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News Eagle - Hawley, PA
  • Local History: Long time postmaster was wounded in Civil War

  • George Ammerman was postmaster of Hawley starting as early as the late 1860's, before the borough was formed from Palmyra Township. He was a disabled veteran of the American Civil War.
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  • George Ammerman was postmaster of Hawley starting as early as the late 1860's, before the borough was formed from Palmyra Township. He was a disabled veteran of the American Civil War.
       In a biography published in Northeast Pennsylvania Commemorative Record in 1900, we find George Ammerman is retired. "The deserved reward of a well-spent life is an honored retirement from business, in which to enjoy the fruits of former toil," the book's editor remarks.
        Ammerman was born in Hawley, Wayne County, September  29, 1837, when the village was still known as Paupack Eddy. The community at that time was concentrated along the Delaware & Hudson Canal which paralleled the Plank Road, today known as Hudson Street; and the Eddy section, where mills operated by the torrent of the Paupack Falls cascading into the Lackawaxen River.
    ••• His father
       His parents were Edward and Elizabeth (Young) Ammerman, natives of Monroe and Wayne counties, respectively. They settled in Paupack Eddy around 1830, Edward working as a sawyer and farmer.
       Pennsylvania Coal Company (PCC) began operations here in 1850 and continued into 1885. The elder Mr. Ammerman went to work as a watchman for the PCC. As has been described, the PCC was responsible for greatly expanding the community, and bringing many jobs thanks to the gravity railroad and coal transfer work at the canal basin in Hawley.
        Edward Ammerman held several local offices in Palmyra Township. He died in 1879, at the age of  80; his wife died in November 1891, at the age of 80 years They belonged to the Baptist church in Hawley, where Mrs. Ammerman was active in its work. They were laid to rest at the Eddy Cemetery in Hawley.
        Their children included Lura, who was wed to Daniel Lilly, of Wausan, Wis.; Eliza, wife of Mathus Cole, a Palmyra Township farmer; George; John, a railroad engineer of Carbondale; Catherine, who married A.S. Millham of Hawley; Mary, who was wed to Daniel Bingham, am insurance agent in Hawley; William and Charles (twins), the former a furniture dealer, the latter an insurance agent in Hawley; and Helen, who wed Abraham R. Snyder, a conductor on the Erie & Wyoming Valley Railroad, living in Dunmore.
        In 1844 the family moved to White Mills, where young George was employed sawing wood.
    ••• Civil War
        In July, 1861, with the outbreak of the Civil War, George enlisted as a private in Company C, 6th Pennsylvania Reserves. He enlisted at Honesdale and left for Harrisburg on the troop train on May 20, 1861.
      He served under Captain John S. Wright and was in many hotly-contested engagements, including  Drainsville, Fredericksburg, Bristol Station, South Mountain, Gettysburg, Antietam, the Wilderness and Mine Run.
    Page 2 of 4 -    During the Battle of the Wilderness in northern Virginia, May 5-7, 1864, a minie ball struck his left knee cap, which necessitated the amputation of the limb, the operation being performed in the field hospital. He was later transferred to an old tobacco warehouse in Fredericksburg, from there to a private residence, and subsequently sent to Washington. He finally reached Chester Hospital in Philadelphia, where he stayed until honorably discharged from the service, July 30, 1865 with the rank of corporal.
       As estimated 12,037 Union soldiers were wounded in the Battle of the Wilderness, and 2,246 killed. Confederate casualties included an estimated 7,866 wounded and 1,477 killed. A mine ball is a type of muzzle-loading, spin-stabilized rifle bullet.
        He also served about three months in Battery A, 5th U.S. Artillery, on detached service.
    ••• Married in Hawley
        After returning home, in the winter he attended a commercial college in Binghamton, NY, and after graduation located in Hawley. He studied telegraphy at this place for three months.
        He stayed in the home of  Jane W. Snyder, widow of Abraham Snyder. It wasn't so long ago when it was still common to find families who rented out rooms. The 1870 Census shows that along with George was Charles Cimeral, a 22-year old carpenter.
        Also in the Snyder home were the four Snyder children. The oldest one, Jane A. Snyder, was 32 and known as "Jennie." George was also 32 (the 1870 Census listed Jane as 22 but another reference gave her birth-date as August 11, 1847).
        On December 20, 1871, at Hawley, George and Jennie were married. Rev. N.S. Reynolds, who is believed to have been the Methodist-Episcopal pastor in Hawley, officiated.
         George's sister Helen married Jennie's brother Abraham R. Snyder.
         The Ammermans had three children, Cora, who in 1900 was still at home; Roy, who worked for a hardware firm at Carbondale and Carl S., who was at home.    
        His father-in-law Abraham Snyder moved to Hawley from Luzerne County in 1848. He first worked as a cabinet maker and later served as superintendent in the PCC railroad car shops. Abraham was a pious man, and led the Sabbath School at the Methodist- Episcopal Church. He was also a public school director. Abraham died on September 5, 1863 at the age of 43, after an illness.
      A house, labeled as "dwelling of A. Snyder" is shown on the 1860 map of Hawley. It was located in the midst of the PCC yard which included a car shop, framing shop, blacksmith shop, lumber house and carpenter shop. It was near the gravity tracks and canal basin, alongside the Lackawaxen River. The location is approximately where the Borough Hall and Sunoco gas station are today.
    Page 3 of 4 -     
    ••• Postmaster
       After learning telegraphy, George Ammerman accepted a position as clerk in the post office under Mark K. Bishop, and after two and a half years he was appointed postmaster.  The post office at this time was located in the PCC West Depot, alongside the Erie railroad track - near the present site of the Hawley Public Library.
       In 1871, the Pa. Coal Company built a separate post office building close to the railroad depot, in approximately the same site as the present day post office which opened 95 years later.
       The town has been known as Hawley, by the way, since 1851. While he was postmaster, in 1884, Hawley became a borough.
       Commemorative Biographical Record states that Ammerman served as postmaster until October 6, 1888. In May of the following year he was reappointed and continued to serve until May 1893, (or 1892) in all 27 years.
        Another reference says that Patrick J. Langan replaced Ammerman briefly in 1885, and being renamed, Ammerman served as postmaster until 1897.
        "He was prompt and faithful in the discharge of his official duties, was painstaking and obliging, and was certainly one of the most popular postmasters of Wayne County," says the Commemorative Biographical Record of Ammerman.
    ••• Later years
       After his retirement, Ammerman purchased a small farm in Texas Township, near Seelyville, but on September 1, 1897 he returned to live in Hawley.
         His wife died less than two months later, on October 24, 1897.
         George Ammerman was a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and an earnest Republican. According to the Biographical Record writer, Ammerman "has manifested the same loyalty in days of peace as in days of war, and all who know him have for him the highest regard."
        After a while living in Hawley, in 1900 he was living in Schenectady, NY where he was a dealer in home furnishings. His three children lived with him. The 1910 Census lists George as 72 and living with daughter Cora and her husband, Dr. Javis F. Thorpe in Schenectady Dr. Thorpe was a physician; they had two daughters, Doris Javis Thorpe, 1902-1978 and Marian Ammerman Thorpe, 1904- (Mrs. Orion Barclay Chanfrau).
        Cora lived, 1873-1931.
        Carl lived, 1882-1938. Carl was wed to Lydia M. (1884-1959); there was at least one daughter, Elise M. Ammerman Fulmer (1910-1945).
        Roy and his wife Grace lived in Schenectady in 1910; he worked in real estate.
        Charles and William, George's twin brothers, lived in Hawley.
       Charles was a Prudential Insurance agent. He was wed to Sarah Emma Adams and their children included Samuel, James, Manly, Nellie, Louella, Charles and Mary Alice. Charles previously worked as a watchman for the canal company.
    Page 4 of 4 -     William had his own undertaker business. He and his wife Gertrude lived at 269 Erie (Welwood) Avenue. Their children were Virginia and Raymond.
       George Ammerman died November 24, 1910, age of 73, at the home of his son Roy. He was laid to rest at Eddy Cemetery (or Walnut Grove), Hawley, where his wife was also buried. The James M. Thorp Post of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), of Hawley, conducted services at the grave site.
       His siblings, Eliza M. Ammerman Cole, 1836-1915; John W. Ammerman, 1840-1899; Catherine Ammerman Millham, 1841-1896; William B. Ammerman, 1847-1925 and Charles Ammerman, 1847-1909, were interred nearby.
    Sources:
    Find-A-Grave
    Honesdale Citizen
    US Census records
    Northeast Pennsylvania Commemorative Biographical Record
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