Friday, February 28, 2020


 See this weeks print edition  

for these stories:

  • Area Bowling Results





News Article
Return to Previous Page

Postmarked Sumneytown – For 200 Years
Written by Larry Roeder, Editor

            We couldn't let 2019 end without talking about the Sumneytown Post Office.  The origin of the postal facility goes back to the early 1800's and includes the move

The Sumneytown Post Office was set up in the general store build- 
ing in 1819. It is the same building where the Sumneytown Post
Office resides today at the intersection of Main Street and Geryville

into their current home, at the old general store, in 1819.  It's is the same building where the Sumneytown Post Office resides today.

            More than 200 years old, and 200 years in the same building.

            So, here we go with the story of the Sumneytown Post Office.

            Tucked away neatly inside the village of Sumneytown is one of its' oldest and most prized institutions, located at the fork of the Geryville and Sumneytown Pikes,  – the post office.

            Perhaps it might be better for me to say the post office is located where the "Gerysville" and Macungie road branches off from the Springhouse – Sumneytown Road as they were referred to more than a century ago.

            Either way it is exciting to think that the local office opened just 40 years after the Continental Congress named Benjamin Franklin as their first Postmaster General in 1775.  Imagine the written words and packages that crossed the counter since 1815.

            Over the years mail arrived at the office by horseback, stagecoach, wagon, and

Postal Support employee Lin Robinson places mail in
post office boxes at the Sumneytown Post Office. It's her
job to tend to approximately 85 box-holders and provide
the over-thecounter postal services to the local folks who
still call that facility theirs.

finally motorized vehicles.  It is in fact the oldest post office in the Upper Perkiomen Valley, besting runner-up New Goshenhoppen (later known as Upper Hanover, then Pennsburg and is now incorporated into the Red Hill Post Office) by six years.  The Sumneytown Post Office was opened 8 years before Congress designated navigable waters as post roads, 10 years before the creation of the dead letter office, 23 years before Congress designated railroads as postal routes, and 32 years before postage stamps were used.

            Theodore Beans' 1884 History of Montgomery County informs us that the "we cannot say at what exact time the post office was established here, but it was previous to 1827."  In another section of the publication, Beans writes, "prior to 1800 the total number of post-offices in Montgomery County was two.  In 1819 he places the Sumneytown Post Office on the list of those established before 1816.  Other and later historical publications place the year at 1815.  Part of the confusion can be pointed to different spellings of the village.

            Before postal services were established in Sumneytown, and for many decades after, it was the industrial center of the Upper Perkiomen Valley region.  In past research the lack of consistency in hometown spelling was a useful tool in helping to identify places and things.  Clock-maker George Faber carved the words Sumney Town on one of his creations and Sumneytown on others. Daniel Scheidt chiseled Sumnytown on most of his clocks. 

            History wasn't going to cut us any breaks this time with official postal records.  They added Summarytown and Sumanytown to the list of different spellings for the community in Marlborough Township. 

            In 1954, Rev. Henry M. Kistler compiled a study of offices and postmasters from the beginning of service in the area.  With the help of the United States Postal Service, and the cooperation of all of the local postmasters, Kistler was able to provide us with some clarity.  In addition, the 1963 Sumneytown Bi-Centennial publication displays a list of postmasters provided to them from the Postal Department.  The list identifies Jacob Boyer as the first postmaster.  His appointment was made on February 9, 1815.  That postal service start year is supported in Montgomery County – The Second Hundred Years, published in 1983.

            Perhaps some additional understanding can be had when we remember that the early post offices were little more than a counter in a local business establishment or private home, and that the proprietor performed the duties of a postmaster without the title.  Some records hint that the service existed as early as 1810 in the Sumneytown Hotel – after all Boyer was the proprietor of the tavern and it was a popular stop for the stagecoach, teamsters, and other travelers.

            It is believed that the postal service moved across the street into the general store around 1819.  That store was located in the same building which houses the post office today.  Local gunpowder mill owner Lorenze Jacoby constructed the building in 1790 to house the general merchandising business of Jacob Geiger.

            When you walk into the Sumneytown Post Office today, it doesn't take much imagination to appreciate and enjoy the rustic beauty it maintains inside and out. 

            The current Postal Support employee manning the Sumneytown Post Office since June of 2019 is Lin Robinson.   It's her job to tend to around 85 box-holders and provide the over-the-counter postal services to the local folks who still call that facility theirs.





Join our Business Directory today and get the introductory rate for a full year.
Click Here.


Home Editorial
News Photos
Sports Business Directory
Obituaries Classified Ads
Calendar Contact Us
  Advertise with the Town & Country... It's the weekly paper that people read, not just look at!  Click here to learn more or sign up.   Serving the municipalities of Bally, East Greenville, Green Lane, Hereford, Lower Salford, Marlborough, Milford, New Hanover, Pennsburg, Red Hill, Trumbauersville, Upper Hanover, Upper Salford
The Town & Country is now available at 64 locations throughout the region! Pick up your copy at any of the locations here, or better yet, have it delivered directly to your mailbox!  Click here to subscribe.

Local News for Local Readers since 1899.
© Copyright 2009 and Terms of Use
Site Design by Bergey Creative Group