Postal Service Established

At first the mail was delivered by train and then went by stage-coach to Monticello and distributed there. People had to travel to Monticello, or make arrangements for others to pick up their mail. Bement was established as a post office in February 1856, and Joseph Bodman was appointed postmaster. On February 12,1856. Bodman traveled to Decatur to get his stamps, etc. and the “office will henceforth be in operation.” The first post office was located in Joseph Bodman’s office building at the southwest corner of West Bodman and South Morgan Streets.

For the first several years the Bement Post Office moved with the Postmaster. From 1857 until 1858, it was located in Frances E. Bryant’s store on the southeast corner of South Macon and East Bodman Streets.

Mr. Bryant was succeeded by J. O. Sparks, a grain dealer who served from October 1858 until April 1861. Mr. Sparks was followed by George L. Spear, appointed April 20, 1861 under the administration of President Lincoln.

A On October 6,_1865, Sereno K. Bodman, a druggist and nephew of the first postmaster (Joseph Bodman), was appointed and held office until his successor, Chester Schoolcraft, took charge of the office October 12, 1866. Schoolcraft was succeeded by Sereno K. Bodman, the first .“come·back” occupant of the office, reappointed March 31, 1869 under the administration of Ulysses S. Grant. Bodman had retired after 15 years of continuous service as a postal worker.

On July 4, 1884, Frank A. Jones was appointed to the office. Jones was succeeded by John McNamee, who was appointed by President Grover Cleveland on, March 22, 1887. Jones then served a second term, appointed by President Harrison on July 1, 1891 to succeed McNamee.

Jones, a veteran of the Civil War, was literally shot to pieces on the firing line. He was informed by the hospital surgeon that he had only hours to live, but Jones said he absolutely refused to die. At the close of the war in 1856,he marched up Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington DC, and fifty years later marched over the same route with fellow veterans during the national encampment of the G.A.R. in 1915.

William B. Fleming succeeded Jones on January 23, 1896, by appointment of President Grover Cleveland. Fleming was succeeded by George M. Thompson, who was appointed on January 11, 1905. W. G. Cloyd was appointed by President Wilson, August 1 , 1913, to follow Thompson.

Charles Grant became acting Postmaster in 1923 and later was appointed to the office. Grant was succeeded by William Hughes, whose appointment was dated March 1, 1924.

Following Hughes, Mr. J. N. Raglan was acting postmaster for one year before Mrs. Ruth Patterson received her appointment on August 20, 1934.

Patterson became Bement’s first lady postmaster and held that position during Bement’s Centennial year.

Patterson was succeeded by Linzy Eugene Corum, who was appointed on June 30, 1970. On December 2, 1973, the current post office was dedicated at its current location at 200 E. Bodman Street. Corum was postmaster until 1973, when he stepped down from his managerial duties to become a rural carrier. He served as a rural carrier until November 30, 2001, and retired with 50 years of dedicated service to the Bement Post Office. He was also state Legion Commander and active in civil affairs during his entire adult life.

Corum was succeeded by William A. "Bill" Wirth, who served as postmaster from 1973 until his retirement on October 2,1992.

Wirth was succeeded by Jody Shonkwiler, clerk at the Bement Post Office, who served as acting postmaster until January 1993, when Bonnie L. Elson became the second female postmaster and served from 1993 until 1999. Jody Shonkwiler became postmaster in July of 1999 and still held that position during Bement’s Sesquicentennial year.

From Bement Sesquicentennial book - used with permission

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