Foundation Achievement Awards
Class Contact & Info
Make a Contribution
Upcoming Events
eNotice Archives
Foundation Message Center
Photo Center
Class Reunions
 Foundation Scholarships
 Surrattsville H.S.

 Foundation  •  Join the E-mail List  •  Memory Fund  •  Search  •  Home

Why Clinton?

From the Surratt Society Newsletter of 1979, contributed by the Surratt House and Museum Executive Director, Laurie Verge

Many inquiries have been made to our docents as to why and when the post office changed the name from Surrattsville to Clinton.  An early practice was to name the post office after the postmaster.  Accordingly, Surrattsville was born in 1854 when John H. Surratt became the postmaster.  After his death in August of 1862, his youngest son, John H., Jr., became the postmaster on September 1, 1862.  He held the position until November 17, 1863 when he was removed by the federal department – probably because his reputation as an enemy courier began to catch up with him.  Surratt was followed by Andrew V. Robey who maintained the mails at the tavern until May 3, 1865 when the location was moved down Piscataway Road and re-named Robeystown.  It remained such until October 18, 1878 when the name was changed to Clinton.  The origin of that name is unknown; but one "educated guess" has been that a relative of DeWitt Clinton, governor of New York, was Postmaster General at that time and decided to "honor" DeWitt.  In 1906, the second high school in the county was built and named Surrattsville, a name which still stands.  It is interesting to speculate on why the Board of Education preferred the original name.  An elementary school and junior high school also bear the name Surrattsville as do many businesses in the area.  History is hard to change.