Postal Service in Morrow County
contributed by Lorene Griffith
1983 Morrow County Chronicles, Volume II
Morrow County Historical Society
In the time of the early settlers of Morrow County, pioneers were like the people of today. They liked to receive mail, too. The earliest settlers were residents of Umatilla County because Morrow County was not formed out of Umatilla County until 1885.
In 1867, the first post office was established by William Y. Cecil on land donated by him. James Rast is listed as the first postmaster. That year a post office at Scotts, a stopping place on the east side of the John Day River near its mouth, was also established. Scotts and Cecil were both on the Oregon Trail.
By 1872, Amanuel Pettys obtained a post office he named Willows Forks. He often rode a horse to Scotts to get the mail. The name was changed to Pettysville on December 24, 1878. That same year George H. Stansbury was postmaster at Vinson when it became a post office.
1873 brought the establishment of two more post offices. George H. Stansbury moved his post office to Heppner where he had obtained land almost two years before he was appointed postmaster on Butter Creek. Henry Heppner and Jackson Lee Morrow had built a store building to serve the few stockmen settling in the area. A settlement was developing at Stansbury Flat. Within the year it became Heppner. The government established the Heppner post office on February 3, 1873 in the Heppner-Morrow building.
On June 6, 1873, Lena became a post office with C.E. Hinton as postmaster. It was like a good many of the post offices of earlier times, housed in the postmaster's home.
The establishment of Midway post office in 1874, with Henry C. Meyer as postmaster, was at the Albert Wright home. It was nearly half way from supplies at The Dalles to the gold mines of Canyon City. This route was the first through freight line in this part of the country. Midway was discontinued in 1881.
Willows, at the mouth of Willow Creek, is believed to have been on the east side of the creek in Morrow County when it was first established December 17, 1878. It was discontinued June 29, 1885. J.W. Smith was postmaster. On January 29, 1895, it was reopened in Gilliam County on the west side of Willow Creek with James A. Vawter as postmaster.
Acton was short lived from July 11, 1879 to June 1888 with John Barker as postmaster at the time it was established.
Hardman had many names. Dave Hardman established a post office at his home on June 15, 1881. In 1882, he moved into Dairyville from the farm. By consent of the government, he brought the name of the post office with him and the town became known as Hardman. Not far from Hardman another post office is listed as Adamsville, established April 15, 1884 with Silas W. Miles as first postmaster. It was discontinued June 30, 1885.
In the year 1882, the route from Castle Rock to Heppner was being used to carry supplies. On June 6, 1882, a post office was established at Ella with Frank Oviatt as postmaster. Not much farther south a post office of Saddle was established November 20, 1882 with Ozwell T. Douglas as postmaster. Mr. Douglas moved to Willow Creek and established the post office in his home with his daughter, Mollie Douglas, as postmaster. The state of Oregon felt the name of Douglas was easily confused with another Douglas in the state, so when A.C. Morgan became postmaster about 1906, the name was changed to Morgan.
August 3, 1883, Castle Rock established a post office. It became a shipping point with a ferry to the Washington side of the Columbia River. Also the O.R. & N. Railroad had a depot, making it a major shipping point on rail and water for Morrow County.
A post office at Atwood on Butter Creek between Heppner and Echo came into being October 22, 1883. Henry C. Thompson was the first postmaster.
By 1884, five more post office were established, Adamville being one. Salineville, established January 1, 1884 closed April 2, 1886. Mrs. Mary L. Benefied was postmaster. It is listed as 13 miles NW of Heppner and a little NW of Lexington.
One May 26, 1884, a post office was established in Ione with Aaron Royce as postmaster. October 3, 1884, Alpine and Gooseberry both were established as post offices. G.H. Parsell was postmaster at Alpine, I.R. Estab at Gooseberry. There was a stage that ran to Arlington via Olex and it carried the mail semi-weekly. Prior to the stage, Mr. Esteb would pick it up himself.
Lexington's post office was established November 11, 1885 with Nathaniel Yeats as postmaster. Galloway was established July 31, 1886 with John A. Galloway as postmaster. Gamaliel Davidson established a post office April 26, 1893. It was closed to Eightmile on August 27, 1897.
May 26, 1897, there was a post office established at Stokes on the Columbia River, with Douglas W. Bailey as postmaster. It was closed April 25, 1899.
November 16, 1903, a post office was established at Irrigon. The name was derived from Irrigation and Oregon. Frank B. Holbrook was the first postmaster.
Two more post office opened in 1904. One was established at Strawberry, March 7, with Jesse C. White as postmaster. It was closed to Lexington December 31, 1908. October 3, 1908, a post office was established at Coyote near the Columbia River. It was discontinued with mail going to Irrigon after May 15, 1912.
Parkers Mill area had a post office established June 4, 1907 and continued until December 25, 1925 with mail going to Hardman. Milt Maxwell was postmaster.
There was a post office at Farrens from May 9, 1908 until January 1, 1909 with Lillian Page as postmaster. I could not locate it on the map.
Mosada applied for a post office on September 23, 1915 with Alice Albright as postmaster, but never was established. I was unable to locate Masada.
Burton Valley area had a post office name Sinnott which was established April 29, 1916 and continued until February 28, 1918 with Scott H. Osburn as postmaster.
Boardman established a post office on July 13, 1916 with Mrs. Olive Payne as first postmaster. The last post office to be established in Morrow County was Sepanek and it only lasted 13 months, from August 2, 1917 to September 14, 1918.
Many areas had community centers comprising a store, a post office in the store and a school. Some stores had dance halls upstairs. These centers had church services in either the upstairs hall or the school. People did not travel far in those days. As transportation became better, rural routes came into being and post office closed to the larger settlements. Heppner, Ione, Irrigon, Boardman still remain with postmasters. Lexington is a rural station.
If anyone had knowledge of the location of Farrens or Mosada, please let the Historical Society know.
Post office information was obtained from:
Oregon Geographic Names, Lewis A. McArthur
Yesteryears of Morrow, Morrow County Extension Units
Homesteads and Heritages, by Giles French
Copyright © 1983 Morrow County Historical Society
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