BRANT – The community gathered at the Brant Post office March 25 to commemorate the Town of Brant’s founding 175 years ago.
The Town of Brant was named after Mohawk Chief Joseph Brant whose indian name was Thayendanegea in 1839. Five years later the Brant Post Office was established; Simeon Brown was the very first Postmaster. The Post Office had 30 Postmasters in its history. Vincent Fininzio is considered the legendary postmaster, having been one of the last in the Town of Brant.The last Postmaster was Michael F. Garvin.
A Special Cancellation was given to those who asked for it, some being from out of state, stamping the self-addressed envelopes with the special 175-year celebration stamp.
Cancellations on the envelope give the day and time mail was shipped out; during special events the town/village/city will request special cancellations to create collectors items and memoriams of a special event.
Town Supervisor Leonard Pero loves to celebrate his hometown.
“It is a great historical town,” he said. “We try to do some kind of celebration every 25 years; during the summerfest parade we will do more to celebrate the 175-year anniversary.”
Town Clerk Barb Daniel added she can’t wait until the 200-year anniversary.
“Brant was the largest producer of berries in the world during the 1940s and 50s,” Pero said. “We had about 8,000 people come here in the summer and help raise berries; this is why we call our summerfest “Strawberry Jam”; we have strawberry shortcake and two bands come to play.”
People requested a collector’s special cancellation from California, Florida, Colorado, Oregon and Iowa as well as other places out of state.
Angola Postmaster David Tempestoso explained there are no more postmasters in Brant so he works at Brant, Angola and Farnham.
“This is a big event – celebrating 175 years of Brant,” he said.
Postmaster Relief Anthony Cerabone added teaching children the importance of a post office is a good idea. “It is nice the post office has survived all these years,” he said. “It is so important during this tech age to help children understand the importance of the post office.”
Cerabone said he is happy to be at the celebration.
Rosalee (Tish) Hill spent her whole life in Brant and this day was very special to her.
“We really grew up in a great town; my parents were both part of the fire company and we always worked at the Festivals,” she said. “Leah Mirusso is my mother and I am doing this all for her.”
Hill is carrying on the tradition for her mother and wanted to honor her.
“I am carrying the torch for my mother,” she said. “I wanted to keep this all going and honor her.”
Hill designed the Seneca Nation Chief Joseph Brant stamps on the envelopes.
“I wouldn’t live anywhere else,” she said. “I remember being part of the Festival when I was 12 years old and wearing periodic clothing.”
Pero added his family came to Brant from Italy in 1887 and his and Hill’s families have been a part of everything.
“I am really happy to be involved in the 175-year-celebration,” he said. “I wasn’t really involved in the 150-year one; I have been the Town Supervisor for 12 years now.”
Town Historian Patty Friend added her own excitement about the special day.
“I am so excited people come here and get their mail so now it becomes a special day to go collect your mail,” she said. “People can be part of history by signing the book and participate in the whole event.”
Hill added it is a great place where everyone knows everyone and it makes a big difference.
“This is the 175th birthday of the town,” Friend said. “This is a very nice way to remember it.”
A raffle to win a made-in-America flag blanket and made-in-America stamps was part of the celebration ceremony.
Farnham historians Bev Wasmund and Jo Battaglia said they are the oldest ladies left in the Village of Farnham.
“It is really wonderful to do the celebration this way,” Wasmund said. “I enjoy it very much.”
Battaglia nostalgically speaks of by-gone days.
“We had all kinds of berries and lots of canning factories,” she said.
United States Postal Service Media Representative Karen Mazurkiewicz described why the postal service gets involved on special days like this.
“A Special Cancellation is a tribute to an event,” she said. “Anyone can request the special cancellation up to 30 days after the event or occasion.”
The Postal Service sends out a bulletin indicating when the special cancellations will happen. The Special Cancellation has more value when it is received on the actual day so the postal service sends out a bulletin ahead of time for collectors to have a chance to get the best cancellation.
“There are stamp collectors who look for these things,” Mazurkiewicz said. “They usually write to the post master requesting the cancellation.”
Mazurkiewicz added this is a way for the post offices to get involved in special events.
“We are happy to participate in Brant’s 175-Year Anniversary,” she said. “The town is really excited about it.”
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