US Post Office, 1789 to 1875

Postmasters General

Don Heller, 23 January 2018






The dates given here are for
If the Senate is not in session, the President can make a "recess appointment", which is valid until the end of the Senate's next session.  The nomination is intended to be delivered as soon as the Senate reconvenes.

Notes (R), (1), (2), (3), and (4) follow the table.  Continuing reappointments or reconfirmations are not listed here.  Vacancies are not noted, unless filled ad interim.  The first column links to Wikipedia.

Postmaster General appointment nomination confirmation beginning ending journals
Samuel Osgood Sep. 26, 1789 Sep. 25, 1789 Sep. 26, 1789 Sep. 26, 1789 Aug. 19, 1791 SEJ v.1 p.32-33
Letterbooks
Timothy Pickering
    USPS bio
(R) Aug. 12, 1791 Oct. 31, 1791 Nov. 7, 1791 Aug. 19, 1791 Jan. 2, 1795 SEJ v.1 p.86
SEJ v.1 p.88
Joseph Habersham Feb. 25, 1795 Feb. 24, 1795 Feb. 25, 1795 Feb. 25, 1795 Nov. 2, 1801 SEJ v.1 p.173-174
Gideon Granger (R) Nov. 28, 1801 Jan. 6, 1802 Jan. 26, 1802 Nov. 28, 1801 Feb. 25, 1814 SEJ v.1 p.400-405
Return J. Meigs, Jr. Mar. 17, 1814 Feb. 25, 1814 Mar. 17, 1814 Apr. 11, 1814 June 30, 1823 SEJ v.2 p.499
SEJ v.2 p.501
SEJ v.2 p.504
SEJ v.2 p.511
John McLean, or M'Lean (R) June 26, 1823 Dec. 5, 1823 Dec. 9, 1823 July 1, 1823 Mar. 9, 1829
Mar. 6, 1829
SEJ v.3 p.343-344
ASP p.328
SEJ v.4 p.6-7
Abraham Bradley (1)
---
---
---
Mar. 7, 1829
Mar. 10, 1829
Apr. 5, 1829
ASP p.328
ASP p.336
William T. Barry Mar. 9, 1829 Mar. 9, 1829 Mar. 9, 1829 Apr. 6, 1829 Apr. 30, 1835 SEJ v.4 p.8-9
ASP p.216
ASP p.328
Amos Kendall (R) May 1, 1835 Dec. 28, 1835 Mar. 15, 1836 May 1, 1835 May 25, 1840 SEJ v.4 p.498-499
SEJ v.4 p.522
John M. Niles May 19, 1840
eff. May 25, 1840
May 16, 1840 May 18, 1840 May 26, 1840 Mar. 3, 1841 SEJ v.5 p.284-285
Selah R. Hobbie (2) --- --- --- Mar. 4, 1841 Mar. 7, 1841
Francis Granger Mar. 6, 1841 Mar. 5, 1841 Mar. 6, 1841 Mar. 8, 1841 Sep. 13, 1841 SEJ v.5 p.369-370
Selah R. Hobbie (2) --- --- --- Sep. 14, 1841 Oct. 12, 1841
Oct. 11, 1841

Register 1843
Charles A. Wickliffe Sep. 13, 1841 Sep. 13, 1841 Sep. 13, 1841 Oct. 13, 1841
Oct. 12, 1841
Mar. 6, 1845 SEJ v.5 p.443
Register 1843
Cave Johnson Mar. 6, 1845 Mar. 5, 1845 Mar. 5, 1845 Mar. 7, 1845 Mar. 5, 1849 SEJ v.6 p.425-426
Selah R. Hobbie (2) --- --- --- Mar. 6, 1849 Mar. 7, 1849
Jacob Collamer Mar. 8, 1849 Mar. 6, 1849 Mar. 7, 1849 Mar. 8, 1849 July 22, 1850 SEJ v.8 p.68,70,71
Nathan K. Hall July 23, 1850 July 20, 1850 July 20, 1850 July 23, 1850 Sep. 13, 1852 SEJ v.8 p.205
Samuel D. Hubbard Aug. 31, 1852 Aug. 31, 1852 Aug. 31, 1852 Sep. 14, 1852 Mar. 7, 1853 SEJ v.8 p.451
James Campbell Mar. 7, 1853 Mar. 7, 1853 Mar. 7, 1853 Mar. 8, 1853 Mar. 6, 1857 SEJ v.9 p.51-52
Aaron V. Brown (3) Mar. 6, 1857 Mar. 6, 1857 Mar. 6, 1857 Mar. 7, 1857 Mar. 8, 1859 SEJ v.10 p.224
Horatio King (2) --- --- --- Mar. 9, 1859 Mar. 13, 1859
Joseph Holt Mar. 14, 1859 Mar. 9, 1859 Mar. 9, 1859 Mar. 14, 1859 Dec. 31, 1860 SEJ v.11 p.95
Horatio King (2) --- --- --- Jan. 1, 1861 Feb. 11, 1861 [House Doc.]
Horatio King Feb. 12, 1861 Feb. 1, 1861 Feb. 12, 1861 Feb. 12, 1861 Mar. 9, 1861 SEJ v.11 p.256
SEJ v.11 p.271
Montgomery Blair Mar. 5, 1861 Mar. 5, 1861 Mar. 5, 1861 Mar. 9, 1861 Sep. 30, 1864 SEJ v.11 p.289-290
William Dennison, Jr. (R) Sep. 24, 1864 Dec. 5, 1864 Dec. 8, 1864 Oct. 1, 1864 July 16, 1866 SEJ v.14 p.1,5
Alexander W. Randall (2) --- --- --- July 17, 1866 July 24, 1866
Alexander W. Randall July 25, 1866 July 14, 1866 July 25, 1866 July 25, 1866 Mar. 4, 1869 SEJ v.14 p.922
SEJ v.14 p.967
SEJ v.14 p.1052
St. John B.L. Skinner (2) --- --- --- Mar. 4, 1869 Mar. 5, 1869
John A.J. Creswell Mar. 5, 1869 Mar. 5, 1869 Mar. 5, 1869 Mar. 6, 1869 July 6, 1874 SEJ v.17 p.3-4
James W. Marshall (4) (R) July 3, 1874 --- --- July 7, 1874 Aug. 31, 1874
Marshall Jewell (R) Aug. 24, 1874 Dec. 7, 1874 Dec. 15, 1874 Sep. 1, 1874 July 12, 1876 SEJ v.19 p.373
SEJ v.19 p.432
James N. Tyner July 12, 1876 July 11, 1876 July 12, 1876 July 13, 1876 Mar. 12, 1877 SEJ v.20 p.279-280
SEJ v.21 p.3,7
etc.






Notes
(R) recess appointment; nomination and confirmation delayed until the Senate reconvened
(1) Assistant Postmaster General, acting Postmaster General
(2) First Assistant Postmaster General, interim appointment
(3) died in office, Mar. 8, 1859
(4) First Assistant Postmaster General, temporary appointment (see below)
Biographies of the Postmasters General may be found in Wikipedia (linked above), Ellsworth (1960), in the series of articles by Daniel Meschter (2002-2012), and in the books by Grossman (2000), Smith (1925), Sobel/Sicilia (1971, 1977, 1990, 2003), and Vexler (1975), which cover the entirety of Cabinet officers.  The various editions of the Biographical Directory (1859 to 2005) are useful for the PMGs who were also members of the House or Senate.

There is a "last day in office" letter from John McLean, Mar. 9, 1829; Richard Frajola auction, Sep. 10, 1983, lot 54, http://www.rfrajola.com/catalogs/rcf10.pdf

The transition from Creswell to Marshall to Jewell is nicely explained by Fowler (1943, p. 150-152).  Pres. Grant announced that Creswell had resigned, much to Creswell's surprise.  Jewell was Ambassador to Russia, and not able to return immediately.  Marshall was First Assistant PMG, but could not legally hold the interim PMG position for more than 10 days (18 Stat. 28, sec. 180), so he was appointed PMG without a nomination being sent to the Senate, and he returned to the First Assistant's position on Jewell's arrival.



References, official and semi-official
References, not official
References, history of the Post Office Department
Postmasters General, individual (auto)biographies
Contemporary news reports, from Readex/Newsbank, America's Historical Newspapers Political attacks, or, Vigorous discussions of corruption, take your pick
Further references, not yet incorporated



Assistant Postmasters General, and Auditor of the Treasury for the Post Office Department, see separate file



Reconfirmations, which are not listed in the main table
Confirmation trivia
Terminology



Last changed 10 February 2018

Timeline of Philatelic Literature, 1830-1875

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