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The first mailman lived here

The Shaw place, Burlington MA

The Daily Times and Chronicle, Tuesday, June 30, 1981

Burlington Past and Present, by John E. Fogelberg
(Article # 106)

Shrouded in mystery...

One of the few Burlington homes dating back to before the Revolution (1754 in this case) stands at the fork of Terrace Hall Avenue and Bedford Street, near St. Mark’s Episcopal Church. It never housed any war heroes, but it did house the town’s first mail carrier! A hat-maker named Alfred B. Shaw bought the house in 1841, along with some 60 acres of land. He and his wife Alice had five children including a George, who grew up to become the first delivery mailman in town.

The earliest record of a post office in Burlington appears in 1832 when Silas Cutler was appointed postmaster by President Jackson. His post office was in the village store he operated near the common, near the current fire station. Free delivery to rural areas like Burlington was not authorized until 1896. Thus George Shaw became the first carrier in town, making his rounds daily by horse and buggy. He not only delivered and picked up the mail but sold money orders and stamps as well. When George died in 1911, Arthur W. Nichols became the local carrier. The old house, however, had been sold long before that time. Alfred B. Shaw died in June, 1878, aged 74 and his heirs Nancy Shaw, George F. Shaw, Herbert and Ellen Berry, Silas and Sarah Bertenshaw and Margaret Heap sold the 60 acre homestead to John Winn of Burlington in 1882.

Today that old Shaw house sits in lonely simplicity on lot No 499 of a development known as Pinewold. It had been registered to Paul and Mary Brooks in 1938 but had gone through several other owners prior to that year, Samuel Soul in 1917, Frank Herregodts in 1927 and title of Woburn Cooperative Bank in 1935 during the height of the depression.

Ruth E. Gregory bought the beautiful old house early in 1954 and has lived there very happily ever since. Happy, this writer likes to think, because she appreciated the grace and charm our Burlington forefathers often built into their homes.