Jun 22

J.J. Simmler, postmaster

Dead letter office, San Luis Obispo Tribune advertisement from 1883 by J.J. Simmler.

Most of the mail in my box is computer addressed advertising junk, much of which goes straight to the recycle bin.
I try not to bring it in the house but most days it stacks up on the counter, waiting to be taken out.
To the sender I am a demographic number. My address, zip code, shopping preferences, donation habits and political registration all collected on a servers somewhere and spit out when they want to troll for money.
In 1883 letters were hand addressed, likely from someone you knew. If you forgot to go to the post office for general delivery the newspaper ran a regular classified ad from postmaster J.J. Simmler letting folks know they had a letter.
The early history of the San Luis Obispo post office included the founding editor of the Tribune among others but it was a Frenchman who likely had the most lasting impact.
Born in France, J.J. Simmler came to California by way of Texas. He started out for the gold fields but the ship he sailed on was becalmed and ran out of rations. seven passengers died of starvation. When he landed at Port San Luis in 1852 he decided to go no further. He trained as a painter and was appointed post master in 1872 and held the post until 1890 and was also Justice of the Peace for a time. A school and post office were named for him in California Valley, he had lobbied for establishing a post office there.
He died in February 1906 and is buried in San Luis Obispo.

Biographical information on Simmler from History of San Luis Obispo County and Environs California with Biographical Sketches – Mrs. Annie L. Morrison and John H. Haydon
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California – 1917

Related posts:

  1. Early days of the San Luis Obispo post office