Name of Pleasant Square Formerly
Attached to Phelps Street District

  

By R. M. Palmer, M. D., Fulton County Historian (1950)
Source:  Contributed from the personal collection of James F. Morrison 


A volunteer fire company has lately been organized to protect a northeastern section of the town of Johnstown.  It will roughly include the area within a two-mile radius of the Talmadge Parsons farm.  The firehouse has already been built on the west side of the extension of Easterly street.  Attorney S. Edward Brown is the lawyer for this fire company, and he selected the name for it, Pleasant Square Fire company.

The name, Pleasant Square, has an historical interest.  It was the name formerly attached to the district we now call Phelps street.  However, it seems that Phelps street is the original designation of the settlement as I have an old newspaper article of unknown author or date which states:

"The name of Phelps street was changed to Pleasant Square when the postoffice was there established."

The following information has been furnished (to) me by the Postmaster General, Washington, D. C.:  "According to records of the Post Office Department, a post office was established at Pleasant Square on January 30, 1833 with William Easterly appointed as its only postmaster.  It was discontinued on April 30, 1839.  No information as to why this post office was discontinued or whether it was ever known by any other name has been located."

Also from the Post Office Department, 

"Early mail routes including Pleasant Square:

No. 608, from Caughnawaga to Caughnawaga (via Johnstown, Gloversville, Kingsboro, Pleasant Square, Riceville, Mayfield, Cranberry Creek, Osborne's Bridge, Northville, Newton's Corners, Northampton, Broad Albin, Fonda's Bush, South Broad Albin, West Amsterdam and Johnstown) let to Peter H. Fonde of Caughnawaga for the period 1832-1836, 58 miles, six time a week between Caughnawaga and Johnstown to Kingsboro and from thence twice a week, for $283 per annum.

No. 705, from Johnstown to Osborne's Bridge, let on May 31, 1837 to Asa D. Tiffany of Johnstown, 18 miles and back, three times a week, for $312 per annum."

Lose PO Through Controversy

The newspaper clipping of unknown author quoted above also notes:  "The post office was kept in a private house.  The first postmaster was William Easterly and first deputy, Charlick Easterly, nephew of the post-master.  After three or fours years a dispute arose between the deputy and postmaster and the government was appealed to by the deputy.  The controversy resulted in the people losing their postoffice which was then removed to Kingsboro to Mayfield by a man on foot.  Prior to the establishment of the Pleasant Square postoffice the mail was carried from Kingsboro to Mayfield by a man on foot.  Individuals also regularly brought the Phelps street mail and deposited the same with Hiram G. Phelps."  Richard Woodworth has informed me that his father, the late Hiram Woodworth, when a young man, carried mail on foot between Kingsboro and Mayfield.

It will be seen that the postoffice at Phelps street existed only six years and three months and yet it furnished to the locality, the name Pleasant Square, a name which has been attached to various projects in the vicinity.  I have tried, but all in vain, to locate the site of the postoffcie.  In the article which I quoted above it is said that "the postoffice was kept in private house", but whose house?  It also states that "Phelps street was one mile in length and within that mile was located the postoffice, tin, blacksmith, shoe and cooper shops and a tanner and currier establishments.  "Then it says "no building now remains to mark the site of the early postoffice."

PO Site Unmarked

If we consider Phelps street one mile in length as stated above and start the mile at the corner where Albert Edward's farm is located and go eastward on the road toward Riceville, the mile ends just beyond the house of Floyd De Golyer.  Accordingly the site of the postoffice is somewhere along this road within that mile.  Next we are told that it was in a  private house and that no building remained to mark its site at the time the above quoted article was written (probably about 1890).  So we need not look for any building which now remains.

It would be natural to suppose the post office was located in the house of the postmaster, William Easterly but after examining early deeds in the county clerk's office and the will of William Easterly in the Surrogate's office, I find he lived and died on a farm located on the road leading north from the Parson's farm to the Gloversville reservoir.  This would be too far away from the center of Phelps street and would not be "within the mile."

There was about one hundred years ago a man by the name of Farrand Easterly who owned and occupied the house now occupied by John J. Borst which is just beyond the De Golyer place and on the north side of the road.  However the county records show that William Easterly did not live there and also that Farrand was not a descendant of William so I take it that this house was never used as the Pleasant Square postoffice.

In the old days without fire protection many a building on old Phelps street and the neighborhood was reduced to ashes by fire with helpless occupants looking on. Better days are in store.  Pleasant Square Fire Company is there for [...]vice to the community and we wish it long life and prosperity.

    


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