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Postmasters of Coram

Footnotes to Long Island History

date

Postmasters of Coram

 

by

Thomas R. Bayles

 


       According to the records of the  postmasters of Suffolk county in the National archives at Washington, Middle Island was the first post office established in Brookhaven town.  It was opened in 1796. The post office at Coram was established in 1826 with Richard W. Smith as postmaster, followed in 1831 by the appointment of Seth B. Worth as postmaster.

      Evidently, some of the Coram people did not like the arrangement.  Following is a petition which is in my possession, dated December 14, 1834, and addressed to the Postmaster General:

      “We, the subscribing residents in and about Coram would respectfully submit the following statement for your consideration and decision in relation to the post office at Coram, New York.  Seth B. Worth, who by your appointment holds the commission as postmaster, is a mechanic and absent from this place most of the time during the summer, and is now working at his trace about 25 miles from this village, and even when in the village has not charge of said post office, it having never been kept at his house, but has been kept by Richard W. Smith at his house, first under the cloak, of Mrs. Smith, 

 Being assistant, and lastly being   assistant himself, which we consider unlawful, he being sheriff of the county, which office we respectfully mention, renders it unlawful for him to hold any other office under the state of United States government.

                 “Dismiss Worth”

      “Under the above considerations, that Seth B. Worth is merely a nominal postmaster, and that Richard W. Smith, sheriff of Suffolk county, is acting postmaster of Coram, your petitioners would respectfully solicit the Postmaster General to dismiss Seth B. Worthy and appoint Lester H. Davis, who resides and keeps a public house in the center of the village of Coram, and at whose house the principal business of the town is done (Brookhaven town).  It is situated on the present main post road at the junction of another road leading to Old Mans (Mt. Sinai) and Millers Place on the north side of the island, which renders the house of Lester H. Davis for use as a post office very convenient to the people of the Village of Coram.  The said Lester H. Davis, we deem well qualified for the office as to ability and integrity; he is also a true Republican and is now and has been in favor of the present state and national administrations.”

      This petition was signed by a number of the old families of Coram, including Elisha Overton, Brewster Terry, Samuel Davis, Lester Davis, Oscar Swezey, John B. Overton, Samuel F. Norton and several other Norton Families.  Evidently it did not carry much weight with the Postmaster General, for according to the records, Richard W. Smith was appointed postmaster instead of assistant in December, 1824, the same month this petition was sent to the Postmaster General.  He continued to hold the office until 1849, when Lewis R. Overton was appointed.

      Richard W. Smith was again appointed in 1853, and it was not until 1856 that Lester H. Davis was appointed.   James M. Oakley was appointed postmaster in 1861, and in 1864 Richard W. Smith Jr., took over the office and held it until 1870.   William H. Osborn then became postmaster.

       Emma L. Norton was appointed in January, 1886, and held the office until November, 1916, when Alvah F. Dake took over the office.  On February 21, 1918, Joseph Rovagna was appointed.  He and his wife held the office until Jacob Baczensky was appointed in 1928.  Leo B. Burns was appointed in 1930 and held the office until the present incumbent, Mrs. Myrtle Finger, took over.

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