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Early Postal Service History Column David Petersen

This is part 2 of the article about early postal service in Mason County. The information was compiled by a number of sources by an unknown author and presented in the original text.

Mr. George Clark served as Postmaster for a short time, and then came N. G. Sayles, who brought the office to his store about where the north part of the A. Schoenberger store now stands. From 1896 to 1912, J.C. Mustard was Postmaster, and the office was moved from the Sayles building a few doors north to where the Briggs hardware now stands, and at Mr. Mustard's deaths Fred Fairbanks served from April to November, 1912. Mr. Fairbanks and Mr. Jones were also among the first school masters in this section.

In November, 1912, Mr. J. Jay Cox was appointed postmaster and about that time the office was moved farther north to what was known as the Goodenough building, which stood where the south half of John Biegalle's store is now located. That building had formerly housed a double department stores owned by Olney, Aubrey & Mustard, was later sold to William H. Robinson, and was the location of one of the first automobile agencies of the county. Mr. Cox continued in office until 1921, when he was replaced by Hattie B. Baltzeer. Miss Baltzer began her career in April, 1905 as assistant to Mr. Mustard, continued on under Mr. Cox until 1921, when she vas appointed as heads a position she held through 1934, with Bessie Anderson as her assistant.

In June, 1936, change of administration in Washington gave Mr. Cox his former position as Postmaster where he continued until 1942, when W. J. Cook succeeded him until September 30, 1943. October 1, 1943, J. Ralph Reads, the present Postmaster, was appointed. Miss Baltzer continued on in the Federal service until June 30, 1948 when she retired.

On January 1, 1940 the office was moved to a new building at 131 S. Main St., built by George Mack, where it remained until September 30, 1959, when the now building at the corner of first and Main Streets was opened for business. The new building was built by the Robert Nelson Construction Co. The first rural delivery was begun in 1901, and grew until there were four routes going out of Scottville. The delivery rigs were horse drawn square box wagons with wheels in summer and bob sleighs in the winters and a tiny stove for warmth. Early Carriers included William H. Quinn, Ed. Marsh, William Griffin, Frank Taylor, E. J. Fleming, Carl Quinn, who carried the south route for 32 years, Glenn Curtis, William H. Robinson, Frank Ponko, Charles Quinn, who helped on all the routes for over 45 years, and Walter Langfeldt, who carried from June 8, 1925, to May 17, 1948.

The combination of cars and improved roads enabled the postal department to combine the four routes into two. The present carriers arc Daniel D. Ray on RFD No. 1 since March 1, 1941 after working in the office and carrying a tri-weekly route at Walhalla before coming to Scottville and Donald G. Rigel, carrier on RFD no. 2 since July 1, 1948, Mr. Rigel began his career while still in high school, by hauling mail from depot to Post Office and helping with city routes. City carrier service was established in 1918 with William Griffin as the first carrier. After only a few months William Rigel handled city deliveries until his retirement April 15, 1941 when it was taken over by Mr. Rigel son Donald, the present rural carrier, who served until June 30, 1948, the present city carrier, Robert W. Scott, served as substitute for Mr. Rigel, after completing high school, and became regular carrier July 1, 1948.

Until 1936, all mail handled through the Scottville office was received and dispatched by train with a messenger that hauled the mail between the depot and the Post Office. That year the first truck was established, and in 1949 the Highway Post Office began carrying the mail. Now all mail comes by truck.

Other Scottville Post Office workers were, Bessie Anderson, mentioned before, who helped in the office from 1914 to 1942; Anna Hove, from 1908 to 1944; Forrest Hissong, now serving Ludington RFD No. 1, who worked from January 1948 to March 1957. The present staff besides Postmaster Reeds, are: Hugh Kennedy, who started in Detroit post office and came to Scottville March 16, 1944, Edward P. Green,, who came December 1, 1947, following his work in the Government civil service War Dept.; Bruce J. Jackbon, who began as Railway clerk in 1951 and came to Scottville office April 5, 1957. Charles Miller and Elton Johnson serve as substitute rural carriers, and Robert Kennedy is substitute city carrier.

The office became second class on July 1, 1938. At the present time, about 3700 people are served from the office, with the rural carriers driving 125 miles each day, and the city carrier walking many miles in town. There are four mails in and out each day, affording next day delivery for the majority letters. That is a far cry from the time when people walked the cow-path to Amber to obtain groceries and mail. If any of our readers recognize the origin of the article please feel free to contact me directly at 757-3240 or davep@blackcreekpress.com

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