Flattop Postoffice Closed After Forty Year Service
(by Adele B. Smith)
After nearly 40 years of service to the people of the community, the Flattop postoffice was discontinued Saturday, Feb. 27, when the mail was distributed through the office for the last time. Discontinuance of the office came with the retirement of Mrs. Edith L. Foy, who has been postmistress for 33 years.
ESTABLISHED IN 1914
The postoffice was first established sometime during the summer of 1914, to serve an increasing number of people who had come to settle in the new community. It was first located a short distance east of the perpendicular elevation from which the office received its name. Nothing remains at the present time of the buildings that housed the first office. The first postmaster was W. I. Funk who also operated a store in connection with the postoffice. With the passing of the years, it is not known where he came from, or where he went, when he left Flattop. The next to hold office was F. J. Hearn, whose origin or later whereabouts are equally unknown. He received his appointment in January, 1918, but had held office only a few months when he was drafted into the army.
Mrs. Foy then enters the picture when she received a temporary appointment to fill the vacancy caused by the departure of Mr. Hearn. She took care of the duties of the office from April 10, 1918 until April, 1919 when Mrs. Ella E. Davis was appointed postmistress, Mrs. Davis serving in that capacity until 1920.
In October of that year, the office was declared vacant and Mrs. Foy was again appointed acting postmistress, until she received her permanent appointment April 23, 1921, serving until February 28, 1954.
Mr. Foy had come from near St. Libory, Nebr., where the family was then living. In January, 1915, Mr. and Mrs. Foy and two children moved to Wyoming to make their home. The Foy homestead was located about a mile south of the original Flattop postoffice and store. During the time Mrs. Foy acted at temporary postmistress and after her permanent appointment, the office was located in the Foy home. The spring the Foys moved to Wyoming, they became the parents of another son, born at the family home. After 1921 the Foys operated a store, cream station and gas station for the convenience of the people living in the area. In more recent years, they discontinued the store, cream and gas station as better roads and quicker modes of travel enabled people to shop in nearby towns.
The saga of the mail carriers who carried the mail from Jireh and later Keeline, on the route to Flattop and Willow, is a story of early day difficulties. Transportation on those days consisted of team and wagon, when roads were good - team and sled, when the roads were blocked with snow.
The first mail carrier was the late Earl W. Beabout, who had homesteaded in the vicinity of Flattop. Mr. Beabout was a brother-in-law of Mrs. K. W. Hughes and Mrs. E. S. Starrett of Flattop. He carried the mail on a temporary basis until bids were let for a regular. He also carried freight for the store.
When the first bids were let, Joe Kuhn, now of Lusk and Phoenix, Ariz., and at that time, a homesteader south of Jireh, was awarded the contract. Frank L. Cross and Gene Mayborn were among the early carriers. They were followed by Charles Gaukel, who still lives on his farm south of Jireh. Mr. Gaukel carried the mail in a Model T Ford, taking advantage of the new mode of transportation. However, in the winter, he often had to resort to four horses hitched to a sled. Alf Lincoln, who lived on what was formerly the Everette Brooks ranch, had his share of struggles with bad roads, during the time he carried the mail.
"Dutch" Oscar A. Bird, next received the contract. He, too, hit a bad winter, carrying the mail nearly the entire winter with team and sled. He made the trip one day, returning to Keeline the next and then started out again the following day, making his three trips a week. Very seldom in the early days of the route did a carrier miss making his scheduled trips. Later carriers were Seward Coleman, Robert Todd, Lena Hebbart and W. J. Hitshew. During the time Coleman and Todd carried the mail, they brought it several times horseback and Coleman brought it once on a tractor. Mrs. Hebbert used a jeep part of the time and in time the roads became so bad it was impossible to travel them. Incidentally, Frank Cross, one of the earlier carriers, was an uncle of Mrs. Hebbert.
Time marched on and horses had passed out of the picture. After the blizzard of '49, mail was delivered only a time or two for several weeks. Everette Brooks assisted at that time with his "weasel". The present carrier is Albert Miers of Keeline.
With the passing of the years, patronage at the office dwindled as many homesteaders proved up on their land, sold or leased their land and moved away. At the present time, only a small area is served by the office. However, service will not be dicontinued as mail will be carried on the route with distribution from Keeline.
Over 100 requests have been received from philatelic souvenir collectors from all parts of the country for the last day cancellations at the office.
Mrs. Foy conluded the business of the office with the last regular mail day Saturday as directed by the postoffice department. She and Mr. Foy moved immediately to Guernsey where they had purchased a home and where their two sons, Harold and William Foy and their families reside.
So is concluded another era in the early history of the community.
Images & Attachments
|Obituary||Gaukel, Charles (01/07/1927 - 09/27/1993)||View Record||Obituary||Gaukel, Charles (10/12/1883 - 05/22/1959)||View Record||Obituary||Foy, William (02/10/1938 - 01/18/2012)||View Record||Obituary||Brooks, Everette (05/28/1925 - 01/04/1943)||View Record||Obituary||Foy, William (11/30/-0001 - 05/28/1915)||View Record||Obituary||Davis, E. (02/26/1925 - 12/05/2016)||View Record|