Terryville residents now get their mail service from the Port Jefferson Station post office, but they used to go to their own little outpost at the home of the postmaster.
The Port Jefferson Village historical archive puts the operation dates of the Terryville Post Office as 1888 to 1918 and from 1924 to 1958. That first stretch of years coincided with a time when the eponymous Terry family was flourishing in the area.
The four Terry brothers moved in from Farmingville to farm around Old Town Road, Jayne Boulevard and the street that would later become Terryville Road, and built homes in what was once a wooded area, according to George Moraitis.
Members of the Terry family are buried at Cedar Hill Cemetery, and the late Moraitis, formerly the cemetery’s historian, included biographical information on them in his written history “Forevermore on Cedar Hill.” Moraitis noted that the third-born brother, Thomas R. Terry, helped start a local school district in 1874 and served as its first board president before offering his home on Terryville Road — by Viceroy Place, near what is now Comsewogue’s Terryville Road Elementary School — to serve as a post office. His cousin’s son, Preston Terry, was the first postmaster.
The Terryville Union Hall had been erected just a year before, in 1887.
Though the post office had that brief stint between 1918 and 1924 when it was not in operation, it stayed in the family when it reopened. According to Moraitis, Ruth Terry, the daughter-in-law of Thomas R. Terry through son Harry, was its final postmaster. She was once a teacher in the school system her father-in-law had started decades earlier and had grown up in one of the original homes on Terryville Road’s southern end.
Harry and Ruth Terry, who also served as Comsewogue School District treasurers, hosted the post office from the early 1950s until 1957, when it merged with the one in Port Jefferson Station.
According to a history of the area included in Brookhaven Town’s 2008 Comsewogue hamlet study, the couple’s residence was on the southeast corner of Terryville Road and Whitman Avenue, which would put it across the street from the post office’s original home, at Thomas R. Terry’s house.
The study history quotes neighbor Audrey Agnew, who describes someone named Mr. Jersey who lived up the street and would “transport Terryville’s mail from [the] Port Jefferson train station to Ms. Terry.”
“When the post office was eliminated, we were promised that we could keep ‘Terryville’ as our address,” Agnew said.