Volume 34, Number 3, Winter 1995
Editors note: The following story originally appeared in "The Ozarks Wastebasket," Springfield Leader and Press, April 10, 1951.
Following is a letter which I received from my half brother, Jess Stults, now teaching at Reeds Spring. I wrote him for some information regarding the Garber Post Office which I know will be greatly appreciated by many of the WB readers, especially by our good friend Fred Williams of Taneyville, as he has mentioned the Garber family, also the Garber post office.
The Garber family, like many other families, has moved away and scattered out. A few have passed on. Only one daughter of the Garber family remains near the old Garber place, Millie Cox, which you will see from the attached letter.
My father, Ben Stults, married Hettie Hines, who before her first marriage was Hettie Garber and who also was Jess Stults mother. She passed away about one year ago. Also, my older brother Charley married the youngest Garber girl, Agnes, who is also now dead.
Mr. Garber was a man of true faith who would ride horseback miles to preach the word of God. He was a pioneer who did much to build up the community for which we give him much credit.
G. W. Stults, Nixa, Mo.
I was able to get more information with regard to the Garber post office last Sunday while visiting Uncle Newt and Aunt Millie Cox who live on Roark Creek near where the original post office was established.
As you know, Aunt Millie and my mother were sisters and daughters of Joel Garber, the first postmaster. In your letter you asked that I give you something with regard to the early life of Garbers first postmaster.
Grandfather Garber was born in the mountain section of east Tennessee in 1831. He was still in his teens when he came with his uncle down the Tennessee River to the Ohio and the Mississippi on a flat boat. There was a mass migration west at that time, following stories which drifted back to Tennessee of the rich agricultural land along the Mississippi River which could be homesteaded. The uncle hired the flat boat and pulled up the Mississippi and [then up] the Missouri rivers to a point near Lexington, Missouri, where he traded the boat for an ox team and wagon. My grandfather continued to work for his uncle as a farm hand.
Joel Garber was married to Martha McGee and lived several years near Richmond, Mo. They had a family of three children when the war came on and he was called to the army. Not many years after the war was over the family moved to Jasper County where they lived near Minersville or the present town of Oronogo. About 1890 the Garber family moved to Stone County and lived on Railey Creek. Two years later they moved to Roark Creek in Taney County. Grandfather was a preacher and a public speaker and soon became one of the leaders in this new community.
There was quite a settlement of families on Roark Creek at that time. They had the necessities of life but the mail service was very poor. The nearest post office was about eight miles away and was located near Yocum Pond which is west of the present town of Reeds
Spring. The mail was carried twice a week by stage from Marionville to Galena and then by a rider to points south. Each neighbor who lived on Roark would take his turn going to the P.O. at Yocum Pond for the mail.
Mr. Garber applied for a post office to be established in the Roark community, but found that before it could be authorized, accurate tabulation of all mail entering or leaving the settlement had to be made for a period of two years. During that time the mail had to be carried free of charge.
The post office was allowed at the end of two years and was given the name "Garber." The mail route was let for contract. N. P. Cox took the contract to carry the mail twice a week for four years at $12.00 per month. This was the year 1896. Toward the end of the contract Notch post office was established with "Uncle Ike" Morrill as postmaster and the mail was carried from that point.
The Garber family moved to Colorado in the spring of 1904. After they left, a man by the name of Frank Denhams was postmaster for a short time. J. K Ross, "Old Matt" of the Shepherd of the Hills story then became the next postmaster. He moved the post office about a mile and a half north to its present location, where at that time, the new railroad was under construction. Mr. Ross was postmaster at Garber about 20 years. Since the death of Mr. Ross the postmasters have been [Ada] Clodfelter, Cole, LaCompte and Walden. The present p.m. is Mrs. Tommy Walden.
I have now in my home grandfathers huge solid walnut combination desk and cabinet with its massive hinges and hasp which over a half-century ago guarded the U.S. mail at the original Garber post office.
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