Where and how Moses Foote and the other original settlers got their mail remains a mystery. Neighboring Utica didn’t get twice a week mail delivery by coach until 1795, eight years after Clinton’s founding.
However, United States Postal Archives do record January 1, 1803 as the date of first postmaster, Joseph Simmonds’, first financial return. Therefore, 2002 marks the bicentennial year for the post office in Clinton.
Clinton’s first post office for Simmonds and others was on East Park Row near the current KAC. Simmonds was a lawyer so he made his law office the post office as was the custom for many years. It continued there until Benjamin Hickox became postmaster in 1817 when he moved it into a small building on West Park Row about where Adirondack Cheese Company is today. It stayed there during the 24 years of Hickox’ tenure and then moved a bit north to the home of Chauncey C. Cook who only served four years. Two other postmasters, Samuel Comstock and Samuel Brownell, Jr., kept the post office there.
John H. Tower had the post office between 1853 and 1857 on West Park Row at the corner of College Street. Serving only two years Tower lost his job when James Buchanan became president.
The office moved again in 1857 to the Smith Block on North Park Row and then moved back to West Park row in the Mills Block, today’s Country Store. It was back to North Park Row just west of the fire house under the tenure of Benjamin F. Libby. The next postmaster was Arthur W. Bronson who died after only two years(1886 to 1887), and his wife, Julia, succeeded him and went on until 1897.
During Fred C. Payne’s term the office moved to the next store front west on North Park Row where folks picked up their own mail on week days, but also on Sundays and holidays. From the 1930’s to the 1980’s this store was the Clinton Food Market. Here the post office remained until Lumbard Memorial Town Hall was built in 1926. A bequest of Ralph S. Lumbard provided the funds to construct the building which was to house the post office until 1989 when it went to a new building on College Street opposite Franklin Avenue.
Postmasters who followed Payne were Owen J. Burns(1914 to 1923), Henry W. Roberts(1923 to 1929), Fred C. Dawes(1929 to1934), Michael G. Gaffney(1934 to 1948), Francis J,. Burns(1948 to 1955), Seward M. Dawes(1955 to 1978), Rocco A. Russo, officer in charge 1978 to 1979), Norman Jackson(1979 to 1992), Rose Koss, officer in charge(1992 to 1993), and Alexander D’Acunto(1993 to present).
The Clinton Historical Society salutes the post office for 200 years of service to Clinton and the rural areas of the Town of Kirkland.
Information in this article is as correct and factually accurate as possible. If you notice a fact that you believe is incorrect, please let us know. Comments are always welcome.