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Springfield, Missouri, on the west side of the Jefferson Avenue,
some 100 feet north of Walnut Street, a marker has been erected
to commemorate the establishment of the city's first Federal Post
Office. The text of the marker reads as follows:
"UNIVERSITY CLUB HISTORICAL MARKER #19
ERECTED JANUARY 3, 1934
NEAR THIS SPOT WAS LOCATED THE FIRST POST OFFICE IN SPRINGFIELD,
IN A ONE ROOM, HEWN LOG CABIN, OCCUPIED BY JOHN POLK CAMPBELL
WHO WAS APPOINTED ON JANUARY 3, 1834. MAIL WAS BROUGHT ON HORSEBACK
TWICE A MONTH FROM HARRION'S STORE ON THE PINEY NEAR THE PRESENT
TOWN OF ARLINGTON".
THE FOLLOWING POSTMASTERS HAVE SERVED SPRINGFIELD.
|CAMPBELL, JOHN POLK
|| JANUARY 3, 1834
|CAMPBELL, JUNIUS T.
|| JANUARY 20, 1836
|| FEBRUARY 16, 1841
|FARMER, WILLIAM B
|| JUNE 16, 1841
|MCELHANEY, ROBT. J.
||OCTOBER 24, 1845
|| MARCH 22, 1849
|FARMER, WILLIAM B.
|| SEPTEMBER 8, 1849
|HOLLAND, COLBY B.
|| AUGUST 26, 1852
|INGRAM, ARCHIBALD F.
|| JUNE 11, 1853
|| AUGUST 15, 1854
|BEAL, JOSEPH A
|| MAY 6, 1855
|| JUNE 7, 1855
|| SEPTEMBER 25, 1855
||MARCH 19, 1861
|WINGER, JACOB B
|| MARCH 8, 1864
|| AUGUST 23, 1866
|STEPHENS, PERMILLA C.
||APRIL 11, 1867
|SHIPLEY, EDWARD R.
|| MAY 8, 1877
|PIPKIN, WM. H.
|| NOVEMBER 17, 1885
|| FEBRUARY 11, 1890
|LOVE, THOMAS C
|| FEBRUARY 21, 1894
|| MARCH 8, 1898
|ROSS, JESSE B.
AUGUST 4, 1902
|MCJIMSEY, E. E. E.
|| APRIL 11, 1910
|| MARCH 19, 1914
|HENDRICKSON, GEORGE W.
|| AUGUST 24, 1921
|GREENWADE, C. W.
|| AUGUST 18, 1934
This would seem to be an accurate record, requiring no further
comment, but such is not the case. John Polk Campbell, according
to all creditable evidence, was not the first postmaster. There
is, however, the possibility that he served as postmaster
until one could be appointed and confirmed. The evidence indicates
that John's brother, Junius T. Campbell, was actually the first
postmaster and that the information on the marker is in error. In
any event, the remaining data on the marker are accurate, and many
of the listed names are those of Springfield's most illustrious
With regard to Junius Campbell, it seems that many "first" in the
history of Springfield must be credited to this pioneer rather than
to his brother, John Polk Campbell. In the History
of Greene County, published by Perkins and Horne in 1883,
there is a significant statement, as follows:
"Junius T. Campbell arrived in Springfield in the month of October,
1831. He was the first justice of the peace elected by the people
and was chosen to that office in 1832. He was also the first postmaster
at Springfield. Before the establishment of the office the nearest
post office was at Little Piney, now in Crawford County, one hundred
and ten miles distant from Springfield. In those days the rates
of postage differed from those now in vogue. Prior to the act of
1845 the postage upon a letter composed of a single sheet was as
follows: If conveyed 30 miles or less, 6 cents; between 30 and 80
miles, 10 cents; between 80 and 150 miles, 12 1/2 cents; between
150 and 400 miles, 18 3/4 cents; over 400 miles, 25 cents. By the
act of 1845 the postage on a letter conveyed for any distance was
fixed at 5 cents, and for any greater distance at 10 cents. By the
act of 1851, it was provided that a single letter if prepaid should
be carried any distance not exceeding 3,000 miles for 3 cents, and
any greater distance for 6 cents".
M. J. Hubble's Personal
Reminiscences and Fragments of the Early History of Springfield
and Greene County contains a collection of accounts of early
life in and around Springfield. In his testimony, the Honorable
L. H. Murray mentions John P. Campbell as one of the leading early
settlers, but not as postmaster. After naming a number of prominent
citizens of early Springfield, Junius T. Campbell was cited as the
first postmaster. A more recent publication was edited by Kenneth
M. Shuck; it is a Springfield history intended for a young audience,
but it contains information presented in a lucid manner. In one
place it states: "Two of John P. Campbell's brothers, Junius T.
and William, were among the early settlers. Junius arrived in October
1831. He was the first Justice of the Peace, elected in 1832. He
was also the first storekeeper and postmaster. The post office was
placed here in the latter part of 1834".
Thus the Campbell men (another member was Ezekiel Madison Campbell)
were noteworthy in the early days of Springfield and Greene County,
and indeed of Bolivar and Polk County as well; however, it does
seem quite clear that Junius T. was the first postmaster of our
—Prepared by Jesse Wade
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