Coaldale Postmasters

1872 - 2005

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Captain William Winlack, Company E

Coaldale's Postmaster


March 14, 1898 > March 26, 1906

Nineteen men served as Postmaster

in Coaldale from 1872 to 2005.

List of Postmasters / "Acting Postmasters / Officers-In-Charge

1st : Charles F. Goslee June 18, 1872
2nd: David E. Hughes March 24, 1873
3rd : Edward McElroy May 4, 1886
4th: Thomas Bradbury Nov. 18, 1889
5th: Edward McElroy (re-app't) Dec. 23, 1893
6th: WILLIAM WINLACK March 14, 1898 > March 26, 1906
7th: Frank Barret March 27, 1906
8th: Edward Cavanugh July 25, 1916
9th: Daniel Jones June 30 1922
10th: James M. Donahue (Acting) Feb 11, 1935
11th: James M. Donahue May 9, 1936
12th: Mark A Gallagher (Acting) Dec. 31, 1937
13th: Vincent R. Gildea July 20, 1938
14th: James M. Donahue (Acting) Sept. 30, 1939
15th: James M. Donahue June 25, 1940
16th: Daniel J. Gildea (Acting) Dec. 1, 1961
17th: Daniel J. Gildea April 25, 1963
18th: John F. Knipper (Acting) Aug, 31, 1968
19th: John F. Knipper Jan 9, 1971
20th: Frank J. Shamonsky (O-I-C) Dec, 29, 1980 ( Returned to his regular position as Tamaqua Supervisor )
21St: Harold S. Rohde (O-I-C) May 16, 1981 ( Returned to his regular position, Weatherly Postmaster )
22nd: Bernard Heller Sept 9, 1981
23rd: Edmund Stich (O-I-C) Nov, 16, 1990 ( Returned to his regular position, Barnesville Postmaster )
24th: Mike Tyler (O-I-C) July 7, 1991 ( Returned to his regular position, Quakake Postmaster )
25th : John R. Poko Sept, 18, 1991 Served until March 31, 2005 Final "Officially Appointed Postmaster, Coaldale Pa 18218"


April 1, 2005 Coaldale Office becomes a "Branch" of Lansford. Still retains own listing as Coaldale Pa 18218. The Coaldale "Postmaster" position has been abolished and Coaldale is now an "Administrative Branch" of Lansford. The carriers work out of the Lansford Post Office building, however, there is still a clerk to provide customer window and post office box service in the Coaldale building. This is still in effect in 2011.


Edward McElroy served two separate terms: May 4, 1886 to Nov 18, 1889 and Dec 23, 1893 to March 14, 1898.

James M. Donahue served two separate terms: Feb 11, 1935 to May 9, 1936 and Sept 30, 1939 to Dec 1, 1961

Daniel J. Gildea served as "Acting Postmaster" Dec. 1, 1961, to Apr 25, 1963, then was appointed "Postmaster" Apr 25, 1963 to Aug 31, 1968

John F. Knipper served as "Acting Postmaster" Aug 31, 1968, to Jan 09, 1971, then was appointed "Postmaster" Jan 9, 1971 to Dec. 29, 1980

James Donahue was replaced by Daniel J. Gildea. Danny was "Acting Postmaster" December 1, 1961 and appointed Postmaster April 25, 1963. John Knipper replaced Danny Gildea on August 31, 1968 and retired December 29, 1980. Bernard Heller replaced Knipper and transferred into the Nesquehoning Postmaster position. John R. Poko was appointed Postmaster Sept 18, 1991 and retired March 31, 2005.

Winlack was discharged from the army on August 21, 1864, his three year term of service coming to an end. He settled in Coaldale, Pennsylvania, after the war and served as postmaster for a number of years. He died on June 6,

1907, in Coaldale, at 80 years of age."

Submitted by William Gaddes

Postmaster Appointed In Coaldale (1991)
October 10, 1991|The Morning Call
John R. Poko has been appointed postmaster of Coaldale. He assumed the job Sept. 7.

Raymond L. Monroe, general postmaster of the Harrisburg Field Division, approved the appointment.

Poko, a Coaldale native, joined the Postal Service in 1973 as a part-time clerk-carrier in the Coaldale Post Office.

Poko and his wife, Mary, have two children and live in Summit Hill.

As postmaster, Poko will be responsible for overseeing the Coaldale Post Office and six employees. Coaldale has an annual volume of 1,585,155 pieces of mail and two city carrier routes. The Coaldale Post Office falls within the management jurisdiction of the Lehigh Valley office.

Coaldale residents asked to urge U.S. Post Office to remain open (2012)
Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The U.S. Post office plans to slash in half the daily hours the post office in Coaldale is open, from eight to four. On Tuesday, one borough councilman shared a letter he received from the Association of United States Postal Lessors, a group of people who lease buildings to the Postal Service, asking borough residents to let the U.S. Post Office know they want to keep their local post office open, even if it means reduced hours.

Councilman Joe Hnat told council about the letter, which refers to the U.S. Post office's POStplan, a strategy to cut hours at 13,000 post offices nationwide to as little as two hours a day, or close them completely.

"Clearly, a fully functional post office, open eight hours a day, six days a week, is vital to every small town and rural community in the United States," the letter said.

"Moreover, rural communities like yours are often at an economic disadvantage when it comes to government services. The post office is often the only governmental agency in town. It is well known that many seniors depend on postmasters to assist them with bill paying, mailing packages and purchasing money orders," the letter said.

It goes on to say that the "Postal Service has profiled your post office as unprofitable, even though it is prohibited by federal law from discontinuing a post office for financial reasons.”

The letter asks people to check the Option for Reduced Hours in the USPS Customer Survey. The surveys will be mailed to USPS customers and will be made available at post offices over the next two years. Public meetings will also be scheduled.

The letter also invited people to visit to learn more about the issues.

In Pennsylvania, 204, or 12 percent, of the state's 1,730 post offices are scheduled to be closed. They include the ones in Parryville, Mary D, and Pocono Manor.

PROFILE: Captain William Winlack, Company E

Born on September 9, 1826, in Londonberry, Ireland, William Winlack received very little formal education as a child, but was instead put to work at a young age on his family's farm. Seeking a better life for himself, Winlack, at age sixteen, set sail for America, arriving in New York City on August 30, 1843. He migrated to Schuylkill County, Pennsylvania, a short time later and was hired as a coal miner at the Black Heath mines. He paid close attention to mining operations and in time became an engineer, in charge of machinery at the mine. In 1854, and at just 28 years of age, Winlack became the superintendent of a colliery in Silver Creek, half-way between Pottsville and Tamaqua. While serving in this position, Winlack also formed a local militia unit, which he dubbed the Wynkoop Artillery. Serving as a lieutenant in this company was his good friend and coworker William Cullen.

When the Civil War broke out in April 1861, Winlack and Cullen were quick to offer the service of their company, which became part of the three-month 16th Pennsylvania Infantry. Upon the expiration of its three-month term of service, the Wynkoop Artillery re-enlisted, almost to a man, to serve for a three-year term, and was mustered once again into service, this time as Company E, 48th Pennsylvania Infantry.

Winlack commanded Company E for the next three years, seeing action in all of the regiment's battles during that time, including 2nd Bull Run, South Mountain, Antietam, Fredericksburg, the Wilderness, and Spotsylvania.

At Antietam on September 17, 1862, Winlack was leading his men forward when a Confederate artillery shell smashed through the ranks of Company E. Oliver Bosbyshell of Company G well remembered the effects of this one shot in his regimental history: "With a bang and a splutter along came that destructive old shell, which filled [Jacob] Douty's eyes with dirt, and bruised his shoulder, tore off Sergeant Seward's leg and left Sergeant Trainer minus one arm, as it drove the ramrod he was just replacing into poor Cullen's breast. Cullen jumped to his feet, tore open his shirt to show his captain the wound, and then dropped dead at Winlack's feet."

During the siege of Petersburg in mid-July 1864, as the 48th tunneled under the Confederate lines, Colonel Henry Plesants was fearful that Confederate troops had gotten word of their operation and were engaging in counter-mining, trying to locate the 48th's tunnel. Thus, late on the night of July 17, with the main gallery completed at some 511 feet, Pleasants awoke Captain Winlack, himself a mining man, and with another soldier, the three crawled the length of the mine. "Lying down with every sense alert, in perfect darkness, and supreme quiet for a period of thirty minutes, until a low whistle, the intended signal, came from Pleasants, brought them together. . ." Pleasants whispered in Winlack's ear: "What do you think about any counterboring?" Winlack whispered back: "The rebels know no more of the tunnel being under them than the inhabitants of Africa." "That's just what I believe," answered Pleasants, and the three men crawled their way back out. Of course, some Confederates were aware of the tunnel, including General E.P. Alexander, who did indeed order a number of counter-mines dug. All of them, however, were too high to discover the 48th's mine.

Winlack was discharged from the army on August 21, 1864, his three year term of service coming to an end. He settled in Coaldale, Pennsylvania, after the war and served as postmaster for a number of years. He died on June 6, 1907, in Coaldale, at 80 years

of age.

Submitted: William Gaddes