Washington County Maine
Post Offices And Postal History
Washington County is the easternmost county in the United States, and it borders the province of New Brunswick, Canada. Washington County has an area nearly as large as the States of Delaware and Rhode Island, combined, but is sparsely populated, with a current population of less than 35,000 people. Despite the lack of major population or commercial centers, the county has an interesting postal history.
Until it achieved statehood in 1820, Maine was a district of Massachusetts. The eastern boundaries of Washington County were the subject of several disputes with the British Province of New Brunswick, which was then independent of Canada. At the end of the Revolutionary War, the boundary between Maine and New Brunswick was set at the St. Croix River; however, Maine and New Brunswick disputed which river was the "St. Croix River." New Brunswick and Britain asserted what is now known as the Penobscot River, flowing through Bangor, Maine, and into the Atlantic Ocean at Belfast, Maine, was the boundary. The Americans asserted that what is now known as the St. John's River, which flows into the Bay of Fundy at St. John, New Brunswick, was the boundary.
During the War of 1812, British troops occupied Eastport and Machias, in Washington County, as well as Bangor, and Castine, Maine, and imposed a Naval Blockade. The Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812, set the boundary at what is now known as the St. Croix River; however, the boundary with respect to several islands in Passamaquoddy Bay, including Moose Island, and thus Eastport, remained in dispute. British troops did not leave Eastport until June 30, 1818.
Washington County initially included much of what is now Aroostook County, including Houlton, Maine. At that time, the land boundry between Maine and New Brunswick was subject to dispute. In 1838-39, the boundry was the subject of the "Aroostook War" in which the United States, New Brunswick, and Canada each sent troops to the area, although there was never any actual fighting. Maine created Aroostook County in 1839, specifically to lay claim to the disputed land.
Washington County did not have any post offices during the Colonial period. The first post office in the county opened in 1781, at Pleasent River, which was later renamed Addison. No postmarks are known from Pleasent River. A handful of offices opened in the 1790s, including Brewer's, (again no postmarks recorded) which was renamed Schoodick in 1797, Chandler's River, Columbia, Machias, Narragaugus, and Passamaquoddy. Due to Washington County's shared border with New Brunswick, the county was important for the exchange of mail with the Maritime Provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. Calais, Eastport, Robbinston, and Houlton (part of Washington County until 1839) were all exchange offices for mail to the Maritime Provinces.
A note with regard to webpage navigation. Several of the Washington County Post Offices have been known by more than one name. Each post office name is listed in the table below, with hyperlinks to other names used by that post office. However, if the post office name change was simply to add "city post office," "rural branch," "rural station," or "station" to the post office name, then the post offices are on the same webpage.
* - No postmarks are recorded for this Post Office.
Aroostook County Post Offices
Formerly Part of Washington County
(Prior to May 1, 1839)
* - No postal markings recorded while part of Washington County.