Kirtley Post Office Beginnings

Last updated: January 9, 2008

The Lusk Herald
May 25, 1950

Story of Kirtley Post Office Beginnings Related by U.O. Kirtley, Son of Founder



When the Kirtley postoffice was discontinued a short time ago there was much speculation as to just how long it had been established, how it received its name, and who had been the postmasters. Mrs. Roy Zum Brunnen was the postmistress at the time the postoffice was discontinued, and had held that office for the past fourteen years.

Through the kindness of Dan Hanson, The Herald has received a letter written by U. 0. Kirtley of Kaycee, Wyo., to J. Elmer Brock of Kaycee. Mr. Kirtley is the son of Mrs. S. L. Kirtley, who became the first postmistress of the Klrtley postoffice, and the information he gives settles the question of how the name of the community was changed from the original Pleasant Ridge to Kirtley, and gives much interesting history concerning the origin of the postoffice.

Mr. Kirtley's article follows:

THE NAMING OF KIRTLEY POSTOFFICE
(By U.O. Kirtley)



In the year 1889 or 1890, dry farmers from Iowa, Wisconsin and Missouri settled in what is now known as the Klrtley country. At that time it was known as Pleasant Ridge.

About 1895 the community decided to try for a postoffice. A petition addressed to the proper authorities was sent to Washington, and was signed by Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Christian, Mr. and Mrs. Chris Christian, Mr. and Mrs. Jake Zum Brunnen, Miss Amy Steer, Grandma Sutton, John Sutton and Mr. and Mrs. S. L. Kirtley. The petitioners suggested the name for the new postoffice as "Pleasant Ridge," and Mrs. Kirtley as postmistress.

After some time my mother was notified the postoffice was allowed and that supplies and equipment consisting of saddle bags, cancelling stamp, ink pad, and a few stamps were at the Voorhees postoffice. I went to the Voorhees postoffice for the supplies, and, opening the package, we found, to our surprise, the cancelling stamp printed "Kirtley" instead of "Pleasant Ridge."

With a few wooden boxes the Kirtley postoffice was born. For a month or two the mail was carried by the patrons in turn, as Shum Heiman used to say, "free gratis, all for nutten." Finally John Sutton was awarded the contract from Voorhees, a distance of fourteen miles, for $14.00 a month, two or three times a week.

The Voorhees postoffice was on the Luke Voorhees ranch, a few miles east of the Node ranch, and west of Van Tassell, on Runningwater.

Scott Jenks, a son-in-law of Mr. Voorhees, was postmaster and looked after the ranch for Mr. Voorhees. I was told this ranch was where Mr. Voorhees raised the horses he used on the stage line from Cheyenne to Deadwood during the "70's and `8o's." In a few years the Voorhees postoffice was discontinued and mail was carried from Lusk.

Jake Zum Brunnen took that contract two or three times a week for twenty dollars a month and a distance of twenty-odd miles each way. We traveled a lot of miles those days for a few dollars.

In about 1900 my parents sold out and moved to Hot Springs, South Dakota, and the postoffice was moved to Mr. Church's farm about two miles from us. Their daughter, Eva, was postmistress. Thus comes to an end my knowlege of Kirtley postoffice.

I got a good chuckle from The Lusk Herald where Mrs. Griffith signed for a manure spreader for Jim.

If some one around Lusk should write their recollection of the postoffice I would like to read it.




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