Nov. 20, 2017
Stories and Tales of Our Town
Compiled By Roger Breeze
Robert Harrison Donovan
Local Postmaster, Turkey Farmer
Dec. 16, 1911, to March 10, 1993
At the corner of Sampson and Green roads a turkey farm once existed. Many of the local people purchased their Thanksgiving main dish at this farm from the owner, Bob Donovan, who later became the Bolton postmaster.
Paul Smith tells of his family driving to pick up their turkey and seeing the turkeys in the small building built in the back and to the right of the driveway. The Smiths’ Thanksgiving dinner was fresh and grown right here in Bolton. In addition to the turkeys he raised, Donovan grew many vegetables, which were sold at the Marrs’ produce stand at 698 Main St.
Bob was the only son of Henry and Isabelle Donovan of Somerville, where his father worked for the telephone company. During World War II, Bob served in the Army Signal Corps as a skilled mechanic. Soon after he returned from the war, Bob married Irene Hamel, who had worked with his mother as a social worker in Boston.
In the fall of 1946, Bob and Irene purchased their house and farm at 119 Sampson Rd. with its almost-41 acres of land. They lived there until 1968, when they decided the drafts, old windows and the many steps in the old 1830s house were just too much. They built a convenient ranch house next door, just up the hill.
During their time here, the Donovans sold off many pieces of the land on both Sampson Road and Green Road for new homes. While Bob was busy with the farm, Irene taught dance classes to many of the young people in the Town Hall’s upstairs meeting room.
When the new Bolton Post Office was opened in 1964 at 737 Main St. and it was also time for a new Postmaster, Bob Donovan, replaced Sue Rhodes. Bob always greeted folks with a big smile when they entered the post office.
Bob and Irene left Bolton in 1974 and moved to Ormond Beach, Fla. They joined the Halifax River Yacht Club and the Daytona Beach Outboard Club. The couple also had an interest in antiques and were members of the American Bell Association and the Heisey Club of American (antique glass containers). Irene died in 1981 and Bob later married Angeline Morrison, another Ormond Beach resident.
Along with both his parents and his first wife, Irene, Bob is buried in West Cemetery, just a few hundred feet from their longtime home.
With thanks to Tom Murtha, Helene Schott, Ruth Brown and Paul Smith for sharing their memories of Bob, and to the Bolton Common for the obituary.