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The TALES you probably never heard about

Mail in Fenwick

{compiled by S}

The first post office opened on April 1, 1853, the same day as Fenwick  received its name. The first post master was Leonard Haney. The mail was brought into Fenwick and outgoing mails dispatched by courier on horseback, who made the journey from Port Robinson to Canboro, on one day and returned the next day.

The first rural route for Fenwick began August 1, 1912 with Mr. M.Shriner as the contractor.

Mr. Allan Rice took over

the Royal mail route, an extension of T.H.&B railway through Fenwick to Welland. He carried all of the freight, mail, box and Christmas orders for years.

In the 1920s the mailman drove a horse and buggy. When the mail train arrived the mail was taken to the Fenwick post office and stamped. The mail was sorted by the mailmen on the rural routes. The villagers picked up their mail at the post office. The mail was delivered six days a week. The big event was the arrival of the Eaton’s catalogue.

In the 1930s stamps were 2 cents each. Frank Tunnacliffe was  postmaster. The postoffice was a small shop and Frank lived upstairs. He picked up bags of incoming mail at the T.H.&B. station on Church St., from Monday to Saturday. The mail arrived 6am, 10am,3pm, and 6pm. They locked the first class mail, tied bags of second class mail and local mail. Mail was given to the route carriers who sorted their own mail and put it in cardboard boxes to be delivered. By this time automobiles were a popular delivery vehicle

Many people would place money in their mail boxes to receive stamps

A new post office was built in 1954.

Postmasters at Fenwick:
Rev Leonard Haney {1853-1858}
Jacob Brackbill {1858-1862}
J. Hume Taylor {1862-1865}
James W. Taylor {1865-1874}
A.O. Stringer {1874-1880}
Barney Hare {1880-1881}
F.W. Hutt 1881-1888}
J.M. Edsall {1888-1891}
W.H. Swayze {1891-1897}
W. H. Fry {1897-1923}
Frank J.Tunnacliffe {1924-1949}
Miss Margaret Keenan {1949-1975}
Mr. Arnott {1975-1991}

History of Ridgeville

In 1853 the land where Ridgeville is located was surveyed by Charles K. Fell. The land was owned by Jonas Steele. Originally called “Steele’s Corners” likely  because the first general store was owned by Jonas Steele. He was a merchant for twenty-four years, a Justice of the Peace for thirty-six years and the first postmaster 1865-1874.

August 1,1865, the first post office was under the name of Ridgeville, likely named after the Fonthill Kame-Delta.

The Ridgeville general store was destroyed by fire twice. After the original store burned, George Townsend Jr. rebuilt it  and sold it to his brother Sandford, who turned it  into a grist mill. When Frank Williams purchased it  he turned it  back to a general store and was postmaster 1898-1924. His daughters Catherine and Florence sold it to Clark and Lane on January 1,1925. In November 1926 it was sold to J.M.B. McClelland who was postmaster 1925-1965. Then his wife was postmistress until February 1969. Then Mrs. E. Finnegan ran the post office for three years, Mrs Lena Polowniak 1972-1979, E.P. O’Neil for a year. Lena returned in 1980 to run the store while her daughter, Anna Lucas was postmistress.

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