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Post Office Established 1827; in Same Place for 100 Years

Footnotes to Long Island History

Post Office Established 1827; in Same Place for 100 Yrs.

by

Thomas R. Bayles


 

           Post Office Established 1827; in Same Place for 100 Years

THE OLD MORICHES POST OFFICE  

THE OLD MORICHES POST OFFICE, which for many years served Center Moriches and East Moriches residents with mail service, was established in 1827 with James M. Fanning as postmaster.  The post office was located in the same place for nearly 100 years, during which time it remained in the Fanning family.  In 1919 it was turned over to Ernest M. Rogers.  The post office was originally located in a hotel operated by the Fannings.

 

 The Moriches post office was located in about the same place and in the same family for nearly 100 years before it was turned over to Ernest M. Rogers in March 1919.

            The Moriches post office was established March 6, 1927 with James M. Fanning as postmaster.  This was the only post office in the area at that time, as there was none at Center Moriches or East Moriches until the middle of the century.

            Mr. Fanning was a member of one of Long Island’s pioneer families, and his appointment under President James Madison’s administration reads as follows, “To all who see these presents, greetings, know ye, that confiding in the integrity, ability and punctuality of James Fanning, ESQ., I do appoint him a postmaster and authorize him to execute the duties of that office at Moriches in the County of Suffolk and State of New York.  To hold the said office of postmaster with all the powers, privileges and emoluments of the same, during the pleasure of the Postmaster General of the United States.”  It was signed by Postmaster General R. J. Meigs.

            Mr. Fanning held the office until 1845, when he was succeeded by his son, James M. Fanning.  His successor was his nephew, Edmund Hallock, in March 1877.  He held the office for 38 years and then his son Charles H. Hallock took over the office in February 1915.

            Since 1837 the post office was in the country store of Edmund Hallock and previous to that time it was in a hotel conducted by Fannings.  The store conducted by the Hallock’s was a typical country general store of that day and sold nearly everything required by the farmers for miles around.  It was also a social center for the men and boys of the surrounding neighborhood, as they all came to the store of that day and sold nearly everything required by the farmers for miles around.  It was also a social center for the men and boys of the surrounding neighborhood, as they all came to the store to get the mail and discuss the latest news from the outside world.  With the growth of population, the old country store has given way to the supermarket, and the small post office of years gone by has been succeeded by a larger one.

            Moriches had no rail service until 1881 and when the railroad was opened to Greenport on the main line in 1844 Chauncey Chichester of Center Moriches was mail messenger.  He met the train at Medford and all the mail for the south side was put into one bag by the train messenger.  He took the bag to Patchogue, where the mail for that village was taken out, the bag relocked and Mr. Chichester went on to Fireplace (Brookhaven) and the to Moriches.

            In 1881 the railroad was extended from Patchogue to connect at Eastport with the line running from Manorville to Sag Harbor, which had been opened several years before.  The only stations between Patchogue and Greenport at that time were Bellport, Forge and Moriches.  Moriches at that time had a train going east at 11:34 a.m. and 6:01 p.m. and westward at 8:20 a.m. and 3:20 p.m.  These trains connected at the Flatbush Avenue station in Brooklyn with the Atlantic Avenue Horse Car Lines for all ferries to New York.  One train operated each way on Sunday.

            In the early years the mail was carried through the Island by post riders on horseback once a week, and tradition has it that at some places a hollow tree was designated as the post office and the mail was left there by the post rider to be picked up by the residents of the neighborhood.

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