Thursday, July 5, 2012

Somers Post Office History

(Source:  "My Memories" by Minnie A.G. Ozanne. Copyright 1948.)

The First Somers Post Office
"Standing today, on the Green Bay Trail, is an old frame building that was erected in the early days of Our Town, then known as the Town of Pike, which today is the Elmer Maxwell home - then it was the George Willis tavern.
It was there the first Post Office in Our Town was established, in 1836, the year that the present U.S. Postal Organization became effective.
At that time a weekly stage coach began to run from Chicago to Milwaukee, over the "Old Indian Trail."  This office also served Southport, now Kenosha, until 1840.
"Uncle Billy" Smith carried mail by horseback from Southport to Milwaukee, over the Green Bay Trail, in the early days.  he resided on "this trail" adjoining the Township House.

First Somers Postmaster
Lute Carpenter, first Postmaster, carried mail from Kenosha, keeping the Post Office in his house (now the Edmund Fink home), at a salary of $12.00 per year.

Early Somers Post Office Locations
After a time, a group of farmers moved an old building that had been started as a grist mill and turned into a cheese factory, by a spring of clear, cold water, on the Somers Road, and Lute Carptenter moved the Post Office into this factory.  Soon afterward, Abram Bishop began carrying the mail, the volume of which had increased sufficiently to warrant increasing the salary to $20. per year.  When winter came, it was too cold in the cheese factory, so the Post was moved into the nearby blacksmith shop owned by John Smith.  The fext fall, Abram Bishop moved it into his woodshed, a short distance west.  The Post Office was two feet wide and three feet long.  A few months later Abram Bishop added a room on to his house for a store, and put the Post Office into it.  This room soon became too small for his grocery business, so he erected a store building nearby, and moved the Post Office into it, where it remained for two years.
When in 1870 the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Railroad was built through Our Town, the village of Somers was established.  Mr. Bishop then moved to the village, taking with him his store, and the Post Office.  Later, a larger store building was erected, and the Post Office was again moved."
(Source: My Memoirs by Minnie A.G. Ozanne. Copyright 1948)

Somers Postmasters
Postmasters following Mr. Bishop were Lafayette Cook, 1885; Ward E. Bain 1889; George Biehn 1893; N.E. Thompson 1897 to 1916; Mrs. Florence Fink, 1916-1929, and Albert E. Bullamore, 1929 to the present (1936), Mrs. Eunice B. Bullamore and C.C. Ruthe.

The Post Office now (1948) is now is the Chicago, Milwaukee, and St. Paul Station house."
(Source: My Memoirs by Minnie A.G. Ozanne. Copyright 1948)

Rural delivery of mail over Route #1 was established in Somers in 1904. George Hamilton, a Spanish-American War veteran, was given the carrier's job, and he traveled the Route 30 years until February 1934, when it was discontinued.

(Source: My Memoirs by Minnie A.G. Ozanne. Copyright 1948)
George Hamilton Carrier Route No. 38 - 1904
George Hamilton has been appointed mail carrier for Route No. 38, his duties to begin on February 1. Just where the route would be laid out was a question with many, but the following is the official route as given recently and it will be published for the benefit of the Journal's readers.
From Somers east 1/2 mile, north to Percy Fink's corner, 2 miles, west to T.B. Lewis' residence, 1-1/4 miles, east to corner 1/4 mile, south 1 mile, west to W.J. Rhodes corner, 3/4 mile, north to Sniffen corner, 1 mile, west to school #4, 1-1/4 miles south to Frederick corner,3-3/4 miles, southeast to Reitenback residence 3/4, northwest to Chapin, 1-3/4 miles, north to school #56, Paris 1-3/4 miles, east to school #5, Somers 2-3/4 miles, south to George Hanson, 2-3/8 miles, southeast and east to J. Eich, 7/8 mile, north to C. Nelson corner, 1-1/2 miles, east to J. Gray corner, 1 mile, north and west 1-1/2 miles to Somers. Length of route, 25 miles.
(Source: Racine Weekly, January 14, 1904)

Ralph Pedley, Route 34
(Source:  Photo Courtesy of Robert Swartz)

Kellogg's Corners Post Office
Another Post Office in Somers Township was kept for many years in Amon T. Gould's blacksmith shop at Kellogg's Corners. The mail was placed in a box in the northwest corner of his shop, as it was brought from Winsor Station, now Sylvania. Each farmer sorted his own mail.
(Source: My Memoirs by Minnie A.G. Ozanne. Copyright 1948)

Berryville Post Office
A Post Office was kept at Berryville for many years by Mrs. Minnie Payne, Mr. and Mrs. William Scheckler, and for some time, was located in the Berryville Depot. When Nicholas Erickson, a Spanish-American veteran, was appointed mail carrier on the newly establish rural route No. #37 out from Kenosha, the Berryville Post Office was discontinued. Later No. 37 R.F.D. became R.F.D. #4."
(Article Source: Racine Journal Times, Publication January 8, 1936, by Mrs. Minnie Ozanne)

There is a new Rural Route #4 approved by the Postmaster H.J. Smith in Racine.
Route No. 4
Commencing at Station “A” Racine post office, the carrier will go thence south on Lake Road through Berryville to the School No. 11 (Berryville School) 5 miles; west to H. Linstroth, 5/8 mile; north to Piper’s corner on County Line Road, 1 mile; west one-half and east one-half, 1 mile; north to Saxe corner, 1-1/2 miles’ southwest to Burrough’s estate on County Line, 2-5/8 miles; west to F. Fink corner, 1-1/2 miles, north to F.C. Hunter corner, 1 mile; east to N. Williams corner, 1 ¾ miles; north to Hans corner, west to Chas. Bull residence, ½ mile; east ½ mile, northwester to Monroe estate, 1 ½ miles; east to Erskine corner 1 mile, south to J. Walsh corner, 1 1 /2 miles east to Karles corner, 7/8 milw; northeast to Station “A”, 1-1/2 miles.
Length of route, 24-7/8 miles.
Area covered – 18 square miles; number of houses on route – 175; population served 375.
(Source:  Racine Journal Dec. 25, 1903)

On account of two more Rural Routes being established in this county going out of Racine, the Berryville Post Office has been discontinued. The mail hereafter for the residents of that locality being carried by Peter Therson, will be known as Route 3. Thorson and a Mr. Merkle started out on rural deliveries this morning each covering twenty-five miles in their daily circuit. Merkle travels what is known as Route 4, out by the way of Corliss (Sturtevant). Both men make their headquarters at Station A., Racine Junction.
(Source:  Racine Journal Feb  2, 1904)

Berryville Depot, Somers Township
Location: East side of railroad tracks and north of Berryville Road, now County Road A.  Take note of the Hansche warehouse in the foreground.
(Source:  Original photo courtesy of Warren Kramer)

National Archives, Washington, D.C. Letter dated July 15, 1948
Somers Post Office History
Click on letter for larger view.
(Source: Original letter courtesy of E. Ruthe.)

Racine Journal Times photo
March 23, 1938
(Source: Original news clipping and text below courtesy of Ernest "Bunky" Tabbert.)

"Albert E. Bullamore has been Postmaster at Somers since January 1, 1929. Born in Benton, Illinois in 1870, he has resided in Somers many years. His parents were the late Mr. and Mrs. William Bullamore. He is a member of the Somers Congregational Church in which he serves as a deacon, and has been a church choir singer since he was 18 years old. George Hamilton, a Spanish-American War Veteran, carried the mail over Route 1, Somers, from 1904 until the route was discontinued in February 1934.
(Source: Racine Journal Times, March 23, 1938)

New Postmaster Name for Somers:  Office to be moved from old location
C.C. Ruthe, agent for the Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul & Pacific Railway Co. has been named postmaster for Somers.  It is expected that the post office will be moved to the depot within a short time.  it has occupied the Bullamore property since 1929.  Mrs. Eunice Bullamore has been serving as postmaster since the retirement of her husband, Albert E. Bullamore.
Somers post office is one of the oldest in the State of Wisconsin.  In 1836, a weekly stage ran from Chicago to Milwaukee over the Green Bay Trail through Somers Township and the first post office was established at the George Willis Tavern, now the Elmer Maxwell home.
"Uncle Billy" Smith carried mail by horseback from Southport now Kenosha, to Milwaukee over the Green Bay Trail in the early days.  The first Somers post master was Lute Carpenter who carried the mail from Kenosha and kept the post office in his home, now the home of Mrs. Edmund Fink on the Somers Road (Highway E). His salary was $12 per year.
After a time a group of farmers moved an old building that had been started for a grist mill, nearer to the highway and Lute Carpenter moved the post office into it.  After Abram T. Bishop began to carry the mail and as the volume had increased, the salary was raised to $20 per year.  In the winter, because the building was too cold, the post office was moved into John Smith's blacksmith shop.  Later Abram T. Bishop moved it into his wood house.  When Mr. Bishop added a room onto his home, the office was moved again.  Two men carried it.
In 1870 the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad was built through the village of Somers and Mr. Bishop moved to the village where he established a grocery store, taking the post office too.  Mr. Bishop was postmaster from 1868 to 1885.  He was followed by Lavayette Cook in 1885; Ward E. Bain, 1889; George Biehn, 1893, N.E. Thompson, 1897; Mrs. Bullamore 1929 to 1944; Mrs. Eunice Bullamore, the past year and a half.
George Hamilton, a Spanish-American War Veteran, carried mail over Rural Route 1, Somers, from 1904 to 1934 when the route was discontinued.
(Source:  Racine Journal Times October 1, 1945)

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