Post Office Return to
Content, on this page, is presented in the following order:
: An excerpt from the 1860 U.S. Census lists John McMaken as the Darrtown Postmaster
: A request for information from the Darrtown Postmaster regarding the "relative position of Post Offices"
: A request for information from the Darrtown Postmaster regarding the "relative position of Post Offices"
: A letter to the editor which asserts that the Darrtown rural free delivery system preceded that of Collinsville and Somerville
: A letter from Harllee Branch, Second Assistant Postmaster General (Washington, DC), which clarifies that "the first rural delivery service in Ohio was established at Collinsville, Darrtown, and Somerville, effective October 1, 1896."
: A newspaper article describes an interview of Darrtown watchmaker, William K. Bufler, who remembers when Darrtown had its own post office.
: A file from the United States Postal Service website, which verifies that Darrtown, Collinsville and Somerville were first RFD (rural free delivery) routes in Ohio
: A list of Darrtown Postmasters (from 1825 to 1901) that was compiled and contributed by Thomas F. Stander, Butler County (Ohio) historian
I: Front and back of an 1897 envelope sent from Reily, Ohio to Darrtown, Ohio
: Front and back of a 1900 envelope sent from Reily, Ohio to Darrtown, Ohio
The following image, taken from the 1860 U.S. Federal census, shows the occupation of John McMaken, age 50, as "postmaster." The names that appeared on lines above and below this section of the census were names of Darrtown residents. Therefore, it seems reasonable to assume that John McMaken was the postmaster of the Darrtown post office. Others listed at the residence of John McMaken were Mary E. McMaken, age 57, and M. S. Leopold, a female, age 18.
A complete listing of Darrtown postmasters appears in Item 8, below.
The following image displays an 1865 form letter from Geo. W. McLellan, the Second Assistant Postmaster General, in Washington, D.C. wherein Mr. McLellan requests information from the Darrtown Postmaster regarding the "relative position of Post Offices." John McCechan, Darrtown postmaster responded.
The following image displays an 1898 form letter from a topographer in the P. O. Department, in Washington, D.C. wherein the topographer requests information from the Darrtown Postmaster regarding the "relative position of Post Offices." William J. Brincefield, Darrtown postmaster responded.
Rick Martin, Darrtown native, contributed two items related to the delivery of mail in and around Darrtown:
(1) a letter to the editor (displayed below) that asserts the first rural free delivery occurred in Darrtown (not Collinsville or Somerville) and ...
(2) an obituary of Mrs. Cliff Hagen - the wife of a former Darrtown postmaster. Mrs. Hagen's obituary appears at: People / Individuals / H-L.
The following "Letter to the editor" appeared in the
January 26, 1916 edition of the Hamilton (Ohio) Republcan News.
" 'Letter to Editor' Asserts that Darrtown Rural Free Delivery Preceded both the Somerville and Collinsville Rural Free Delivery
To the editor of the Daily Republican News:
My attention was called to an article in your issue of Jan. 17, in reference to the services of J. W. Morton, rural route mail carrier. Your article states that he was appointed to his present position on October 15, 1896 and was the first mail carrier to cover a rural route in Ohio, if not in the United States.
Permit me to say your information is badly mistaken. The first route was established at Darrtown in the latter part of October 1896 and C. G. Hagen, who is now a fireman at the Cincinnati Brewing Co.'s plant, was the first carrier.
Along in the early part of October 1896, Congress, after a good deal of quarreling, rangling, and much discussion, finally appropriated a sum of money for experimental purposes in the rural free delivery system. A large percentage of the population thought it would be a failure and hence did not take interest enough in the project to make a fight for it. The salary was $25 per month.
After some days, Postmaster General Wanamaker was undecided as to where to try the scheme.  One day, Gov. Campbell stepped into the Postmaster General's office and Wannamaker at once asked him where would be a good place to put the route question in operation. Gov. Campbell suggested Butler Co., Ohio and stated, "It was the best county in the world."  General Wannamaker acted on the suggestion and immediately dispatched W. L. Moore to Hamilton. Inspector Moore and J. E. Lohman discussed the matter and the result was the first route was established in Darrtown, as stated. A few hours after this, another was mapped out about Somerville and several days after this, one was established at Collinsville. So, this statement about Oct. 15 1896 is also wrong.
The first piece of mail delivered to any person by the rural route system anywhere in Ohio was handed to Mr. John Bradbury, who lived east of Darrtown. 
Mr. Hagen started on his route the latter part of October. The people in the district did not take to the system, with the result that Mr. Hagen was very much inconvenienced and had to do a lot of extra work in order to carry out his obligations. Some refused to recognize the system and refused to place boxes in front of their residences, this necessitating the walking to the house.
Mr. Hagan managed the route for a year or so by himself; then he came to this city during the summer months and left the route in charge of his wife. The was never any kicks, as long as she had it, so you can see there are other veterans of this system in its infancy that can say, "Well done, good and faithful servant."
In order to show you how the people appreciated this mastodonic political scheme, Mrs. Hagan, after a hard rain one morning, was compelled to mount a board fence and travel from post to post for some distance to reach a soap box that the farmer had nailed on top of a post. At this day, the country folk believed that they could get along without it.
Mr. Hagan, on his first trip had some twenty-two or twenty-four pieces of mail which he delivered on foot with a basket. After the appointment had been made in Darrtown, and the Collinsville and Somerville routes arranged for, the Collinsville appointment was delayed two or three days; so Mr. Hagan, at Darrtown, and Mr. Wagner, at Somerville were traveling their routes, before Mr. Morton was appointed. So, it seems he was the third and the people had become accustomed to rural delivery.
Mrs. Hagan was given bond and was the first woman rural route mail carrier in Ohio and the second, as far as the facts are available, in the United States. 
Charles E. Davis"
Given the information that appears in Items 5 and 7 (below), the letter to the editor, at the left, must stand alone - i. e., it is solely the author's perception of the events that he described in his letter.
 A United States Postal Service webpage that provides info about RFD (Rural Free Delivery) credits Postmaster William L. Wilson (not John Wanamaker) for implementing the RFD experiment.
 The "Gov. Campbell" to which the letter writer refers was (probably) Gov. James E. Campbell, 38th governor of Ohio and three-term member of the U. S. House of Representatives, who was born in Middletown, Ohio. As a Butler county native, it seems believable that he might claim Butler county as the "best in the world."
 An image of the Bradbury residence, on Scott Road, east of Darrtown, is seen at Families/Bradbury.
 The obituary of Mrs. Hagan (first name not found) appeared in the April 29, 1921 edition of the Hamilton Evening Journal and included this sentence: "The greater part of her life was spent in this village and she and her husband were the first rural mail carriers in this vicinity."
The image below shows a letter from Mr. Harllee Branch, Second Assistant Postmaster General (Washington, DC) to Mr. Otto Kersteiner of Hamilton, Ohio in which Mr. Branch confirms that "the first rural delivery service in Ohio was established at Collinsville, Darrtown, and Somerville, effective October 1, 1896."
The following image displays a 1956 newspaper article that describes an interview of Darrtown watchmaker, William K. Bufler, who remembers when Darrtown had its own post office. The entire article appears at Organizations / Businesses / 5.
"William 'Bink' Bufler Recalls Darrtown Post Office
He remembers Darrtown when it was an active little town with a hotel, blacksmith and wagon-maker shops, a saw mill, and four saloons.
'There used to be a race track over that way,' he said, pointing across the main street. 'Darrtown used to have a post office, too and the toll road went through here.' He said many of the old timers are gone, but there are still a few, such as the Kigers and the Ramseys.
'I remember when they used to drive a team of horses to Oxford to get the mail for the post office,' he said. He believes the town receded more rapidly than normal, after the Darrtown school was closed and the youngsters consolidated with Oxford."
The following quotation, found at the United States Postal Service website, verifies that Darrtown, Collinsville and Somerville were first RFD (rural free delivery) routes in Ohio and that they began on the same date.
"Below is a list of the establishment dates of the first rural route(s) in each state, along with the names of the Post Offices served.
Lists of dates that the first rural routes were established at Post Offices through December 31, 1904, by state, can be accessed by clicking on the “PDF” or “RTF” file for the state. These lists were compiled using data from the 1901 Annual Report of the Postmaster General and issues of the Postal Bulletin through 1904. Lists for Alaska and Hawaii are not available.
These lists are intended as guides only—all of the dates have not been verified. In some instances more than one date is listed for the establishment of service at a particular Post Office. Verification of rural route establishment dates and further details on specific routes may be available from the National Personnel Records Center, Civilian Personnel Records."
WEBMASTER NOTE: This USPS website article counters the contention that is expressed in Item 4 above.
The next two images were replicated from web pages at the USPS website.
Dates of first rural free delivery of mail in Ohio
Dates of first rural free delivery of mail by States
List of Darrtown postmasters
In 2012, Thomas F. Stander, Butler County (Ohio) historian, contributed three items to this website.
The first item appears at the right and the other two appear below.
In 2012, Thomas F. Stander, Butler County (Ohio) historian, contributed the following images (front and back sides) of an 1897 envelope sent from Reily, Ohio post office to the Darrtown post office.
In 2012, Thomas F. Stander, Butler County (Ohio) historian, contributed the following images (front and back sides) of a 1900 envelope sent from Reily, Ohio post office to the Darrtown post office.
The content on this page relates to (1) the Darrtown post office ... which opened in 1825 and closed in 1907 and (2) the provision of Rural Free Delivery of mail at Darrtown in 1916.