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Ch. 08: Michigan - Mail And Post Office

Mail and Post Office

Mail was brought into Grandville, as early as January 1833. Mr. Tucker was the first mail carrier, going once a week to Gull Prairie for it. Slater, at Grand Rapids, the Indian Missionary was the first Post Master. Mail was often held up for months before it was called for by busy pioneers. Shortly after he arrived in Michigan, an uncalled for letter was held for Stephen Lowing for months. When the first News Paper was printed in Grand Rapids, on the 18th of April 1837, called the "Grand Rapids Times" Stephen Lowing's name was published as one who had an uncalled-for letter at the Grand Rapids Post Office.

The expense of sending letters from the east to Michigan, was nearly prohibitive. From 1836 to July 1845, the cost of one closely written letter was $.25. The cost of one acre of land was between $.45 and $1.25 in Michigan, so one could not write too many letters. These letters were written on the first, second and third pages, leaving the fourth to fold and seal with wax and then address. The Post Master had no stamps, but wrote the name of the town and cost of sending, in the corner. Often whole families wrote in the letter, to fill every inch of space.

If anyone heard of a person traveling west, they were generally besieged by people to carry letters to their relatives, often walking miles to give the letters to them for delivery. Letters written between 1845 and 1850 cost $.10 and in 1850 the first envelopes appeared, but these still used no Government stamp, only a P.O. stamp the town and date. After 1855, the first stamps appeared and all letters written in the Civil War were placed in envelopes and carried postage stamps.

Post Office

In 1847 the part of Talmadge, on the south side of the river was exchanged for Georgetown, which was on the north side. Stephen's land was all in Georgetown Township. This made his Post Office at Grandville, instead of Bethuel Church's store at Talmadge. In 1850 Stephen was made the first Post Master and the office was in his store. This became such a nuisance, that in 1854 it was moved to the home of Franklin Bosworth on the State Road. He kept this office until the change of administration, when it was moved to Holden Lowing's place.

Post Masters:

1850-1854 S.L. Lowing
1854-1862 E.F. Bosworth
1862-1886 H.C. Lowing
1886-1892 E.F. Bosworth
1892-1900 H.C. Lowing

After this time RFD was established.

Holden was a Democrat and Franklin Bosworth a Republican, so the Post Office was kept between the two families, depending on what party was in power at the time.

When Rural Free Delivery was established, Post Offices in homes were discontinued and Money Order Offices were maintained at Jenison and Hudsonville. There was also a Post Office at Bauer and when men took their milk and cream to the Creamery, they picked up mail for all the families on their milk routes.

The first Post Office at Jension - in 1871, with George Weatherwax as Post Master.

The first Post Office at Hudsonville (Under the name of South Georgetown ) May 1, 1868. Name changed to Hudsonville in 1872. Homer Hudson was first Post Master and John Green the second.

posted by Trevor Lowing

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