The active life of Bertram Dewey

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Dewey delivering mail in his Scout Master

One of the most interesting things about living in Granby is that there’s a good chance you or your neighbor lives in a home important to Granby’s history. This month, I’ll be discussing my neighbor’s historic home and its importance to our town.

The Dewey house was a Sears & Roebuck House built in 1936 by Bertram and Eva Dewey. Not only did they raise their children there and maintain a small farm, they also were incredibly involved and dedicated to their town and community.

Bertram Dewey was born in East Granby and later lived in Granby. He graduated from Simsbury High School in 1920. During his youth he was a standout athlete who loved playing baseball, skating on ponds and playing ice hockey with his friends. He would continue to play baseball in the Granby Athletic League as a catcher well into his thirties. He also would befriend Salmon Brook Country Club Golf Pro Dan Sutton, and took lessons to become an accomplished golfer. In June of 1929, he even made a hole-in-one at the Salmon Brook Country Club on the 120-yard 11th hole.

Two years after high school, Dewey became a Rural Free Delivery man, delivering mail to Granby, East Granby, Suffield and Westfield for the Post Office. His job as a mail carrier was essential because most citizens did not have radio or telephone and relied on their mail carrier for information. 

Delivering the mail during the winter and early spring was challenging. In the early years, Dewey would use a strong horse and buggy to deliver the mail to his customers. During the non-winter months, Dewey would drive his Model T to deliver the mail and after the war, he purchased a Scout Master and used that vehicle for the rest of his career. At that time, there were very few paved roads along Dewey’s mail route, and they were rarely plowed. In the spring, he had to deal with the snow melt and mud. The most difficult mail distribution came after the 1955 flood that completely washed out two bridges—his 51-mile route became 120 miles to get to every mailbox.

A year later, Dewey found a second job as grounds keeper at the Salmon Brook Country Club, which was built in 1923 by Dr. Ernest Pendleton. While working for Pendleton, Dewey met his wife, Eva. Born in Westfield, Eva had gone to Westfield State Teachers College and taught school for a year or two before she found a job at Pendleton’s hospital.

Bertram and Eva married in 1927 and within five years had three sons. They bought a Sears & Roebuck house through a catalog and settled on Hungary Road. They had enough acreage to have a small farm with cows, horses and chickens as well as a garden large enough to sustain the whole family.

When World War II began, Americans sacrificed and rationed goods such as gasoline to provide the troops with more supplies. With gas rationing, the Salmon Brook Country Club closed and Dewey decided to volunteer for the town. In 1942, he joined the Lost Acres Fire Department and served as an assistant fire warden for the next 25 years, as well as helping with air raid warnings. After the war, Dewey served on the Boys Scout Committee as well as a member of St. Mark’s 91st Masonic Lodge of Granby. 

In 1969, after 47 years of delivering mail, Dewey retired to spend his time on his farm and with his grandchildren. In 1977, at the age of 75, Dewey passed away. He lived a very busy and active life and gave to his community and town whenever he could. Next month, I will write about one of the archivists of Granby history, Dewey’s wife, Eva.

Want to learn more about historic neighbors in Granby? Become a member of the Salmon Brook Historical Society by visiting or calling 860-653-9713.

Dewey played baseball in the Granby Athletic League. Photos are courtesy of the Dewey Family collection