Dr. Caleb Carpenter – First Postmaster
- Jim Wade
- January 1, 2022
- 3 Min Read
In early 1834, Dr. Caleb Carpenter came to the area that would become Almont. When he arrived, there was no recognized governmental unit. Dr. Carpenter was one of the first (probably the first) doctors in Almont.
Caleb J. Carpenter was born March 24, 1805 in Fairfield, Franklin County, Vermont to Rufus Carpenter (1770-1834) and Betsey Baldwin Carpenter (1773-1855). He was the third child and third son of nine children – 3 girls. There is unconfirmed information that he is the descendent of someone who arrived on the Mayflower.
At sometime in the late 1820s, Caleb and probably his brother Seymour and parents moved to Washington Township in Macomb County. On November 14, 1831 he married Matilda Freeman in Romeo, Washington, Michigan. Matilda was born about 1804 in Pompey, Onondaga County, New York (parents unknown). Unfortunately, Matilda died sometime in 1832 and is buried in the Hough (pronounced “Huff”) Cemetery (before the cemetery was an organized entity) in Almont.
Once Dr. Carpenter began his medical practice, he would go to Royal Oak and pick up the mail for the residents of the Almont area. There was not a post office in Almont. He would make the trip about once a week. However, bad weather and even worse roads sometimes made it impossible to make the trip. Once he got back to Almont, people could come into town to his home (office) and get their mail or he would deliver it while making his rounds to visit the sick.
At that time, the person receiving a letter was the one who covered the cost of mailing the letter. The cost was two shillings – about 20 cents. Dr. Carpenter covered the cost of the mail in Royal Oak and received payment from those who received letters once they received their letters.
On January 20, 1835, the Federal Government established the U. S. Post Office for the Township of Bristol (now Almont). It was officially located in Dr. Caleb Carpenter’s office. Dr. Carpenter was appointed the first postmaster on January 29, 1835.
In 1836, Dr. Carpenter moved the post office to Charles B. Keeler’s store (old Newburg Store) on the southwest corner of St. Clair and Main Streets (Aurora Realty building). This was made to allow people to get their mail while Dr. Carpenter was out making his rounds. Also, Dr. Carpenter had been elected Supervisor of Bristol Township.
The year 1836 was an eventful year for Dr. Carpenter. On October 30, 1836 he married Laura Hubbard, probably in Almont. Laura was born August 20, 1812 in Sullivan, Cheshire County, New Hampshire to Erastus Hubbard (1761-1846) and Abigail Nims Hubbard (1771-1851).
Caleb and Laura would have five children all born in Almont: Mary (1837-1910), Harriet (1840-1880), Franklin (1841-1911), Ann A. (1843-1940), and Caleb J. Jr. (1845-1930).
Dr. Carpenter also occasionally performed wedding ceremonies. In November 1836, Dr. Carpenter married Israel Curtis to a widow Fox at the home of Isaac Smith in the village of Whigville. Whigville was a small settlement on Hough Road east of Hosmer Road. It was completely destroyed by a tornado in1898 and not rebuilt.
Dr. Carpenter would advertize his services in the local papers. On September 1, 1842, in the “Plain Dealer” and “Lapeer County Democrat” he placed ads.
Laura Hubbard Carpenter died on June 17, 1864, probably in Almont. She is buried in Hough Cemetery on Hough Road. Dr. Caleb J. Carpenter died October 19, 1873 in St. Louis, Gratiot County, Michigan. His burial location is not presently known.