Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Memories of Jerome, Iowa - Part II - Postmasters

  Horace W. Lyon was appointed the first postmaster in 1856.  Henry Wilson followed him in 1857 and continued to handle the mail until November of 1878.  During the Civil War, the post office was in his home, now where Carl Hamm lives.  Older people have told that Wilson kept the mail in a bureau drawer; that patrons came early in the morning, read aloud whatever they received so that all could hear the news, and frequently stayed for dinner in the Wilson home.  The mail came by coach from Alexandria on the Mississippi, the route following approximately present Highway No. 2.  
  On Nov. 7 1878 James Hagan became postmaster, serving until the office was discontinued in 1881.  At this time the mail came into Numa and was brought by horseback to Jerome.  From 1881 to 1888 people went to Plano brought in by the K and W railroad.  Osta Kinney Norris recalls walking to Plano for mail, crossing Walnut creek on a log.
  The Jerome post office was reestablished in March of 1888, with Peter Wilson, son of Henry Wilson, as postmaster.  He built a small building northeast of his father's home and this was used as a post office.  James Hagan again was appointed postmaster on Dec. 5, 1888, and the office was enlarged and used as both post office and grocery store.  Jess Swan was postmaster in 1890, serving until James Hagan was appointed for the third time in 1891.

James Hagan who served three times as Jerome Postmaster

  Hamilton Howry took the office in January of 1897, serving only until August 21 when John F. Stephenson was appointed and he in turn served until William S. Fox took over in 1902.
  On February 11, 1903, Benjamin Gable was appointed and served until the appointment of the first woman postmaster, Anna Gorman, who took office on March 10, 1906.  She was followed by Kathryn Hawkins in 1912.

Postmaster Kathryn Hawkins in from of the Post Office

  In 1914 John White took the office, serving until LaVera McKern was appointed acting postmaster in 1918.  Edmond H. Allan received his appointment in May of 1929, succeeded by Robert Hardy who served from 1941 to 1945.  Julia Bunetta served from July 1, 1945 to 1946.  Walter Warnick served four months as acting postmaster in 1948, after which Mrs. W. E. Hawkins kept the office in the Hawkins store from Nov. 1948 to Aug. 1951.

Postmaster Lora Hawkins in front of the Hawkins Store

  Mrs. Paul Ervin took the office next, moving it to her home.  On August 15, 1953, the office was discontinued and Jerome was placed on a Centerville route.
 [From Memories of Jerome, Iowa, 1989 published for the 1989 Jerome Reunion.]

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