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TRGHS Railroad Postal Service program: Canisteo historian Steve Cotton to talk in Wellsville

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The Thema Rogers Genealogical and Historical Society is the parent of the Wellsville Historical Society and oversees the Nathaniel Dike Museum

By Kathryn  Ross, Vice President TRGHS

WELLSVILLE – Canisteo and Hartsville Historian Steve Cotton will take the public on a train ride through the history of the Railroad Post Office Wednesday night at the David A. Howe Library.

At 6:30 p.m. Wednesday the Thelma Rogers Genealogical and Historical Society invites the public to attend as it resumes its monthly historical presentations with a talk by Steve Cotton, president of the Kanisteo Historical Society and curator of the Hartsville Museum.

A native of Canisteo, Cotton has been a student of local history for his entire life. “I was never too interested in the Revolutionary or the Civil wars or world history. I just thought why people settled here and how they lived was more interesting,” he explained.

“Moving the Mail by Rail, The story of the Railroad Post Office” is the result of a study Cotton was doing concerning the NYP (The New York and Pennsylvania Railroad ‘NYP’ a single track, short line railroad running on an east-west route almost due south along Bennett’s Creek from Canisteo through the hamlets of GreenwoodRexville, and Whitesville in New York and through Genesee to Oswayo, PA., then northwest through Shinglehouse, PA, to Ceres, New York.

“I asked for information on the NYP on Facebook and a lady in Virginia responded to me. She said she had a canvas laundry bag from the NYP. The stuff in the bag included pigeonhole cards and payroll stubs. The “laundry bag” was a mail bag. So, I started investigating. I found an article in a railroad magazine about Cameron Mills, and I started finding more information on how the railroad collected and delivered the mail,” Cotton said.

Learn about the NYP and how the local mail was hung out and thrown off the slow-moving train as it made its way across the area at Wednesday’s program. It is free to the public and will take place in the rechristened Gallery room at the library.

The Thema Rogers Genealogical and Historical Society is the parent of the Wellsville Historical Society and oversees the Nathaniel Dike Museum. Closed for the season, the museum is open to the public from May through October and by request during the winter months. Contact any officer or call 585-610-5343 to schedule an appointment.

The TRGHS will continue to offer historical programs throughout the rest of the year, including tours and in February its annual Tale or Treasure meeting. All programs are free to the public.

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