Haskell County, 100 Years Beneath The Plow

Postmark Haskell County
Edited by Janice Lee McClure. 1988

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Haskell County's postal facilities now include two post offices having three motorized rural routes and two exclusive buildings from which mail is routed to rural homes and stores.

Early post offices in Haskell County, which was a part of Finney County until 1886, were mostly established in the homes of the postmasters. The mail was brought to them from the nearest railroad station by horse and buggy. Mail came once, twice or three times a week to the various offices. There are no definite records and some are probably in error.

Automobiles were used for mail delivery after they became available, and sometimes the carriers were stages for passengers as well as mail. Today the only post offices in the county are at Sublette and Satanta. They are serviced by a carrier from Dodge City.

Early postal rates were 2 cents for letters and 1 cent for postal cards.

The following rural post offices are listed in the order of their establishment:

The first post office established in Haskell County was in the town of Ivanhoe in the north central part of the county in August 1885. At that time Ivanhoe was in Finney County. Christian A. Nafziger was the first postmaster. Mail was brought to Ivanhoe two or three times each week by horse and buggy stage from Garden City, about 23 miles to the north. Postmasters to follow Mr. Nafziger, who served until December 1888, were: Wm. J. Stultz (December 1888-May 1889), Floyd Gray (February 1891), Rush E. Blair (to 1893), Christian A. Nafziger (to 1896), Sarah E. Pace (to November 20, 1905). Thereafter the mail was dispatched to Santa Fe.

The post offices were usually located in the homes of the postmasters. The last post office was in the home of Mrs. Pace in a sod house that stood for many years as a landmark of Ivanhoe long after the rest of the town was gone. Ivanhoe had been a thriving little town with a school and a brick kiln. Mrs. Everett (Maude Lindeman) Preedy remembers the brick pieces and dust in the streets when she, with her family, moved there in 1905.

Araphoe was the second post office established in what was later Haskell County in August 1885. It was closed in June 1886, possibly before Haskell County was officially established.

Loco was established in December 1885in the center of the southern border of the county. Esaias Snavely was the first postmaster and served until April 1887. Mrs. Melissa L. White served until September 1887, followed by Miss Anna S. McMahan who took over until September 1888 when Martha E. R. White became postmistress. She moved the post office one mile north in September and served until August 1890 when the mail was dispatched to Santa Fe.

Stowe was a post office established in February1886 in Finney County, the part that later became Haskell. It was re-established in March 1887 in what is now Gray County, and then in Haskell County in March 1888, with Cornelia Bradley as postmistress. The office was in her home until March 1888. Rufus C. Dufur took over as postmaster until September 1888 when its name was changed to Lockport.

Lockport was established in August 1887and was closed in October of the same year. Daniel D. Baster was the postmaster.

On March 17, 1886, Taw became the next post office. Samuel Watts was its first postmaster with the office in his residence. He served until December 1887. There was a small townsite at that location with a general store, a cream station and a deep, hand-dug well with a windmill. Kelley McClure remembers as a young boy riding his horse there from his home and seeing the well and the remains of the buildings. Mrs. Raymond (Cathryn Ward) Murphy also remembers her family, the W. W. Ward, would drive from their home in southeast Haskell to Taw to get their mail that came every other day.

Other Taw postmasters were Asa Primm, who had the office from December 1887 until September 1888. Cryus J. McCord followed Mr. Primm from September 1888 until April 1894. William G. Wagner took the office until March 1902. Albert T. Edwards became postmaster and held the office until January 1905. Elzer Ratcliff became postmaster and kept the office until it was discontinued and the mail was sent to Folsom on January 9, 1911. That order was rescinded January 26, 1911, and returned to Taw January 31, 1911, when Mrs. Maggie Trahern became postmistress until the office was discontinued in March 1913 and the mail was again dispatched to Folsom.

Example was established in June 1886 in what was then Finney County with John H. Allen postmaster. It was re-established in what is now Haskell County in March 1887. Mr. Allen was postmaster until September 1888 when George T. Glover was appointed and served until mail was dispatched to Pierceville in Finney County in September 1890. Example was re-established in June 1902 with Paul Hill as postmaster. He held the office until June 1906, followed by Susan M. Cottrell who had the office in her home until December 1913 when the mail was dispatched to Jean, another office. Mrs. Cottrell's daughter, Hazel Dee, writes that she remembers that her patents moved to Haskell County in 1906 and homesteaded about 20 miles northeast of Santa Fee. They made a dugout, where they lived, and partitioned one corner for the post office.

Mrs. Dee also remembers her mother's pas was the cancelled stamps. She wrote that Lou Stansifer was the mail carrier and lived three or four miles from the Cottrell home. She made the 40-mile trip to Santa Fe for the mail in her horse and buggy once a week. Mrs. Dee (Hazel Cottrell) rode with Miss Stansifer to Santa Fe in the summer months to take organ lessons from Mabel Bethel. She wrote later, after Example was closed, that a mail route was established in that area and the mail was delivered two or three times a week.

Santa Fe became the seventh post office established June 16, 1886, in what was then Finney County, soon to become Haskell County. James H. Grayson was the first postmaster and served only from June 1886 to November 1886 when Mark Highfill took the office and served until September 1887. Morgan Funkhouser became the next postmaster and served until November 1887. Mr. Highfill again took over and served until May 1889.

William V. Marshall was the following postmaster and he held the office until February 1891 when Andrew P. Heminger was appointed and served until April 1893. Elijah M. McMahan took the office until November 1896 when DeEtta Robertson was named and served until June 1897.

John J. Miller, publisher of The Santa Fe Monitor, was appointerd postmaster and served until November 1901. His daughter, Helen Wells, recalled living in the building where the post office, printing plant, a small grocery store and a lawyer's office was housed.

Joseph T. Miller took the office and served until August 1913. George A. Tyler was appointed and served until July 1915. Katie Cummins filed in from July to September 1915. While she was acting postmistress she was directed from the U. S. Treasury Department to pay James T. Pearce, former postmaster, the sum of 74 cents.

Ralph Wallace served as postmaster until December 1915. Ethyl H. Beymer was the postmistress until March 1819. The last postmistress was Agnes E. Lindeman, who served from March 1918 to July 31, 1925, when the mail was dispatched to Sublette and the Santa Fe office was closed.

The post office of Colusa was established in January 1887 with Virgil M. Guthrie as postmaster in the Guthrie home. William Ford followed Guthrie as postmaster in December 1887 and held office until May 1889 when Daniel P. Raglin was named. In January 1890 the mail was dispatched to Lockport but the post office at Colusa was re-established in May 1890 with John F. Josserand appointed. Mail came three days a week. In January 1894 the post office was moved one mile northwest while Mr Josserand was postmaster and had the office in his home.

George L. Clemente became the postmaster in March 1892. He was followed by Mary E. Moore in December 1897 and served until May 1895. The mail was dispatched to Pierceville. Mrs. Moore was the mother of Alta Weidner. She recalls that the mail was delivered by horse and buggy from Ingalls, which was on the railroad north. The carrier ate lunch at the Moore home. Mrs. Moore received her salary from the sale of 1-cent and 2-cent stamps, and registered letters.

Colusa had a town hall built by the men of the community. School was held in the town hall until the schoolhouse was built. There was a store and a cemetery built by John Swartz, the father of the late Mrs. Frank (Etta) McCoy and the grandfather of the late Mrs. Wallace (Ethel) Orth.

An uncle of Mrs. Weidner, John Negaeseas, moved from Ivanhoe, where he had a store, to Colusa and built the schoolhouse.

Clift was established in January 1887 in the west part of what is now Haskell County but originally Finney County. The first postmaster was Charles F. LaFleur. In September 1887 the name was changed to Conductor and it was moved three-quarters of a mile into Grant County to the west.

The office was re-established in September 1888 and Rufus C. Dunfur was appointed postmaster. He served until April 1889 when Miss Annie E. alexander was appointed. She served until September 1894. Mrs. Truman (Sarah E.) Alexander was appointed and served until November 1904 when the office was discontinued and the mail dispatched. to Colusa.

The next and twelfth post office in Haskell County was Oliver established in May 1888. John S. Oliver was the postmaster. In January 1893 the papers passed to Warrendale in Grant County, but the office was re-established in October 1902 with Irene Heminger appointed postmistress. In April 1903 the office was discontinued and the papers were assigned to Santa Fe and the office closed.

Toluca was established in January 1900 in the western part of the county with Stephen A. Davis as postmaster. He served until June 1904. The post office was in his residence, as most were. Elda W. Pursell took office as postmistress in June and the order was rescinded in September 1904. Stephen A. Davis was reappointed postmaster. He served until May 1905 when John M. Davis was appointed and moved the office to his residence. He served until April 1910 when Lillie B. Smith was appointed and moved the office to her home. She served until December 1913 when the office was discontinued and the mail was sent to Satanta.

Spurgheim (better known as "Spud") Derby was appointed postmaster of the Jean post office, named for one of his daughters. He served from May 1901 with the office in his home until April 1915. He served with no salary. Lou Stansifer carried the mail to Jean from Santa Fe.

Mollie C. Derby was appointed and served until July 1925 when the office was closed and the mail dispatched to Sublette.

A letter dated July 12, 1919, to the postal service and written by Mr. Derby reads: "Dear Sir: I am sending to you 6 bundles of 3-cent envelopes. Please send 2-cent ones in their place. I would like a couple bunches of large ones, the balance No. 5. Yours truly, S. Derby." He received pay from the sale of 1-cent and 2-cent stamps.

Harwood was the last post office established in Haskell County in February 1904 with James H. Burr as postmaster. It operated until April 1914. The post office was part of a small grocery store. There was a feed store and a big barn to house the horses driven by the mail carrier. The horses were left there in exchange for fresh ones. A windmill furnished water for the horses, the Burr residence and livestock. All the buildings have since been torn down.

Thanks to the Haskell County Historical Society for allowing the use of excerpts from Haskell County, 100 Years Beneath The Plow

The Haskell County Historical Society was established in 1981. There are a limited number of books available from the society. If you are interested in a copy, please contact the Haskell County Historical Society. Mailing Address:

Haskell County Historical Society
P. O. Box 101
Sublette, KS 67877
Phone number: (316)-675-8344

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