POST OFFICE HISTORY

When Warren county was organized the nearest postoffice was fifty or sixty miles away, and the county commissioners early took action toward the establishment of one in the county. In the records of that body under date of September 10, 1830, appears the following order:

"The clerk of the Warren county commis sioners' court will certify to the postmaster general of the United States at Washington City, that the county of Warren was organized on the third day of July last past, and that the temporary seat of justice is and was located at the lower Yellow Banks on the Mississ­ ippi river, in town eleven north of range five west, on the 9th day of July, and about half way between the Des Moines and Rock River rapids, and request the postmaster general to establish a postoffice at said county seat, to be called Warren Court House Postoffice; and further request him to forward the mail immediately, to said office, either from Fulton county, Schuyler county, or from Venus, Hancock county. And the clerk will place the foregoing upon the records of this court.

"Given under our hands in vacation of court this 10th day of September, A. D. 1830.

John Pence and John B. Talbot,
County Commissioners."

A petition for a postoffice at Cedar Creek was sent to the Department about the same time, and that postoffice was ordered first, in the winter of 1830-31. The Warren Court House postoffice was established in the spring, with Daniel McNeil as postmaster, but the establishment of the county seat at Monmouth in April delayed the arrangements and the first mail was not received until in June.

Cedar Creek was then supplied from the Warren Court House office at Monmouth, the latter receiving the first mail. Daniel McNeil held the posi­tion of postmaster about eleven years, and old settlers have told the story that the very few letters and papers he received from the stage routes were carried in his hat and given to the parties addressed wherever he might meet them. Soon, however, he built a store building on the corner now occupied by the National Bank of Monmouth, and kept the office there.

He was succeeded by Elijah Davidson, probably in 1842 or 1843, though the exact date can not be found. William F. Smith was the next postmaster, receiving his appointment soon after the election of President Polk, and serving until 1849. He kept the office in his store on the south side of the square. west of Main street.

Robert Grant had the office from July, 1349. until early in 1853. first on the north side of the square west of Main street. and later on the north side east of Main street.

Early in 1853 Azro Patterson was appointee post­master, keeping the office in his store, but resigning in a few months in favor of Aquiilin W. Noe. who served until July 1, 1856, occupying a small building on the east side of the square about half way between the northeast corner and Broadway

Thomas H. Davidson became postmaster July 1, 1856, and held the position until January. 1859, when he was re­ moved by President Buchanan and William Clark appointed in his stead.

Mr. Davidson kept the office on the north side of East Broadway west of First street until November, 1857, when he removed to the south room in the Langdon block, which stood on the present site of the Second National Bank building.

His successor, Mr. Clark, occupied the same room awhile, then moved around the corner to a room where Johnson's jewelry store now stands.

William H. Pierce followed Mr. Clark in 1861, having the office first on the west side of South First street between Broadway and Market Place, but afterwards erected a building on the south side of Broadway a little east of First street.

In May, 1865, Capt. John M. Turnbull took the office holding it until the fall of 1866 when he was removed by Presi­ dent Andrew Johnson, who appointed Dr. B. A. Griffith, now of Swan Creek. in his place. The Senate refused to confirm the appointment, and after about six months Captain Turnbull was reinstated, and served until April 1. 1887. when the election of a Democratic President, Grover Cleveland. was the occasion of a change

. Captain Turnbull built a small office on South Main street just north of West First avenue. occupying it until January, 1867. when the' office was removed to the east room of the Hardin block on East Broadway. where it remained for nearly thirty years. The office was temporarily in the old Baptist church on the corner of South First street and First avenue, in the spring of 1896, then in June of that year was taken to the Shultz building on South Main street, a half block north of its present site, where it remained until the government building was ready for occupancy in 1902.

J. W. Lusk was postmaster from April, 1887, to April, 1891, Col. George Rankin from 1891. to 1895, Samuel S. Hallam from 1895 to 1899, and Clarence F. Buck is now in charge of the office.

Monmouth became a money order office in 1865 During the administration of J. W. Lusk. October 1, 1898. the tree delivery service was inaugurated, starting with three carriers, W. B. Vorwick, Charles Eilenberger and George B. Moreland, a fourth. W. H. Dungan. being added a little later

. The free delivery carriers now number six and are Oscar Henry, Will A. Hayes, R. E. Saville. Swan Matson. James H. Wilson and C. M. Patterson, with Roy Reed as substitute. Rural free delivery, with the Monmouth office as the center, was inaugurated August 1, 1901. with five carriers. Each route is approximately 25 miles in length and serves about 500 persons. The carriers are Joseph Miller, Louis A. Kohler. A. D. Filler. Walter Palmer and Joseph A. Eayres.

March 12, 1888, Congressman Gest introduced in the National House of Representatives a bill appropriating $100,000 for the erection of a government building in Monmouth. The bill never got farther than the committee. Con­ gressman Ben F. Marsn introduced a bill in the Fifty-fifth Congress appropriating $47,000, and secured its passage, the bill being approved by President McKinley March 2, 1899. Proposals of sites were called for March 21, twelve being offered, and on June 15 the property on South Main street north of West Second avenue was selected for the location of the building.

The property was owned by W. H. Sexton and Harrison Miller. and cost the government $3,950. The total cost of the site was $8,000, but the difference was made up by private subscriptions. Bids for the construction of the building were opened July 18, 1900, the contract being let July 21 to Thomas M. Yeager & Son, of Danville, Ill., for $26,973.

Some changes increased the cost of the build­ing itself. and the total cost with the furniture and fixtures reached $50,000. An additional appropriation of $3,000 was made by Congress in the spring of 1902 to meet the increased cost. The lot on which the government building stands is 130 by 132 feet, and the building itself is 49, by 81 feet on the outside. It is of the style of architecture known as the Italian Renaissance, popular in government buildings, and is constructed of gray pressed brick and Bedford limestone. with terra cotta trimmings. The building is but one-story, but a balustrade of brick and terra cotta which surmounts it rises to a height of 36 feet above the walk, giving the appearance of a greater height. The flagstaff is 70 feet high. The building was thrown open for a public reception on the evening of January 11, 1902, Congressman Marsh being the guest of honor, and the office was moved into the new quarters the following day.

The present postoffice force is made up as follows:

Clarence F. Buck, postmaster.

James W. Scott, deputy.

H. B. Garrison, mailing clerk.

James Huff, general delivery.

Alex Rodgers, money order clerk.

George McKelvey, stamp clerk.

James Kipper, messenger.

W. P. Speakman, janitor.

Carriers are as given above.

 

Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois

Submitted by W. Caudell

 

 ©Wini Caudell and Contributors

All Rights Reserved

Illinois Ancestors