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Urbanna Post Office celebrates 225th year

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On Monday, June 12, Urbanna Post Office celebrated its 225th birthday as part of the United States Postal Service. The postal service officially established a post office in Urbanna on June 12, 1792. Above, current employees of the post office are, from left, Bruce Mann, HC02 carrier; Dana Longest, postmaster; Adam Weston, PTF clerk; and David Bleeker, HC67 carrier. Not pictured is Maryann Gibson, PTF clerk. (Photo by Larry Chowning)

by Larry Chowning

Urbanna Post Office in the Town of Urbanna is one of four Virginia post offices that celebrated its 225th year as part of the United States Postal Service (USPS) on June 12, 2017.

Urbanna, Tappahannock, Kinsale and Montross were on the “225th anniversary post office” list sent to the Urbanna Post Office by the postal service. Twenty-six post offices were formed on June 12, 1792, in the states of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, New York, Vermont, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and North Carolina.

The first official Urbanna postmaster was Colonel Peter Kemp. Through 1799, John P. Bristow, Peter Kemp Jr., John Baytop and John Chew Jr. all served as postmasters. Since founded there have been 39 postmasters in Urbanna, seven acting postmasters and six officers-in-charge.

The USPS traces its origin to July 26, 1775 when the Continental Congress named Benjamin Franklin the first American Postmaster General. There was, however, post offices operating under the British before the American Revolution. An email from the postal service stated, “the USPS has no records of postmasters or post offices operating under the British. Information on colonial post offices is derived from secondary sources.”

Although there has been no official record found, Urbanna, most likely, had some type of town postal service during the British era. By 1730 Urbanna was designated by an Act of Assembly as one of seven official Virginia “small” tobacco ports. Cabin Point, Yorktown, Port Royal, Aquia, Dumfries and Occoquan were the other six. Urbanna and the other ports flourished in the half-century before the American Revolution.

posted 06.14.2017

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