50 Year History of the Deerfield Post Office
originally published in the Bicentennial Book
About the year 1909 Woodbury Harvey was appointed Postmaster of Deerfield Post Office, Fourth Class. The office was located in his home at Deerfield Parade. A Star Route connected this office with the Candia post office, serving two other post offices in Deerfield, South Deerfield and Leavitts Hill.
After twenty-two years of faithful service, Mr. Harvey retired and I, Lois Tilton, was appointed Postmaster of that office in October 1931. The office was moved east only a few rods into my home where it continued until 1957, when it was ordered to move to Deerfield Center because of the loss of numerous box holders to an extended rural route through the Coffeetown section of town.
At Deerfield Center, located in the store room of Deerfield Inn, then owned by Charles Smith, it was hoped by the Postal Department to pick up more box holders and more business which it did succeed in doing. At this time the office was advanced to third class because of the regular and increasing patronage of C.R. Products, a mail order business owned by Charles Richardson, who now lives in Concord; by Progress Inc., a non-profit organization for the advancement of many town improvements; by the L.A. Stevens Insurance Agency; and by numerous private families.
At this time, through the efforts of patron P.E. Pendleton, the Postal Department authorized the passing Gossville rural carrier Fred Yeaton, to call in the office to deliver and pick up mail pertaining to patrons of Deerfield office and to those on route beyond the office thus hastening the delivery of that mail by a day or two. Now, Mr. Yeaton is retired after many years of faithful rural service and John Yeaton is the substitute carrier until a permanent carrier is appointed.
Also, at this time the office was allowed a replacement clerk, to replace the Postmaster on annuals and sick leaves and as an additional helper at Christmas time. Dorothy Hussey was appointed and has filled, and still fills, that very helpful position. She has been a sincere and devoted assistant.
In January 1963, the Leavitts Hill post office was discontinued to the displeasure of its many devoted patrons.
In December 1963, because the Inn was purchased by Taine Ouelette, to be converted into a convalescent home, the post office was moved into a one-half section of the ground floor hall of the Odd Fellows Building through great efforts of the members of that order. At this time their Grand Noble was George Innes, who gave many hours of labor and supplies in renovating the section the office now occupies.
At this time, regulation lock mail boxes and post office front were installed and needed postal facilities were furnished by the Postal Department, making the work much more adequate and also easier. The postal business improved continually. Some of the added patrons were the Deerfield Fair Association, the George B. White School, and private families near the Center and many from out-lying districts in town, many some distance from any post office or rural route. This condition has continued to increase.
To mention a few of the many out of the ordinary experiences as postmaster, which I will never forget, I wish to tell first of the time a box of day old chicks arrived with the mail making a great noise. They were for an unknown and unlocated party. They had to be offered for sale and quickly. To add to the problem it was early spring and still cold weather. I finally solved the problem by buying them myself and I put them in an upstairs room with crocks of warm water and a lantern for heat. I might add a few of them survived to "grow up". The second, a very sticky experience, was in World War Two days when Sears, Roebuck shipped out paint in cardboard-sided pails. In came the mail sacks and all the mail was painted together. The third, a funny problem, was a letter from an out-of-state lady stating her husband had left her and supposedly gone to New Hampshire, she wished me to try to find him and report to her. I assure you, I never had to report.
The two most recent mail carriers between the Candia and Deerfield post offices are Joseph Anderson, now deceased, who carried the mail for many years, from 1920 to 1953, minus one or two four year terms and then taking over the job was Alice Lewis, who is the present carrier today.
After 33 years of an enjoyable and some times tedious "life work", I retired in October 1964, at which time Mrs. Hussey became Acting Postmaster until a permanent postmaster was installed.
On December 30, 1964, the Deerfield Post Office was discontinued, South Deerfield Post Office was relocated to Deerfield to be known as the Deerfield Post Office, and Postmaster Verna Elliott was transferred to be permanent Postmaster as of December 31, 1964.
Rural Free Delivery
Deerfield has been served by rural free delivery from the Raymond Post Office since about 1902. John Johnson was the first carrier and served until he retired in 1919. He was still driving a horse and carrying the mail in a little square white cart. In the winter time he had on runners. Then, as now, the route entered Deerfield at the Raymond-Deerfield line turning left at Duffy Doe's, over the Ridge Road to Haynes Road, Old Center, James City, Deerfield Parade, Number 5 and on to Nottingham, N. H.
In 1919, Emil Wason, became the regular carrier and served for a little over a year until he was transferred to Raymond rural route No. 2. Emile went on to serve that route for 42 years and is now retired and living in Raymond, N. H. Henry Plant then took over the route in 1920 and served for twenty-eight years until his death in 1948. During his early years on the route Automobiles were used only in the summer and then only in good weather. Carriers were required to keep horses and used them in the winter and mud time. Highways were not plowed and the town would send shoveling crews to keep the rural route open. Later on Henry beat the snow drifts with a Model T Ford equipped with runners in front and caterpillar treads in back. Henry Plant served the route long and faithfully and was planning to retire when he died.
In 1946, the present rural carrier, Austin H. Ingalls, was appointed a substitute rural carrier and came under the tutelage of Henry Plant, and became a regular carrier two years later when Henry Plant died. "Aussie", as he is called by all his Deerfield patrons has been on the route ever since. He is known as a rural carrier who goes out of his way, and beyond the call of duty, in serving his patrons. It would take many pages to catalogue the helpful acts that he performs every day such as taking care of the sick, helping the aged, and being an all around good neighbor. A few years ago he saved the life of a child in Nottingham but was too modest to tell about it. Here is a letter from a Patron describing the event: On an August afternoon in 1963 I was raking my front lawn when I heard a call for help. A woman was asking someone to help her with her child. My first reaction was, because her car was on my neighbor's lawn, that the child had been hit by a car. I took the child and ran toward my house to call a Doctor, putting the boy on the lawn. He appeared blue and lifeless. The mother was hysterical. At that moment, I was pushed aside by our mail carrier, Austin Ingalls, who started artificial respiration. Fortunately he had arrived at the right time and knew what to do. He worked steadily on the boy for at least twenty minutes before there was any sign of life at all.
In the meantime, a young camper stopped to help by holding the boy's tongue, and our town nurse, Mrs. John Fernald, going by also stopped and helped until the Doctor and Raymond ambulance arrived. Little Nathan Witham recovered, thanks to the quick and persistant efforts of Austin Ingalls. (Signed) Webster W. White.
Austin Ingalls grew up in Epping, N. H. and graduated from the High School there. He married Martha Clock of Raymond and they have two children. A boy, Wayne and a girl, Elaine. He is a Navy Veteran of World War II.
Thus part of Deerfield has been served by an RFD from the Raymond Post Office for the past 65 years and so far served by four regular carriers, only.
Deerfield and Candia: Blake's Express
Nearly sixty years ago this stage carried passengers and mail from Deerfield to Candia. The driver, John D. Blake is holding the reins of the four horse coach. Beside him is Miss Annie Hill, later Mrs. Annie Childs. Standing at the door of the stage is Lewis D. Adams, postmaster and storekeeper at the I.O.O.F. Building, Deerfield Center. In the foreground is George Page, owner and builder of the hotel at Deerfield Center. Interesting to note, Kate Rand, wife of Charles Rand, was a daughter of Mr. John Blake and John Tilton of Raymond, N. H., the grandson of Mr. Blake. Mr. Hermon Simons was driver of this stage for many years, then Joseph Anderson of South Deerfield took over, and he served Deerfield and Candia for thirty-two years. By this time the automobiles were used and these men have faithfully carried mail, passengers and express in all kinds of weather during the last sixty years. Alice Lewis is the driver of the Star Route at the present time and last winter the drifts were six feet or more high but in this era with giant snow plows the roads were cleared as fast as possible and the mail was delivered.