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Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Surprisingly, there is still open water on the east side of the pond this morning after a sub-zero night.  We are mystified about this.  Of all possibilities to have open water, that would be about the last because it is not as deep as some other areas and I'd think the water would tend to cool off faster than where there is a larger mass of water.  Maybe the water on that side warmed up more during the above freezing days because it was shallow and that's why it's taking longer to freeze over again.  But other shallow spots are well frozen, so that doesn't figure.  I guess we need to consult an hydrologist.

My back thermometer was reading -10 degrees at about 9 a.m. today, and the overnight low I had on my weather station was -9.8, so it was cold, but pretty normal for January.  Now they are talking January thaw next week.  Really.  

I came upon this neat old photo of Mr. Shute and the mail stage in Cabot, taken probably around 1918.  This was adapted for winter with skis on the front, and enclosed body where the mail was kept and people could ride.  The stage picked up mail at the Marshfield railroad station and also at Walden.  There was a stage going from West Danville to Marshfield, as well.  Service was somewhat intermittent in those days; a lot depended on the weather and whether the roads were passable.  Here is a brief history I wrote in answer to someone's request some time ago for information on mail service in Cabot:  

Cabot had no post office until 1808, the same year regular mail service began.  Henry Denny carried the mail on horseback from Montpelier to the Canadian line, through Cabot, Danville, Barton, Lyndon, etc., returning by a different route that took him through Craftsbury and Hardwick.  The round trip took about 10 days.  Mail was left at residences along the way or at central locations in the villages.  Nickerson Warner was the first postmaster in Cabot, but because he lived too far off the postal route, he hired Leonard Orcutt (1779-1854), a farmer on the route, to distribute what mail the carrier had not already handed off along his route.  Mr. Orcutt would take the mail to church with him (at the Center of Town Meeting House) and distribute it there. In 1814, Jeremiah Babcock (1777-1855) was appointed postmaster, and because he lived close to the postal route, kept the post office in his home.  Mr. Babcock resigned in 1820 and his son, Harvey, became postmaster. A Mr. Cate, of Plainfield, carried the mail on the same route as Mr. Denny, also on horseback.  The post office was moved to a store in what is now called Lower Cabot. There were various route carriers, all on horseback, until Deacon Eliphalet Adams (1781-1826) initiated a stage.  After Adams, Deacon Kellogg ran the stage.  By this time people had moved into the valley forming a sizeable community north of Lower Cabot, which is now Cabot Village, and around 1834 George Dana was appointed postmaster. Dana removed the post office to Cabot Village where it has been since, with the exception of one year when it was returned to the Lower Village. The post office in the Village was in Elijah Perry's store.  From 1830 to 1860, as the stage service and roads improved, the mail was delivered about three times a week.  In 1860, mail began to be delivered daily from Montpelier; the route from Cabot to Danville still had deliveries tri-weekly.  In the 1870's, rail service to nearby towns made Cabot's mail service much more reliable and an easier task.  I believe Lower Cabot had a post office again starting about 1870, and I don't know how long it remained open there, but Cornelius Smith (1810-1880) was postmaster.

 
Benjamin Franklin was appointed postmaster general in 1775.  In 1863 free city delivery began, and in 1896, free rural delivery service began.  For a time some areas had mail deliveries twice a day, but in 1950 that was reduced to one a day.  Zip codes came into being in 1963, and in 1971 the United States Postal Service took over.  There's more on-line - just Google USPS.





 

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