History Behind Postmaster Jesse Hause

Fun fact: In 1899, Chester County had 176 post offices.



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Hause hemmed and hawed. He had business to do, and not much time. “The young man, however, insisted,” as the Daily Local told the story. “The good name of Wollerton being familiar to Mr. Hause, he decided to go with his young friend to his place of business for the purpose of receiving the circulars.”

They walked south from Market on Sixth Street, crossed Washington Square to Seventh, and entered a building where “Wollerton” said he had an office. Inside, the younger man asked an associate for the circulars and was told so-and-so had them. Waiting for so-and-so to appear, “a new actor appeared upon the scene: a
fellow represented to be a genuine Ken-tucky cattle dealer.”

The Kentuckian accused Wollerton of having cheated him at cards the night before. The younger man insisted that he never gambled, showed concern, and asked what had happened. To demonstrate, the Southerner pulled out a pack of cards, spread them across a table, and began a spiel.

“While all this was going on, Mr. Hause was a silent looker-on, standing nearby and waiting for the agricultural circulars,” went the story.

The Kentuckian bet Wollerton a dollar that he couldn’t pick the winning card. Wollerton, again, protested that he never gambled, but picked up a card just for fun. It was the winner. The Kentuckian bet him $5. When Wollerton won again, the Southerner pulled out a large wad of cash and pressed $5 into his hands. He was an honorable man, the Kentuckian insisted, and always paid his debts.

“Then it was,” reported the Daily Local, “that the two parties turned to Mr. Hause and asked him to take a hand in testing his luck.” 

And Hause finally realized that there would be no agricultural circulars. “Step-ping back a few paces, looking the villains full in their faces, he put his hand to the breast pocket of his vest as if to draw a pistol and said, ‘You men are villainous rascals of the worst kind, and one step on the part of either of you towards me will lead to your certain death at my hands.’”

Hause remembered the men’s faces as “bleached” as he backed out the door. “The fun of this circumstance lies in the fact that Mr. Hause had no pistol about him, and hence his game was one of strategy,” went the story in the Daily Local.

Seems even a country fellow can play at that game.

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