New Postmaster for the
City of Dallas.
VERY EXCELLENT SELECTION.
A Sketch of
His Life and His Equip
ment for that Position.
Wm. M. O'Leary was busy all day yesterday shaking hands with
a legion of friends who were congratulating the new Dallas postmaster
upon his appointment to the important post that handles some
millions of letters, papers, and near about $150,000 annually
of Uncle Sam's funds. And, it would have been the same thing
when the news of his appointment came had he been in Galveston,
Houston, Austin, San Antonio, or any other of these Texas cities.
And this because Mr. O'Leary long since earned the title deeds
to the esteem, admiration and love of all manner of people, though
a course of public and a career of private life that are stamped
sterling because of untiring devotion to duty, conscientious
work, unflagging industry and fidelity to friendship and to principle.
To business abilities and methodical habits, in general, outlining,
or in routine detail, he adds rare literary abilities and practical
journalistic skill, discretion, alertness and absolute reliability.
That the will make a first-rate official should go without saying,
and his ability to furnish the $66,000 bond is equally a surety.
27, 1898, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 2, col. 3.
Major O'Leary was recommended warmly
and most earnestly, not only by Dallasites, but by people throughout
Texas, and by leading prominent characters, politicians, old
army comrades, etc., from the several parts of the country. He
made a brave young soldier on the federal side during the civil
war, he was a faithful official for seven years as inspector
of customs at Brazos de Santiago. As an officer for the government
in the Cortina's matters, he saved to American claimants, several
millions of dollars. As correspondent, or as editor of the Dallas
News, Houston Post, Texas Siftings, and great dailies in other
states, he has been the same steady-going, trustworthy character
During the national campaign of 1896, he became Mr. E. H. R.
Green's private secretary, when that gentleman was made chairman
of the Republican state committee, and through whose influence,
in great part, Mr. O'Leary secured the position into which he
will soon be installed.
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THE DALLAS POSTOFFICE.
Maj. O'Leary Relieved Mr.
NO CHANGE IN THE
Albert G. Joyce Reappointed
sistant Postmaster--Mr. Hill
Presented with a Chair.
M. C. Hill, at the close of business last night, turned the postoffice
over to Maj. W. M. O'Leary. Mr. A. Green, formerly assistant
postmaster in Galveston, assisted Maj. O'Leary in checking up
- April 1, 1898, Dallas
Daily Times Herald, p. 8, col. 6.
Maj. O'Leary continues Mr. Albert
G. Joyce as assistant postmaster. Mr. Joyce is an expert in that
line of work, and familiar with the routine of the Dallas office.
As a token of their regard for
Mr. Hill, the attaches of the office presented him with a handsome
reclining chair last night. Mr. Homer M. Price, chief mailing
clerk, made the presentation speech; he said:
"Mr. Hill, your friends in
the postoffice desire me to present to you, this chair as a slight
token of their esteem and regard. It is a trifling present in
itself, but, we wish you to accept it as an emblem of our good
wishes. We desire to assure you of our appreciation of the many
kindnesses and courtesies uniformly extended us by you during
the last four years of our social intercourse. In the language
of the old prayer, may be some of us would, 'if receiving our
just deserts, long since have been cut off.' But, we are here
to-night in good health; all firmly (we hope) attached to the
public udder and wishing you, as you will sit in this old chair
in the cool of the evening, to think kindly of us, and, as the
drowsy dusk comes on, may your thoughts of the old postoffice
and its associations be pleasant ones. And, wishing for you
and yours, long life, happiness, prosperity and friends, we simply
say, each and all of us, 'God bless you, sir," and be seated."
Mr. Hill was hardly equal to the
occasion, and he got away from sentiment as quickly as he could
be referring to the growth of the business of the office in the
four years it had been under his management. He said the annual
receipts of the office had increased from $120,770.39 to $145,318.90.
The number of street letter boxes had increased from 121 to
151, and the increase of miles covered by carriers had been 3
1/2 in Dallas, and four miles for Oak Cliff, Station A. He thanked
one and all for the assistance they had rendered him in the office
and assured them that, personally, he was sad to part with them.
When seen by a reporter of this
paper to-day, Maj. O'Leary said he had nothing to give up in
the way of interview; that the office was rocking along about
as it rocked on yesterday, as it is run by the same people.
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EARLY MAIL SERVICE
FIRST POSTOFFICE IN DALLAS
CONDUCTED BY C. H. DURGIN
LONG YEARS AGO.
LETTER FROM JOHN
Documents Found in an Ancient
Still Preserved in This City,
Vote for Senator.
the postoffice of a frontier village in the days when Texas was
so far from civilization that few letters were ever sent into
it, to the postoffice of a metropolitan city where mail pours
in in abundance comparable with cities of 50,000 more inhabitants
than has Dallas, seems a far cry. Yet, only a little over half
a century ago, the mail that came into the town of Dallas was
so small as to be easily held in a single canvas sack divided
into twelve small compartments the size of a coat pocket.
This was a matter of fifty years
ago, in the then village which has now become a city that handles
as much mail as municipalities nearly twice as large.
The sack that served for a letter
case in those pioneer days still exists, and is the property
of Will Cochran of the money order department of the Dallas postoffice.
Mr. Cochran came by the heirloom from his aunt, the wife of the
first postmaster of Dallas.
CHARLES H. DURGIN
Dallas' First Postmaster
Charles H. Durgin, who first held
the position of postmaster in this city, was a native of Massachusetts
and came to Texas in the early '40s. He was made deputy clerk
of the newly organized court. In May, 1847, he married Miss Elizabeth
B. Thomas, a daughter of Judge John Thomas, who came to Texas
in 1844, settling on White Rock Creek, six miles from the village
of Dallas. This county was then known as Nacogdoches, and the
county seat was at the town of that name.
It was soon after his marriage
that Mr. Durgin, already, by reason of his connection with the
court, a man of considerable prominence in this section, was
made postmaster. The home which Mr. Durgin had provided for his
bride was a two-room log house on the court house square, corner
of Main and Jefferson streets, and this building was destined
to become the first postoffice of Dallas. The mail sack now in
the possession of Mr. Cochran, and a small letter box, made up
the entire paraphernalia of the postoffice, and had a place in
a corner of the room which served as dining room and kitchen.
Mr. Durgin moved to Jefferson,
Tex., in 1849, and the last account rendered by him to the Auditor's
Department at Washington shows business done amounting to $204.15.
A comparison with any of the recent monthly statements of the
Dallas postoffice shows rather a startling contrast.
Several interesting documents and
letters are to be found in the pockets of the old postoffice
sack. There are a number of letters from Mr. Durgin's mother,
then living in Exeter, Mass., and from his father, who went to
California during the gold craze, and remained there several
One epistle from the elder Durgin
tells of the condition of the country round about him in 1851.
It was written from Downieville, Yuma County, California, in
1851. Among other things, it is mentioned that supplies are to
be reasonably had, "flour 16¢ per pound, pork 30¢,
beef 25¢, potatoes 20¢, sugar 25¢, coffee 35¢."
The court was located 200 miles from Sacramento, in the mountains.
The letter says:
"The business of mining is
probably as good here as at any other point in California, and
yet not more than one man in ten is getting rich at the business,
and the most reckless gamblers and drunken sailors appear to
be the most fortunate; but a man may take hold of any legitimate
business and follow it up with determined industry and perseverance,
and it will count."
Among the documents in the sack
is one certifying that Charles H. Durgin has been made Notary
Public of Dallas. This paper is dated at Austin, Feb. 26, 1848,
and is signed by George T. Wood, Governor, and W. D. Miller,
Secretary of State.
Among the interesting letters is
one from Judge Nat M. Burford to Mr. Durgin, who was then at
Jefferson. The letter is dated Dec. 17, 1850, at which time he
was serving as District Attorney. Judge Burford notes that business
of every description in Dallas is flourishing; that town lots
are commanding very high prices, Mr. Crutchfield having paid
$275 for a lot on which to erect a fine tavern, and that the
country is flooded with emigrants.
But the following letter, by reason
of the prominence of its writer and the nature of the contents,
bearing on the political conditions of the State, is perhaps
most interesting of all the epistles to be found in the quaint
old pioneer postoffice sack.
Representative Hall, Austin, Tex.,
Dec. 15, 1847.--Dear Friend: I will send you a regular file of
the Austin Democrat, which will be the readiest means of communicating
to my fellow citizens of Dallas County a knowledge of what is
doing here. You will do me a great favor by filing in a conspicuous
place in your office for public inspection, such papers and documents
as I may be able to send you. You will receive as fast as they
are published, the journals of both houses, and all other public
documents that may be printed. This will be a source of gratifying
information to my friends of Dallas County, and your compliance
with the request will place me under renewed and lasting obligations
Both Houses of the Legislature
are now organized. My colleagues, Messrs. Sterne and Lott, are
at their posts. Senator Parker is present. Senator Gage has not
yet arrived. Everything is smooth as yet, and I hope we may be
able to meet the expectations of our constituents by the faithful
and prompt discharge of our duties.
This evening we received the Governor's
message, which in my humble judgment is a document of superlative
merit. The election of our United States Senator came off this
evening, which resulted as follows:
For Sam Houston, 69 votes.
For Antonio Navarro, 3 votes.
For James Webb, 2 votes.
For Edward Burleson, 1 vote.
For J. Pinckney Henderson, 1 vote.
For Timothy Pillsbury, 1 vote.
For John C. Hays, 1 vote.
Tomorrow, the votes for Governor
and Lieutenant-Governor Elect will be counted out. We suppose
Wood and Greer to be elected.
Tender my respects to Judge Thomas,
Col. Hewitt and my friends and acquaintances generally.
With much respect, I subscribe
myself your obedient servant.
P. S. --- Please inform Col. John Hewitt that I will also send
a regular file of the Austin Democrat and other printed public
documents to him at the Cedar Springs, to be filed at his store
for public inspection. I adopt this course in order to keep my
fellow citizens fully and regularly advised of all that is done
here, and in order to account as fully for my stewardship as
possible at the earliest possible period. Yours, J. H. R.
that must have seemed ironical in those frontier days, existing
in a wild and sparsely settled country, is the bill of fare for
table d'hôte dinner at the Syracuse House, Syracuse, N.
Y., dated July 21, 1852. It names articles of diet that must
have been a source of most profound envy to the people of Dallas
at that time, and must have caused pangs of homesickness to the
settlers who loved the fleshpots of the mature East.
- July 19, 1903, Dallas
Morning News, p. 14, col. 3-4.
Mr. Durgin, the first postmaster
of Dallas, died in 1850 in New Haven, Conn., where he is buried.
His widow died about a year ago in Dallas County.
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B. M. BURGHER IS NOW
New Federal Officer Took Charge
Affairs of Local Postoffice Fri-
B. M. Burgher
is now actively in charge of the Dallas postoffice. He assumed
office at 4 o'clock Friday afternoon, and Saturday morning, commenced
his active duties. George F. Rockhold, retiring postmaster, was
not able to attend to the transfer in person, owing to the fact
that he is confined to his bed by an attack of mumps.
- May 24, 1913. Dallas
Daily Times Herald, p. 5, col. 3.
The incoming official was checked
in by Assistant Postmaster Bruce Luna, who has been connected
with the postiffice department since 1887.
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