Valley Post Offices


 Note: Information on post offices. Dates are as accurate as I could find. They may or may not be entirely correct.


The first post office was opened in 1883 at Howe with Menon Hawley as postmaster. He held this position for approximately 10 years. A load of logs fell on him, crippling him. Marion Kay Hawley took over for a time.

Apparently the post office was closed for a few months in the early 1900's, then possibly in November of 1907, Chester Thornton was appointed. Possibly James Chandler served in 1908. Sometime later when Roy Hawley bought  he Bartel store he was postmaster. It was later moved to where Knights had a home and shop and Mrs. Knight ran it.

I'm not sure, but it seems that Mrs. Clara J. Long became the next or at least soon after. Clara J. was solicited to teach the Howe school so she hired Unity Kyle to run the post office for a few years until she retired from teaching and went back to the postoffice. She hired several assistants off and on through the years until selling to Mildred Graham, who sold to Marvin and Josephine Rhodes. Jo Rhodes was postmistress for a long time, during which time, Leona Cowgill was assistant. Rhodes sold to Jackie and Dave Gooch. (A note of explanation here; up until several years after 1969, to be a postmaster (or postmistress) one had to supply,  in other words own, the post office building.

Consequently, as the postmasters changed, either the location of the office moved or the bought the former's property). Jo and Marv moved to Oregon, Jackie and Dave and moved in, Leona Cowgill was appointed "officer in charge". Jackie took her civil service put in her application for postmistress. She also filled out an application to be Leona's  sick leave replacement. A retired navy man (an outsider) also applied for the position but no one sell him any property, building or land to supply the office building so when time came to the new person Jackie was accepted. This was 1969 until 1989. In 1970 Jackie and Dave  and she bought out Dave's equity in the property. She later married Robert Graefe, one new owners of the Howe Pool Hall. The pool hall was named Sinks Inn under their A daughter, Mary, was born to them, bringing a new little sister to Lorra, Jane, Joan and Kristi. Jackie got the privilege of moving to the new, current, post office and still holds the postmistress position. Linda Ginn, Pat Woodie and Barbara Hetmonich have been her assistants, Pat has chalked up 25 years as such.


Edwin R. Hawley established a post office at Badger  Creek in approximately 1890, also prior to that, a stage stop. Later the Clyde post office was moved to a location on the Winian place, west and south of the Brabec ranch.; Mrs. Winian being post mistress.


A stage stop and then post office was established at Sweet  Sage by Artes Gilmore- post office opened, November 14, 1910.

The Bernice post office opened the 24th of January, 1911, with Robert Dietrich as post master in 1913. On November 13, a Jessie M. Smith was appointed . The office was part of a general merchandise store, which changed hands several times.


Someone once mentioned about going into the Bernice Sweet Sage Post Office store and found that the ladies of the community made their own butter and had their personalized butter wrappers so when someone bought butter, they could request who's butter they wanted. They would trade butter and eggs for other staples. Some did fancy handwork and placed in the store to sell. Some fancy handkerchiefs sold for $1.00 each. A full days wage at that time.
A few memories connected with the mall service:  Everything anyone could need that was of small enough size was carried by the "mail man". People did a lot of mail order shopping. Baby chicks were a big item in the spring. Several days before approximate arrival date the recipient would be sure to be waiting at their mall box so as to not miss being there when they were delivered.


A very few post office boxes were available and used. Almost everyone had a homemade wooden mailbox, securely fastened to one or more cedar posts positioned as close to their house as the main road passed. Ours was a quarter of a mile from the house, some others were less, some more. Each family had  to provide at least 2 mall sacks with their name plainly printed on the outside. These sacks were fairly large, maybe 24" X 15" or such. They were made of heavy cloth or canvas with sturdy ties on one side to be wrapped around the top of the bag and tied. The mail carrier picked up the empty one and put in the full one. The empty ones were deposited at the end of the route, at the post office, to be filled the next day.


One time an ambitious youngster caught some horny toads and put one or so in a few of the empty sacks along the mail route up by Hockings, Hansens, Irelands, etc. What a surprise when the sacks were opened up!!

One could catch a ride with the mail carrier to Clyde and back or send up fresh garden produce or what ever. Several times I rode up to Reed's on a Tuesday and came back home on a Friday. I think it was with Bob Urich.

In later years a high school student csould miss the bus to Arco and get a ride in with the carrier. It worked really good became it proved you were really trying to asstend school but you still missed ass but one morning class.

When Clint Perry was mail man, he would stop at Spring Creek on his way home from Clyde and put a net on the down stream side of the culvert and the let a bucket float down from the other side, it would scare the fish through and he'd have a nice net full of fish to take home for supper. Yes , it was illegal, but no one cared, it really didn't hurt a thing. The game warden during that time was reallu laid back and one of the biggest poachers in the area. It was veryu seldon anyone ever wasted any game.


Clint and Helen Perry libed where Wade Williams now lives. Theu had a daughter, Jeanie, son Bert and then several years after Bert a set of twins (I tink a boy and girl, but I could be wrong). One time HJelen had the kids in the cara and was driving to Howe. Just before she came to thje river there at the John Terry  place she reached down to adjust something about the babies (twins) on the car seat and ran off the road and into the borrow pit and nose dived into the fiver. Grandpa, (Charles Kyle) was  harrowing the field fight close by. He cut the fence fast, unhooked the team and hitched them to the back end of the car and pulled it and occupants out and onto the road again. He had to stay and talk to her and the children for quite awhile before they could over come the shock and fright and go on to Howe.

Mom, (Unity Kyle) used to walk to the post office every morning  and would go through the field to do ........ so. In the winter she'd just cross the fiver on the ice. One late winter the ice caved in with her and she went into the water clear to her neck. She had to open the post office on time and decided Mrs. Long would have built a fire and office wanned up a little, so she walked on. In no time, all her clothes and hair were frozen solid, which wasn't too bad, but when she got there Mrs. Long was sick and still in bed, no fn'e  in her own house even.   Mom had to build the fires, strip down and borrow some clothes from Clara J.   She was one cold lady for awhile!  I can remember how very cold that post office could be. As was true in a  lot of homes as well, the wash pans and kettles of  water left on the stove or counter at night would be frozen in the mornings and that linoleum on the floor felt like it could freeze burn bare feet.


Oh, I've got to tell you about that outhouse at the post office! It was the scariest one I was ever in. It had a high seat, two of the biggest holes I have ever seen. It  also had a little seat for a child, but by the time I can remember it, it was broken. I can remember going in there a time or two and each time it was so scary just looking at the size of those holes, I knew I could easily slip all the way through and down to my doom. Each times, I opted to go out behind it instead of take a chance.


Jakie remembers going in and opening up the office, lifting up the window of the counter and a goat stepping up and putting her front feet on the counter and bleating loudly at her, After a few minutes of converstion, Lora Pancheri come over searching for her goat.

Another time when Mary was about 2 years old a man came into the post office and asked, "Do you have a ver tiny white goat"? Jackie said, "Yes" He asked, "And do you have a ver little girl?"  "Yes" " Well, they are up on the roof". The little goat had found a way up and Mary had followed and they were having a great time.

She also remembers having several rattlesnakes come in the office over the years. (I remember Graham's having them com in, too).

And then there was "Herbie", a pack rat that took up residence in the attic. He would slide open the lid in the ceiling and peer down and athen slide it shut again. Linds Ginn was warming herself in front of a little heater one day, heard a sound, looked up into 2 little black eyes staring down at her. Unnerved her ..... Mounty Dick brought a trap and set it, to no availfor a long time, no bait or place enticed him. Spring brought lilac blooms and each bouquet that was brought into the house would disappear. And Idea surfaced and they completely covered the trap with lilacs. Next morning "Herbie" waas in the trap. Everyone had become interested in him and some felt kind a bad when he died. The "round table group"came up to say their goodbys as he was deposited in the trash can  along with a fresh limb of lilacs. The parting words for him were that, "Herbier m,e his demise due to his lust for lilacs"


Halrey Kyle drove uo to the Sinks Inn and had a couple of little runt pigs in the back of his pickup. Kristi spotted them and begged to sabe them. Wish granted, she took them across to home and she and Jackie fed them tiny amounts of milk and brandy mix every 2 hours. They grew! It wasn't uncommon when school started and Kristi had to be gone for a few hours to go to the post office and find Jackie there to help, holding a baby pig and a bottle in her arms. They grew and Kristi took them to the fair. Their names were Petunia and Porky. Without telling her folks, she went to the store and bought all the buttermilk there, came home and gave her pigs a good scrubbing in a buttermilk bath. Bob hauled them to the fair for her in the family 1972 station wagon and brought them back, plus two blue ribbons and one grand champion ribbon!

Mail carrying experiences as told by Mounty
Dick: On December 1, 1989, I completed 39 years carrying mail from Arco to Howe. When I started this mail route in 1950 Josephine Rhodes was the Postmistress at Howe, followed by Jackie Graefe present Postmistress. In the 1950's and '60's, as well as delivering the mail, we delivered milk, bread and groceries to the store, the caf6 and school and on the return trip brought five and ten gallon cream cans into Arco and consigned them out on the train to go to Blackfoot. This service ended when the depot closed in Arco. During the busy summer months on the farm for many years, my wife, Mary, was my substitute driver.


I acquired a second route on July 1, 1958, from Darlington to Grouse. This was a box delivery route and there
  was a Post Office at Grouse until November, 1976, when it was discontinued. Driving these routes over 39 and 31 years respectfully  recalls many memories. The mall carder on occasion would find homemade cookies or candy or some tasty morsel on his birthday or at Christmas, left for him as pay for some special delivery during the year.

There has been a lot of change in roads, weather and  mode of transportation over the years. Until the early '50's the
 road from the Howe Junction to Howe was still gravel and many times during those years the mail carder broke the road for the school bus before the snow plows went through. We now have four wheel drive trucks to take us through if the weather requires more than a regular car. Also, hauling kids who missed the school bus was the highlight of many a trip.



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