When post offices opened up in the province of Ontario, in many cases they were the first business to commence operation in the formation of a town or village. Such is the case in Combermere, Craigmont, Brudenell, Purdy, Rockingham, Hopefield, in which are located in the townships of Radcliffe, Bangor, Brudenell and Raglan.
The first post office to open in this area was in Brudenell in September 1, 1859. It was followed by Hopefield in 1861, Rockingham in 1864, Purdy in 1964, Bark Lake in 1864 and then Combermere as the 6th post office. Barry's Bay came later in April 1, 1877 as the 10th post office.
Post office from water, Combermere
Originally, Combermere was named Dennison’s Bridge after John Dennison who was one of the first settlers in the area and came here circa 1850. Combermere’s post office opened on September 1, 1865.
Daniel Johnson was the first postmaster with the post office located in a log building on the south side of the main highway, as part of his general store. He lived with his family across the street in a board & batten frame house where the Blooms would later build a house and post office. The building is where the Valley Market general store is located today. When the recent owner of Valley Market store, Peter Tomlin, was renovating the building about 15 years ago, he found parts of the original log walls and structure. Peter has donated some of these logs to the Mission House Museum & Gallery in Combermere.
Daniel stayed on as postmaster until he resigned in July 4, 1884. Daniel was born somewhere in Ontario on October 17, 1836 and came to the Combermere area around the 1850's. He had a wife Annie who was born March 15, 1832 in Ireland and they had a daughter, Mary Louise, born October 15, 1869. The family had property on Conc. 6, Lots 31 and 32 in Bangor Twp, Hastings Co. where Daniel used to grow produce which he sold in the store where the post office was located. The general store was established in1859. He also owned a boat named the 'E. L. Perkins', which ran to Barry's Bay to pick up supplies there by stagecoach and horse and wagon from Eganville and Renfrew. The boat met it's 'fate' by fire one day while in Hydes Bay.
Daniel Johnson's residence, Combermere
John Edward Hill Miller took over from Daniel as postmaster August 13, 1884. John was born November 4, 1854 and died February 12, 1934. He married Mary Louise Boucher about 1875 and they had five children - Morley, Mabel, P. H., Ozzie and John H. John remained in the position of postmaster until his death February 12, 1934. John had worked as an assistant in the post office under Daniel Johnson for some time.
Miss Mabel Ethel Rattan Miller, a daughter of John E H Miller, had been working in the post office with her father and when he died, she took over as postmaster. She held that role until January 22, 1951 when she retired. Mabel was born January 31, 1880 and died in Barry’s Bay December 8, 1967 She never married and all of her siblings and parents lived in the house.
"Walter" Ernest John Walter Bloom took over the role of postmaster in Jan 23, 1951 in an acting role and then in February 6, 1951, took over in a full capacity of postmaster.
Walter moved the post office back to the same building where Daniel Johnson previously had the post office (where the Valley Market is located). Walter & his wife Ursula operated the grocery store and they had a corner of the store as the post office. They operated the grocery store business from 1947 to 1953. However, in 1953 there was not enough space in the store and they moved the post office into their home across the street.
During the time that Walter was postmaster, he traveled to many of the small post offices in the area such as Bell Rapids, Purdy, Craigmont, Rockingham, Wingle, Schutt, Rosenthal, etc, and closed them down, converting the mail system to rural delivery. Walter married Ursula Mary Perrier November 20, 1945 in Canadian Martyrs Church, Combermere and they have four children: Gerry, Donna, Diane and Evan.
After Walter’s death, Ursula filled in at the post office from 1980 to 1982.
In 1982, a new, one story brick post office building was built next to the Inn Towne Restaurant and between Valley Market general store on property owned by Bob Maika. In fact, Bob owns the property where the post office stands and Canada Post rents the building from him.
Bloom Post Office and residence, Combermere
Gloria Marquette worked part time in the post office from 1980 to 1984. Then in 1984 Gloria took over as postmaster and held that position until December 2004 when she retired. Gloria was born Gloria Anne Hoare on September 11, 1942 in Centreview and is the wife of Morley John Marquette who was born February 10, 1941. Morley has operated his own building contracting business for many years. Prior to coming back to Combermere, Morley was with the Ottawa Police Department for 18 years from March 1, 1962 to 1979 and was made Sargent for the last few years. They lived in Carp and Gloria worked part time in the post office there from 1976 to 1979. They married in August 5, 1961 in St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Combermere and have two children who were born in Ottawa, ON - John Morley, born November 3, 1961 and Gregory James, born September 13, 1963. They are both married. John has two boys and Greg has two girls and one boy.
Helen Maika had been working as an assistant with Gloria for many years and then in January 2005 she was appointed postmaster. Helen is a local Combermere resident and was born in Pembroke on July 15, 1947 as Helen Dorothy McMahon. She is married to Desmond Maika born October 27, 1945 who owns and operates a Combermere area masonry business. They married in 1967 and have two children Richard born in 1968 and Kimberley born in 1969. Richard is not married but Kimberley has three children.
Combermere Post Office (present)