Early postmasters kept office in their homes, stores

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Ginny Hall | February 21, 2014

The East Troy Post Office, located at 121 S. Mills St., one block east of the village square, was dedicated on  June 12, 1966.

The first post office was established for the area in 1838 at the home of Henry Powers. His home was in Section 3 in the township. John F. Potter was the first postmaster. Two years later the post office moved to the village. 

Potter came to the area in the spring of 1838 and settled in Section 11. His place was on the north side of the lake, which had his name. 

The second postmaster was Sewall Smith, who began on Jan. 3, 1843. Smith was a merchant in Vermont who came with his family in 1841 and opened the first store in the village. The family lived above the store, which also held the post office.

The post office was discontinued due to some disagreements between the village and Troy, then the post office was re-established in the village and Smith again was the postmaster.

Smith was involved in the township of East Troy, serving as town clerk, a commissioner of schools and town supervisor. He built the large home, which was later the home of Mrs. Hibbert and the East Troy Library.

The next postmaster was Edward H. Ball, who began his service on March 21, 1849. He was followed by John D. Hawes, who was appointed June 3, 1853, serving until Thomas Russell took over on April 23, 1856.  Smith was reappointed in 1861. 

In those early days the postmaster served at the pleasure of the sitting U.S. president, which meant they were typically from the same political party.

Henry B. Clark began his service Oct. 30, 1867, and served until Joseph W. Church was appointed on March 29, 1869. Church served a short time before drugstore owner Perry O. Griste took over on April 15, 1869. 

Griste came to the village from Ohio in 1862 and served as postmaster until Feb. 7, 1894. The second floor of his drugstore/post office served as a lodge room for the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. 

Griste's tenure had a special note in the 1882 history. In 1870 the post office was made a money order office. The first one was drawn by Peter Yoss at Manistee, Mich., and was issued to A.O. Babcock. 

The listing of postmasters continues long and varied:

Rudolph Haberknicht, Feb. 7, 1894

Perry O. Grist, Oct. 19, 1897

Edwin R. Hicks, Dec. 14, 1901

Bernard Schwartz, Dec. 20, 1911

Lawrence Clancy, Jan. 1, 1916

Herbert Linde, Jan. 22, 1925

Charles Randolph, April 15, 1930

Mary Leonard, April 15, 1933

John F. Clancy, Nov. 1, 1935

Kathryn Crosswaite, Aug. 1, 1941

Mildred Dwyer, May 16, 1942

Roy Hopkins, 1963

Ken Eppler, August 1974

Karen Conrad, December 1981

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