some services at the main center in Manchester as it attempts to shift some operations to Boston.  


     Two local heroines

    In 2017 Rural Carrier Judith Gagnon came to the aid of an older customer in Newmarket, NH, who needed medical assistance.  Gagnon was delivering mail when she discovered the man lying in his driveway, apparently knocked unconscious by a fall while he was home alone.

    The Postal Service employee called 911 and stayed with the customer until emergency responders arrived. She also secured his personal effects and made sure his house was locked.

    Medical workers later told the man’s wife that without Gagnon’s help, he would not have survived. “His wife is so grateful that Judi is so observant and aware of her customers,” said local Postmaster Elizabeth Warner.  “She brought flowers to the Post Office, which is how we found out, because Judi never said a word.”

    2022 – Another life was saved by postal employee Kayla Berridge in January 2022, during the pandemic.  Kayla requested a welfare check for a resident of Newmarket on Thursday after noticing that the elderly woman had not picked up her mail for four days.  The Police Department did a life safety check; upon entering the home they discovered the victim trapped underneath a pile of items that had collapsed on top of her inside her bedroom. The woman was taken to the hospital with hypothermia and dehydration.  According to the investigating police officer, the victim had been stuck on the floor for at least three days, if not longer.

    “I just had a gut feeling and I just wanted to make sure [she was okay],” Berridge told WCVB Channel 5 News. “When people pick up their mail every day, you start to notice their habits.”