He names Margaret Sillyman as Deputy Postmaster of Pottsville, Pa., in an early example of the growing role of women.
The day after Lincoln was elected for the first time, some of the Republican citizens of Pottsville, Pa. wrote a letter to the brand new president-elect. The retained copy, which is still present, indicates that the letter was a petition in which the citizens “respectfully recommend to you for the post of...
The day after Lincoln was elected for the first time, some of the Republican citizens of Pottsville, Pa. wrote a letter to the brand new president-elect. The retained copy, which is still present, indicates that the letter was a petition in which the citizens “respectfully recommend to you for the post of postmistress of the Post Office for said borough Mrs. Margaret Sillyman. Mrs. Sillyman is the widow of the late Samuel Sillyman, deceased, one of the founders of this place…”
After explaining that the widow and family were in dire straights, they continued by saying that “In politics Mr. Sillyman was influential as a Whig and as a Republican. Mrs. Sillyman is eminently deserving and qualified for the post for which the appointment is asked…we also beg to assure you that our community generally will feel that her appointment is also a merited tribute to the memory of one who had endeared himself to our public.”
Letters to Lincoln appealing to his sense of generosity and compassion were seldom sent in vain. Just a month after his inauguration, President Lincoln appointed Margaret Sillyman Deputy Postmaster of Pottsville.
Document Signed as President, 10 by 14 inches, Washington, April 6, 1861, stating that “Reposing special trust and confidence in the Integrity, Ability and Punctuality” of Mrs. Sillyman, Lincoln names her to the post. The document is countersigned by William Seward as Secretary of State. It is very unusual indeed to find a document appointing a woman to a federal office this early; this is the first one signed by Lincoln we can recall seeing.
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