THE BETHEL JOURNALS—NEWRY MAIL BY CARRIE WIGHT

Mail Service in Newry History

By Carrie Wight

A special route from South Newry (Sunday River) to Bethel was let on August 1841, to Columbus Eames, five miles, once a week, not to exceed $30. per annum. Mail route No. 147 from Bethel via North Bethel, Newry, North Newry, Grafton and Upton to Errol (NH) was let on April 19, 1865 to John F. Rice, thirty-six miles and back, twice a week, for $296 per annum. This information came in a letter from the Post Office Department in Washington, D.C.

There were for many years two Post Offices on Bear River, one at the store at Newry Corner and one at North Newry.

The name of the first Postmaster that can be recalled by the oldest inhabitants is that of Mark Kilgore, who lived a few rods above Poplar Tavern. The next Postmaster was Charles Bartlett at the time he was proprietor of Poplar Tavern. The Post Office remained here for twenty-five years.

Following Mr. Bartlett was (Walter) Dennis Kilgore who had the Post Office part of the time at the Poplar Hotel and part of the time at his private home. (The Dennis Kilgore home it is currently the home of Donald and Sylvia Gray). About 1918 Leslie Davis who lived at the present (circa 1960) Davis farm, became Postmaster and held the office for nearly three years. His mother, Mrs. Cora Davis, then took the office and was Postmaster until her death in 1923 when Mrs. Addie Robertson was appointed and served until 1938 when the present Postmaster, Robert Davis was appointed.

The first mail carrier or stage driver as he was called, who is remembered by the oldest residents was Jim Lane who traveled the road between Bethel and Errol with his springboard.

In 1893 Charles Davis began his long term of service. His brother Gerald was in partnership with him for a short time. His service ended in 1923. His son, Moses, completed his unexpired term and also served the next term.

During the years that Charles Davis was driving, he had several types of vehicles, including a wagon drawn by one horse, a four seated wagon drawn by three horses abreast, a Stanley Steamer automobile and a Ford touring car. The mail carrier also conveyed passengers and express.

BOB DAVIS RETIRES AS NEWRY POSTMASTER

by Amy E. Hanscom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He assumed charge of the Newry Post Office, which was then called North Newry, on Nov. 1, 1938. During most of his years, during which the town name was changed to Newry, he was assisted in his work by his wife, Bertha, until she died in 1975.

Members of the Davis family have served this town and surrounding communities since 1893. That was when an uncle of Robert's, Charles Davis, successfully bid the Star Route from Lakeside, N.H,, to Bethel, from his Grafton home. Charles Davis served post  offices in Upton, Grafton, Newry and North Bethel. Not long afterwards, the route was extended to Errol, via Lakeside and Cambridge, N.H.

Mail service in the summer of the 1890's was daily. One driver left Upton at about 7 a.m., proceeding to Bethel. Another driver would leave Bethel on receipt of the mail, thus assuring both delivery and forwarding of mail daily to all concerned. In the winter, mail left Upton one day, returning from Bethel the next.

Horses, of course, were the transporters of mail in those days.

Spare horses were kept at Ralph Kilgore's tavern in North Newry. On arrival there, the stage would change from fresh horses to keep the mail moving at maximum speed. Later, vehicles that transported the mail included the Stanley Steamer and the most dependable Model T. Ford. In the winter, during the late 1920's, the latter was converted to a snowmobile by the addition of lags on the rear of converting to runners on the front of the car,

In the beginning, Charles Davis was assisted by his brother, Gerald, and later by his son, Moses. When Charles died in 1923, Moses continued to run the mail service until 1929, when his

Mrs. Eleanor Davis and Robert R. Davis

 NORTH NEWRY - Robert R. Davis retired as postmaster here on Oct. 7, 1977, after completing nearly 39 years of service to Newry and surrounding towns.

Poplar Tavern and Dennis Kilgore’s place a short distance from the Tavern housed North Newry’s  Post Office during the turn of the century.

1

2

>