Volume 5, Number 4 - Summer 1974
Dear Mr. Postmaster:
"In 1890, my great-grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. 0. G. Jones, came from an eastern state and settled somewhere in your area. I find the postoffice of Brooksville is no longer in existence, so I am writing you since your office is located nearby, whether you....
Postmasters in the Ozarks continue to receive inquiries similar to the above, which, of course, is fiction. But the letters from those who have an interest in genealogy, family trees or simply a healthy curiosity as to where their forebears came from are not.
Until recent years, the postoffice department was a political plum, with appointment of postmasters the province of the party in power, or more generally, the province of a legislator. Earlier as the settlers moved westward the establishment of postoffices was regarded as one of the inherent rights of American citizenship, and the congressmen were only too glad to oblige.
Now, with the United States Postal Service concerned about efficiency in handling mail, each small postoffice is subject to periodic scrutiny as to whether the most effective service might be given by consolidation with a nearby office. As a result, many communities are concerned as to whether theirs might be the next one to be closed.
Such a situation existed this year at Hollister, when the USPS embarked on a survey to determine whether this resort community postoffice justified its existence. It was with some rejoicing late in April that Hollister received news that the postoffice would be continued. Mrs. Kenneth Bowman, a career employee, was appointed postmaster. At about the same time, Mrs. Sam Nash, long-time resident of Hollister was chosen to receive the Ozark Pathfinder award during the areas Plumb Nelly celebration. Mrs. Nash, until her retirement in 1968, had been Hollisters postmaster since 1934. Harold Coggburn served as acting postmaster until Mrs. Bowmans appointment.
A survey of 10 representative Ozark counties in Missouri and five in Arkansas in the Springfield trading area reveals that relatively few of the postoffices in existence in 1890 still serve their community. On the other hand numerous postoffices established since 1890 continue to operate. A comparison of existing present-day postoffices with those operating in 189; was made possible by reference to a contemporary "vanity" publication, "A Reminiscent History of the Ozark Region" first issued in 1894, by Goodspeed Publishers, Chicago, and reprinted by Ramfire Press, Cape Girardeau.
The Missouri counties compared include Christian, Howell, Douglas, Oregon, Ozark, Reynolds, Taney, Ripley, Shannon and Stone; those included from Arkansas were Baxter, Boone, Marion, Searcy and Stone.
In Christian county, nine of its postoffices date back to 1890 or earlier, while 13 established before that time have been closed. Offices operating in 1970 that opened after 1890 totalled fourBruner, Chestnutridge, Keltner and Old-field. Present-day postoffices surviving from 1890 days include Billings, Chadwick, Clever, Garrison, Highlandville, Nixa, Ozark, Sparta and Spokane. Those that fell by the way in the 80-year period included Aisle, Boaz, Cassidy, Eaudevie, Elkhead, Griffin, Hope, Kenton, Pembina, Reno, Riverdale, Selmore and Velsor.
In Howell county, a larger list of postoffices for 1890 was noted with 28 operating in 1890, eight of them still being used in 1970. Three postoffices established after 1890 but operating today include Caulfield, Hocono and Pomona. Amy, Bly, Burnham, Chapin, China, Christy, Cobalt, Cord, Cottbus, Cureall, Grimmet, Homeland, Hutton Valley, Lanton, Lebo, Mott, Olden, Siloam Springs, Sterling and White Church established in the 1890 period have passed out of the picture, but Brandsville, Moody, Mountain View, Peace Valley, Pottersville, South Fork (operating as a rural branch out of West Plains), West Plains, and Willow Springs still serve their individual communities.
Douglas county has suffered the greatest decline in the number of postoffices since 1890, but has one other distinctionno new postoffice established since is in current operation either. The list of 1890 postoffices is a long one but today only Ava, Drury, Squires and Van Zant survive. Those which lost out in the race since 1890 include Arden, Arno, Ascot, Beaver, Biggs, Bryant, Buckhart, Cold Springs, Dogwood, Falling Springs, Florilla, Girdner, Goodhope, Idumee, Johns Mills, Larissa, Little Beaver, Omba, Ot-
tamer, Phlegston, Red Bank, Richville, Rippee, Rome, Roy, Sedan, Silverton, Smallett, Topaz, Upshaw, Vera Cruz, Vida and Witty.
Oregon county has four survivorsAlton, Couch, Myrtle and Thayer, from the 1890s but two rural branch offices at Riverton and Lanton are new. Thomasville is served as a rural branch office, but was one of those operating in 1890. Those which have closed since 1890 include Attie, Bandyville, Billmore, Brawley, Garfield, Greer, Griswold, Jeff, Job, Many Springs, Mitch, Wilderness, and Woodside. Koshkonong, established after 1890, survives.
Development of postoffices since 1890 that are still operating is perhaps most apparent in Ozark county, with 11 established since. Brixey, Dugginsville, Elijah, Hammond, Hardenville, Nottinghill, Souder, Tecumseh, Wasola, Willhoit and Zanoni are now operating; and Long Run and Osie are being served out of Theodosia as rural branch offices. In 1890 these other postoffices were in operation but have closed since:
Almartha, Ambrose, Dillia, Dit, Eggleston, Fay, Grabeel, Igo, Lutie, Oak Mound, Prestonia, Romance, Sharp and Trail. Ten postoffices have continued for at least 80 years and included Dora, Gainesville, (which also serves Howards Ridge as a rural branch), Isabella, Noble, Pontiac, Rock-bridge, Sycamore, Theodosia, Thornfield and Udall.
Reynolds county had 18 postoffices operating in 1890 of which fourBlack, Centerville, Lesterville and Redford still operate with Corridon a rural branch office, served out of Centerville and Sweetwater, another rural branch, being served out of Ellington. The other postoffices in the county, closed after 1890, include Alamode, Bee Fork, Clones, Echo Hill, Exchange, Greeley, Humboldt, Logans Creek, McDoe, Munger, Oates, Tainter, Warrens Store, and West Fork.
Taney County has retained nine of its original 19 offices, one of which, Brown branch, is now a rural branch operating out of Ava. Bradleyville, Branson, Cedar Creek, Forsyth, Kirbyville, Kissee Mills, Protem, and Walnut Shade have continued throughout the eight decades. Nine new ones, since 1890also serve. Silver Dollar City is a rural branch office out of Branson, but Taneyville, Reuter, Hollister, McClurg, Point Lookout, Powersite, Ridgedale and Rockaway Beach in-something of the countys growth.
Ripley county had fewer postoffices in 1890 than most surrounding counties, and has only oneOxlystill operating that came into existence since that time. FiveDoniphan, Fair Dealing, Gatewood, Naylor, and Pine have continued unchanged since before 1890 but Poyner apparently changed its name to Poynor, and the old Briar Creek has become Briar. Those no longer in existence include Bennett, Dryden, Dry Springs, Fernook, Gamburg, Pleasant Grove, Ponder, Tucker and Varner.
Shannon county, in 1890 had Akers, Alley (now Alley Springs?), Bartlett, Cedar Grove, Gang, Ink, Lightfoot, Low Wossie, Monteer (now Montier?), Not, Oakside, Pulltight, Round Springs (now served as a rural branch office out of Eminence), Russell, Shawnee and Sinkin. The survivors from earlier than 1890 include Eminence, Birch Tree and Winona. Teresita is the only postoffice remaining that was established after 1890.
A list of Stone countys postoffices has narrowed somewhat, but fourHurley, Lampe, Reeds Spring and its rural branch office at Kimberling Cityestablished since 1890 supplement the five established on or before that date. Blue Eye, Cape Fair, Crane, Galena and Ponce de Leon were in service more than 80 years ago. The toll of postoffices closed since 1890 took Baxter, Bradfield, Carr, Curran, Marmaros, Norwalk, Oto, Radical, Redington, Robertsons Mill, Ruth, School and Self, out of the mail service.
The five counties in Arkansas included in this study showed somewhat more offices established since 1890 than their Missouri counterparts. Baxter county, for example, had nine offices that have survived since 1890 and only three of the 15 in operation 80 or more years ago. The three old-timers are Gassville, Henderson and Mountain Home. The newcomers were Clarkridge, Cotter, Gamaliel, Jordan, Lakeview, Midway, Norfork, Rodney and Old Jack. Postoffices no longer in existence include Alliance, Amos, Bennetts, Big Flat, Buford, Culp, Independence, Lone Rock, McPhearson, Pembina, Wake and Winnerva.
Boone county had a longer list than the others in 1890, but only four surviveHarrison, Lead Hill, which also now serves Diamond City as a rural branch, Omaha, and Valley Springs. New since 1890 are Alpena, Bergman, Everton, and Zinc. Out of the running after 1890 are Batavia, Bellefonte, Boone, Burlington, Dugger Mills, Elixir, Elmwood, Oregon, Francis, Gaither, Hill Top,
Lowry, Mallard, Myrtle, Pedlo, Pleasant Ridge, Rally Hill, Shaver, Sycamore and Watkins.
Marion county has only three postoffices surviving from among those established after 1890Bull Shoals, Pyatt and Summitt. Bruno, Flippin, Oakland, Peel and Yellville still operate with an 80-year-or-more record. The others in use in 1890 but no longer in existence include Buffalo City, Dodd City, Eros, Georges Creek, Hepsey, McBee Landing, Monarch, Onset, Powell, Rush, Stone and Sylvia.
Searcy county has four of its pre-1890 offices still in operationLeslie, Marshall, St. Joe and Wifts Springs. Marshall now serves Big Flat and Snowball as rural branch offices. Offices in operation after 1890 and at present include Cozahome, Gilbert, Harriet, Landis, Marsena and Pindall. Out of existence from among the 1890 list are Bear Creek, Blanco, Campbell, Debie, Duff, Fawn, Ivanhoe, Point Peter, Tomahawk and Watts.
Stone county has five offices created since 1890 that are still operatingAllison, Fox, Luber, Onia and Pleasant Grove. Those which began operation up to 1890 and which continue to serve are Alco, Hanover, Marcella, Mountain View, Rushing, and Timbo. Out of existence are Anvil, Livingstone, Optimus and Sylamore. St. James, in operation in 1890 is now a rural branch office out of Mountain View. Fifty-six and Newnata presently are also served as rural branch offices out of Mountain View.
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