History Bytes: The Newport Post Office
Long before the Forever stamp and the threat of Saturday closures, Newport’s Post Office was an essential gathering place for mail and information from around the world. The modern Post Office system was an invention of Benjamin Franklin who established himself as Post Master General of the American colonies while in Philadelphia. In 1745 he appointed Thomas Vernon the Deputy Postmaster of Newport, a post he held until the Revolution began in 1775. Thomas Vernon (1718-1784) was the Tory brother of merchants and patriots Samuel and William Vernon of the Vernon House and United States Navy Board. He was later imprisoned for his loyalist activities and kept a journal of his captivity which is in the collection of the Society.
Signed by Benjamin Franklin and bearing his heraldic seal, this document (pictured above) appointed Vernon Deputy Postmaster of Newport on 20 January 1764 for a three year term. The Post Office was located several doors south of the Brick Market on Thames Street.