Brea Post Office
(October 26, 1912 – )
There seems to have been some delay between the establishment of the Brea Post Office and its actual opening. “A post office has been opened at Brea, in La Habra Valley, with U.S. Glaze as postmaster. C.H. Sweet will have active charge of the office.” (Santa Ana Register, 2-7-1913) The surrounding area was served by a rural free delivery route out of Fullerton. This mail was handled separately until 1915 when the R.F.D. carrier was authorized to carry the mail to the Brea Post Office as well. “For years a letter mailed here for anyone who hasn’t a R.F.D. box had to be taken to Los Angeles and then brought back to Brea on the Pacific Electric – traveling fifty-three miles to cover a distance of only three and one-half miles.” (Register, 7-17-1915) As the town grew, the post office grew with it. “The post office at Brea has passed from a fourth class post office to a third class post office, and straightway there arises an appointment for the Democrats to look after. Brea, but a few years ago a stubble field, has moved ahead at a rapid rate. That it is growing is shown by the fact that its post office is no longer a fourth class office. As a fourth class office the postmaster was under the civil service, and his compensation was in the cancellation of stamps.” (Register, 10-5-1916) In 1928 the Brea Post Office was advanced to 2nd class (which among other things raised the postmaster’s salary again).
Ulysses S. Glaze, 1912-1913
A Spanish-American War veteran, U.S. Glaze had lived in Covina and Fullerton before moving to Brea. He later moved back to Fullerton and then to Garden Grove, where he was still living in 1939.
Charley H. Sweet, 1913-1915
While U.S. Glaze was officially Brea’s first postmaster, according to the newspapers, Charles Sweet actual ran the post office for the first year before getting the appointment himself.
James A. McCune, 1915-1917
On October 31, 1916 the Santa Ana Register reported: “The Brea post office is now hanging on the political plum tree, since it was advanced to an office of the third class with a salary attached. The fact has caused some office seekers to look into the matter with the intention of getting the place. However, people of Brea have petitioned that the present postmaster, Mr. Husted, be retained.” Mr. Husted seems to have run the store where the post office was located at this time but his name does not appear in the post office ledgers.
Robert G. Pettigrew, 1917-1919
Robert Pettigrew worked for one of the many local oil companies.
Anna M. McVeigh, 1919-1921
Anna McVeigh was also Brea’s first librarian in 1921.
William M. Smith, 1921-1922
William Smith worked for a local oil refinery before becoming postmaster. He also briefly had a grocery store in town.
Oliver N. Thornton, 1922-1925
Oliver Thornton’s wife, Ruth, served as his assistant postmaster. They seem to have left town after his term was up.
Elmer A. Gurley, 1925-1926 (Acting Postmaster)
Elmer Gurley was a local real estate agent and one of the original investors in Brea’s famed Red Lantern Theatre.
Florence E. Mathews, 1926-1931
George Friend, 1931-1936
George Friend came to town around 1926 and ran a tire shop before becoming postmaster.
Lynn A. “Mike” Hogue, 1936-1939
“Mike” Hogue came to Brea around 1922, where he ran a grocery store. Civically active, he was president of the chamber of commerce, president of the Lions Club, served on the city council, and was mayor of Brea in the mid-1930s. During the Depression, he worked with the WPA (Works Progress Administration) in Orange County before receiving his appointment as postmaster. He died of a heart attack in 1939 at age 45.
Leonard F. De Groff, 1939-1944
Leonard De Groff has been assistant postmaster in Brea before being appointed postmaster. In May 1944 he took a military leave to join the Army during World War II.
Rosalie Williams, 1944-1946
Rosalie Williams was appointed acting postmaster during Leonard De Groff’s leave of absence, but it was not without controversy. De Groff’s wife, Rachel, had been working as a clerk in the post office and hoped to fill in while he was away; but the County Democratic Central Committee instead nominated Rosalie Williams, an active political volunteer who worked in a Fullerton dress shop. This prompted the entire post office staff to quit. “They told me they didn’t think I was competent to run the office,” Williams told the papers, “but if they leave we’ll do the best we can to continue service. We’ll try to get along.” (Santa Ana Register, 5-19-1944, 6-1-1944) Williams came to Brea in 1912 with her first husband, Orry Rankin. After his death in 1919 she Hugh R. Williams. She was a local business owner, a member of the Orange County Democratic Central Committee, and active with the Congregational Church and the local PTA.
Leonard F. De Groff, 1946-1966
Leonard De Groff returned to the Brea Post Office after the war and served as postmaster another two decades before finally retiring.
Daniel Phillips, 1966-1979
Daniel Phillips was assistant postmaster in Brea by 1958. His brother, John F. Phillips of San Clemente, was president of the Orange County Chapter of the National Association of Postmasters in the late 1950s.
(You can find more about Orange County’s post offices and postmasters here)