I’ve written before about how a lot of San Diego County communities began with a general store and post office. Often, one person might run the operation for decades. A good example can be gathered by perusing notices in historic newspapers.
From the early 1900s until around 1940, election notices giving polling locations for the Miramar area would often list “Store of John W. Vasey,” or “room adjacent to the post office,” which was in the same building as the general store. If Vasey’s store wasn’t the location for a particular election, you can bet that his name would still appear as an election inspector in his district.
John Wycliff Vasey and his wife Elizabeth immigrated from England to San Diego County in 1884. After first living in the city they moved in 1889 to the then very-rural Miramar area.
John and Elizabeth opened a general store while also engaging in farming, livestock raising, and apiary. John Vasey would be Miramar’s postmaster from 1919 until 1940.
The Vaseys raised a large family and by 1914 they had erected several houses in addition to their own, forming the basis of a close-knit community. A book on Miramar history by a longtime resident noted that “For about seven years the central group of houses were called Vasey Ville,” and that “A Vasey connection was in every one of the houses off and on until 1950.”
There’s an illustration of that connection in a list of polling places in the San Diego Union of October 10, 1950. John and Elizabeth Vasey had each passed away a few years before, but the polling place, adjacent to the post office, included Louise M. Vassey as an election judge and Charlotte Vasey as one of two polling clerks.
Sources for this post included historic San Diego newspapers, the 1984 book, Miramar Before the Planes, by Ruby Peters and the National Archives and Records Administration’s database U.S. Appointments of Postmasters 1832-1971.
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