148 Veteran Postmistress MONDAY MORNING, Nov. 13, 1972 By Laura W. Mason Staff Reporter If you call the Yorktown Post Office more than likely the phone will be answered by a husky voice speaking in a whisper. The voice belongs to Cornelius Eugene Tate, a 25 year veteran of the U.S. Postal service in York County. But don't say "Sir." Cornelius is a lady.
Residents of York County, particularly the Grafton area know Mrs. Tate was a warm, friendly person always ready with a funny story. As one little boy said when asked if he knew Mrs. Tate. "Yea, she's the lady who lives at the post office!"
When asked about the unusual name, Mrs. Tate, born Cornelius Eugene Blackwell replied "Well, I was named after both my grandmothers. One was America Cornelius and the other was Josephine Eugene. I think I like the way it turned out."
Mrs. Tate began her career with the post office in 1946. She worked in the old Dare Post Office no longer in existence, which handled only fourth class mail. She was made postmaster of the Dare Post Office and in April of 1965 moved the office from Dare to Grafton Drive. Between 1965 and February, 1971, Mrs Tate moved the post office (no easy task) from Grafton Drive into Grafton Shopping Center and from the shopping center back across the road beside the volunteer fire station.
"When we were in the shopping center we were located next to the ABC store. Men would come in asking for five dollars worth of Paul Jones. I always told the I only had five dollars worth of George Washington," Mrs. Tate laughs.
Mrs Tate is presently branch superintendent at the Yorktown office but says she likes a small post office better than the larger ones"because you can connect the names with the faces. You get to know everyone in a small office," says Mrs. Tate. "Most people are very nice and very polite to you, especially in a small post office."
Enjoying life and people to the fullest, Mrs. Tate begins to laugh when asked about her experiences. " I wish I had kept a diary. I remember once when I was at the Dare branch, a lady told me she was expecting to receive an alligator through the mail I didn't know what size the thing would be so when the box came marked 'alligator' and it was open at one end, I took off." Blushing she admits
[photo] Her name is Cornelius Eugene Tate - but don't call her "sir." She's been with the York County postal service 25 years.