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Post offices added much to development of Middlesex

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In the 1970s Myrtie Payne’s General Store on Route 33 at Wilton featured a Saturday night bluegrass jam where community members could join Miss Myrtie’s banjo playing and singing while the wood stove kept everybody warm. (Photo by Tom Hardin)

by Larry Chowning

The official United States postal records tell a great deal about how areas in the county developed—specifically in the areas of Hartfield, Topping and Wake. Postal service survives today in these areas, primarily because of their location.

Hartfield, Lot, Jay, and Cheaden

The name Hartfield was established on October 16, 1927 when country store owner John N. Hart had the United States Postal Service change the name of the operating post office from Lot to Hartfield. Lot was established as a post office September 5, 1889 by William W. Keiningham and had only two postmasters in its history, Keiningham and Hart.

At the turn of the 20th century, the area around the Lot post office was expanding. Postal records show that the areas known as Cheaden and Jay had their mail discontinued and sent to Lot instead. Cheaden was established in April 24, 1907 by postmaster William W. Moody. Cheadon had its mail discontinued and sent to Lot on September, 15, 1917. Jay was established on January 17, 1905 and began sending its mail to Lot on November 20, 1909. Jerry M. Jackson and Charles H. Hudgins were the two postmasters at Jay.

With the steamboat era declining, commerce began to move away from the rivers to the roadside crossroads throughout the county. Hartfield was in a strategic location with the crossroads going to Deltaville and another going to Tippits Ferry, a two-car ferry crossing the Piankatank River into Mathews County.

Read the rest of this story in this week’s Southside Sentinel at newsstands throughout the county, or sign up here to receive a print and/or electronic pdf subscription.

posted 12.07.2018

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