Mellette County, South Dakota
County & Town Histories - Post Offices
Post Offices - In Mellette County
(Transcribed, with permission from the Mellette County Historical Society, from "Mellette County 1911-1961"
published by the Mellette County Centennial Committee - pg. 60-62)
While we have not had any large post offices in this county, we certainly have not lacked numbers. A total of 20 offices were established and of this number only five remain today; they are White River, Wood, Mosher, Norris, and Cedarbutte.
The first office to be established in Mellette County was Wood, which was established on May 19, 1906, with Dabney G. Miller, as postmaster. Some of the other postmasters were Robert P. Carter, George Sawyer, Merril Kaufman, and the present postmaster, Ed Sinkler. The first office was located about three-fours of a mile south of Wood, or about five hundred yards northeast of the old issue station.
The next oldest office in the county is Norris, which was established on December 13, 1909, with Paul H. Putnam as postmaster. Some of the postmasters that followed Mr. Putnam were: Mrs. Les Martin, Bertha Beard, Mrs. Ethel Miller, and Robert Totton, the present postmaster.
White River is the third oldest post office in the county. It was established on February 17, 1911, under the name Red Wing, with Jesse Brown as postmaster. The location was on the river bottom west of the present town of White River, where Browns were operating a general store. On June 5, the same year (1911) the name was changed from Red Wing to White River. Following Brown, Ray Dendy was postmaster, then Ellert Toft, Mrs. Alva Kell, C. S. Hight, and Arthur Siegmund, the present postmaster.
Gateway, in the southeastern part of the county was established May 8, 1912, with Sylvanus V. Shelven as postmaster. This office was discontinued on June 15, 1913.
On June 27, 1912, the post office of Farley was established, with Nell C. Farley as postmistress. This office was discontinued on October 31, 1918.
An unusual occurrence in postal history was the establishment of four different post offices in Mellette County on the same day, May 21, 1913. They were: Chilton, which was about eight miles southeast of Wood, with Silas H. Moore as postmaster. This office was discontinued on May 31, 1914, after existing only a little over a year.
Cody, with Cody F. Sinnings as postmaster, was located in the home of Cody Sinnings, who still lives on the same place and is a familiar figure among Mellette County pioneers. This office was discontinued on December 15, 1923.
Jorgensen, with Jubal V. Jorgenson, as postmaster, was located in what is known as Surprise Valley, west of White River. This office was discontinued on December 15, of the same year (1913).
The fourth, was Texsam, with Mrs. Ida E. Withrow as postmistress. This office was located about 15 miles northwest of White River and in operation over 20 years; it was discontinued on July 31, 1934. Mrs. Mary A. Shouldis followed Mrs. Withrow as postmistress in 1941 and held that position until the office was closed. Mrs. Shouldis is still living in White River, with her daughter's family, the Perry Hitchings.
Berkley, another Western Townsite town, was located three and a half miles south west of Wood. The post office was established on May 26, 1913, Colonel B. Holland was the postmaster. The office was discontinued on January 15, 1916.
Neville, about nine miles south of White River, was established on June 28, 1915, with Ellis M. McCauley, as postmaster. This office was discontinued on December 31, 1925.
On September 30, 1915, Cedarbutte was established, with Jesse Beckwith as postmaster. The office was located in about the middle of the NW1/4 of S. 26, T. 42, R. 32, Where Mr. Beckwith had a store. A number of Mellette County Pioneers will remember the place. Still later, it was moved about four miles east, by Joe Fuerst, to its present location. Cedarbutte had more different postmasters than any office in the county. They were in order, following Jesse Beckwith, Archie Beard, Carl Jorgensen, Jack Starkjohann, Clarence Patnoe, Chad Addison, Harry Foster, Joe Fuerst, and Roy Fuerst, the present postmaster.
On February 5, 1916, Runningville, in the northeast part of the county, was established with James T. Peacock as postmaster. The name of this office was changed to Bad Nation on July 1, 1938. The office was discontinued on October 31, 1942.
Schamber, in the northwest part of the county, was established on July 22, 1918. Peter Schamber was the postmaster. On January 31, 1927, Mrs. Etta V. Leek, was appointed postmistress of this office, and she continued in the office until it was closed on June 30, 1934.
On February 17, 1919, Knodell, southwest of White River. was established with Mrs. Elizabeth Knodell as postmistress. This office was closed on October 15, 1928.
The office of Brave was established on September 12, 1922, with Joseph A. Brave as postmaster. This office was located in the northeast part of the county. Mrs. Alice Hare was appointed postmistress of this office on October 17, 1930. A store was operated in connection with this office on October 17, 1930; it was discontinued on March 30, 1935.
Ring Thunder, southwest of White River, was established on June 28, 1923; Mrs. Dollie E. Trotter as the first postmistress. Mrs. Harlan Clayton followed Mrs. Trotter as postmistress. The office was discontinued on May 31, 1929.
The next office to be established in the county was Kary, named after the first and only postmistress, Mrs. Cordelia Kary. This was on April 28, 1925. The location is about eight miles southeast of Norris. The people of this community will long remember Mrs. Kary and her services to the community not only as a postmistress, but as a nurse and friend to anyone in need. The office was discontinued on June 30, 1946.
The last office to be established in the county was Mosher. On August 4, 1930, George Sawyer, a former postmaster of Wood, raised the window of this office ready for business. After nine years Sawyer retired, and in December, 1939, Mrs. Harold Richter was appointed postmistress. She was followed by Mrs. Howard Richter, vvho received her appointment in August, 1941. The Richters sold the store that is operated in connection with the post office, to Mr. and Mrs. Mark Weed on May 1, 1943. The Weeds were followed by Mr. and Mrs. Dale Meyers. Mrs. Shirley Meyers assumed the duties of postmistress in January, 1946. In December, 1948, Mr. and Mrs. Don Sinclair took over the store and post office, Don was appointed postmaster, which position he has held the last 13 years. Mosher serves one of the best farming communities and Don's post office and store has saved many a long trip.
Many stories could be told about incidents in connection with the mail service in this county, but space will not permit. Mail was carried in almost every kind of conveyance from horseback, Bert Humphrey's "Puddle Jumper"-a stripped down Model T Ford-sled and airplane. Carriers even carried the mail on their backs when they got stuck.
At this writing, White River is in line for a new modern post office. It is hoped that it will be ready by the Centennial Celebration in August of this year.
Location of the Post Offices in Mellette County
(Transcribed, with permission, from "Mellette County 1911-1986" published by the Mellette County Historical Society)
Nineteen post office locations have served the people of Mellette County during the first 75 years:
1. Wood established May 19, 1906
2. Norris established December 13, 1909
3. White River established February 17, 1911
4. Gateway established May 8, 1912 - Discontinued June 15, 1913
5. Farley established June 27, 1912 - Discontinued a year later
6. Chilton established May 31, 1913 - Discontinued a year later
7. Cody established May 21, 1913 - Discontinued December 15, 1923
8. Jorgenson established May 31, 1913 - Discontinued December 15, 1913
9. Texsam established May 31, 1913 - Discontinued July 31, 1934
10. Berkley established May 26, 1913 - Discontinued January 15, 1916
11. Neville established June 28, 1915 - Discontinued December 31, 1925
12. Cedarbutte established September 30, 1915
13. Runningville established February 5, 1916 - Name changed to Bad Nation on July 1, 1938 - Discontinued October 31, 1942
14. Schamber established July 22, 1918 - Discontinued June 30, 1934
15. Knodell established February 17, 1919 - Discontinued October 15, 1928
16. Brave established September 12, 1922 - Discontinued March 30, 1935
17. Ringthunder established June 28, 1923 - Discontinued on May 31, 1929
18. Kary established April 28, 1925 - Discontinued on June 30, 1946
19. Mosher established August 4, 1930 - Discontinued June 1, 1982
In 1985 four of these post offices are still in operation.
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