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Old 10-23-2006, 12:24 PM   #1
gwmacleod
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Default Mail Boat

As a youth, I summered at the lake, and have many happy memories. As an adult well into middle age, one of my memories has escaped me, namely the name of the mail (packet) boat that plied the lake. Can those of you with better memories help refresh mine?
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Old 10-23-2006, 02:32 PM   #2
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My first summer at the Lake as as a newborn, in 1953. But for the next 50 years I only missed one 2 week vacation. But it seems there were other mailboats. I only knew the Uncle Sam and the Uncle Sam II before the Sophie C. Those were the good ole days when the used to bring milk, bread and eggs out to us on the islands

Taken from Lake Winni Historical Society pages

"Mail began to be carried on the Lake in the late 1800's, but the first official date was 1892 when Rural Free Delivery Route #7 was set up under contract to Dr. George Saltmarsh with the vessel Robert and Arthur the first mailboat. In 1896 the Dolphin replaced it in service, and in 1906 the mail contract put the newly launched Uncle Sam onto the run as the third mailboat. In 1916, by Act of Congress (the only such incident in the United States to date), the Uncle Sam became the only floating-post office. For the years 1932 & 3 the Marshall Foch took the honors, but it was displaced in '34 by the Uncle Sam I, which ran uninterrupted until destroyed due to old age after the end of the 1961 season. 1962 saw a new Uncle Sam II, a 72 foot converted PT-Boat, brought in by rail and launched for the increased traffic from many countries.

Only one other mail route exists officially on the Lake, that which started about 1910 under Capt. Oscar York in the Columbia out of Wolfeboro, with the Wolfeboro postmark. The route today is run by the Gray Ghost. "


Full article about the lake Mailboats here.
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Old 10-23-2006, 04:57 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayDV
Only one other mail route exists officially on the Lake, that which started about 1910 under Capt. Oscar York in the Columbia out of Wolfeboro, with the Wolfeboro postmark. The route today is run by the Gray Ghost. "

Full article about the lake Mailboats here.
and don't forget the TONIMAR which must have operated the route in between the Columbia and the Gray Ghost.

Quote:
The Columbia was built by George Lawley and was first used on the Atlantic Ocean. The 70 foot, coal-burning steamer, with a fantail stern and glassed in rear deack for passengers, was brought to Lake Winnipesaukee and at one time was used as a mail and excursion boat out of Wolfeboro. Among her captains and owners was Oscar D. York, by which time the fantail stern had been replaced by a transom. Each winter she was stored by Goodhue and Hawkins on Sewall Road. The Granite State news, July 15, 1911, noted; "The new mailboat arrived on Monday. It is to be run by Oscar York." It succeeded the Chocorua, which had burned in 1910. The Columbia was still operative in the 1930s as a private vessel, still owned by Oscar.
The History of Wolfeboro, NH 1770-1994 - Volume II - Wolfeboro Historical Society - Q. David Bowers
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Old 10-23-2006, 06:10 PM   #4
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Default Uncle Sam

My history is very similar to "JayDV". I also was a newbie to the lake in 1948 and haven't missed a year. We stayed at a relatives camp on Paugus Bay, the side with the rairroad tracks. I believe one of the neighbors was responsible for Uncle Sam II docked near Irwin's and the water company. The name Pearly sounds right. A Doctor Pearly had a couple of sons that ran the operation. The Uncle Sam II was a nice trip, but I really preferred the old wooden Uncle Sam I.
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Old 10-23-2006, 09:40 PM   #5
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Default More Mail Boat

To continue - good memory for the name, hockeypuck! The Uncle Sam II was owned by Allen Perley and ran the mail service from 1962 through 1968. The boat was a converted PT boat brought from Portsmouth (also wood, BTW). The boat proved outrageously expensive to run, and Perley got out of the business after the 1968 season. The contract went to the Sophie C in 1969 and she has held it since. The 1916 act of Congress is still in force and Sophie is the only floating post office on inland waters in the US. Mail is sorted and cancelled on board and all postal services except money orders are offered.

The Wolfeboro mail boat is also operating, but Sophie is the only one that's an actual post office.

I recommend the book "Mail Service on the Lake" by Dr. Bruce Heald for a good history.
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Old 10-24-2006, 06:33 AM   #6
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skprbob, Thanks for the correct spelling of the Perley name. The memory is still pretty good, especially for the great times at the lake. Speaking of names, some other neighbors on Paugus were Avery and Morin. I think the Morin's owned a plumbing supply business in Laconia. I often wonder if the same Avery's own the restaurant in Lakeport.
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Old 10-25-2006, 08:41 AM   #7
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hockeypuck - Being from "the other side of the pond", my knowledge of folks on Paugus is limited, but I can help a bit. You're likely right about Morin. The J.J Morin plumbing supply business lasted up till a few years ago. It's now Redlon & Johnson, but still in the same business. The only Avery I'm aware of was Brian Avery, a long-time Captain of the Mount. I have no idea whether you're thinking of the same one. Perhaps someone else can shed some light???
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Old 10-25-2006, 09:45 AM   #8
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skprbob, thanks for the come back. You are a wealth of knowledge. hockeypuck
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Old 10-27-2006, 03:55 PM   #9
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Old 10-27-2006, 04:01 PM   #10
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