Chaves County Post Office History
This Project made possible by James W. White
Transcribed by C. W. Barnum
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Chaves County Post Offices
Arranged by date of establishment

Acme June 11, 1906
Alellen April 25, 1904
Blackdom April 10, 1912
Boaz May 17, 1907
Bynum October 24, 1907
Chaves March 9, 1932
Chisum August 14, 1884
Cumberland August 14, 1907
Dexter May 4, 1897
Dunkin November 25, 1908
Elk August 10, 1894
Elkins April 20, 1907
Elva June 23, 1910
Feliz February 12, 1903
Felix (2nd) February 26, 1934
Flying H March 5, 1938
Frazier April 27, 1937
Greenfield August 28, 1911
Hagerman May 4, 1894
Kennedy January 2, 1888
Lake Arthur Nov. 4, 1904
Lake Van
Liston June 22, 1907
Lower Penasco Nov. 11, 1884
Olive May 5, 1909
Orchard Park April 25, 1904
Roanoke March 28, 1908
Roswell August 20, 1873
Southspring June 27, 1899
Trail’s End Jan. 6, 1921
Vocant July 16, 1908

Mail Transportation
in Chaves County

After the end of the Civil War, the Texas ranchers returned to a surplus of cattle, no local market and no way to get the cattle to outside markets. Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving decided to drive their cattle to the west and sell them to the forts and civilian markets in New Mexico. They discovered rich cattle country along the Pecos River Valley. John Chisum, after his first cattle drive failed, decided to try the Loving Goodnight trail. He liked the country so well that he established his base in the Roswell area and built a cattle empire. Other Texas ranchers, including Lucien Maxwell, also moved their herds to the area. It is said that mail was placed in a saddle bag and one of the cowboys would carry it as far as he was going in the direction of a town. He would leave the bag at the side of the road when he turned off and it would be picked up and carrier further by the next passerby. 

Eventually this mail would reach a post office. It is certain that picking up the mail was a high priority when anyone went into a town (usually Lincoln). In 1869, Van Smith and Aaron Wilburn moved from Nebraska and settled on the Rio Hondo just west of the Pecos River. The Hispanic settlers who had first located there called the site Rio Hondo. Van and Aaron built two adobe buildings at what is now the corner of 4th Street and Main. One was used as a general store and the other was an inn. Van decided to name his store and inn after his father, Roswell Smith, and filed his land claim under this name on March 4, 1871. Van and Aaron convinced the local ranchers, including John Chisum and Lucien Maxwell to pitch in and hire Mat Devine to deliver mail and merchandise to and from Las Vegas, New Mexico. Van petitioned the Post Office Department to establish a post office at his store and recommended the name of Roswell. When this was approved and the office was opened on August 20, 1873, the mail was received from the Star Route served by the stage line from Las Vegas to Mesilla. 

The Las Vegas stage line was abolished when the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad was completed down the Rio Grande valley but a mail route remained in place from Santa Rosa. A Star Route, using a buckboard, was established to deliver the mail from the AT&SF RR at San Antonio, New Mexico, to Roswell. By 1885 other offices were being established around what would become Chaves County. A Star Route was established from Roswell to provide mail to the Chisum Post Office. The Lower Penasco Post Office in the southwestern part of the county received mail from a route between Tularosa and Seven Rivers. In 1891 the Pecos Valley and Northeastern Railroad completed construction to Carlsbad and a stage line delivered mail every other day to Roswell. 

The railroad was completed to Roswell in 1894 and Railway Post Office (RPO) service was established connecting Roswell with the Texas & Pacific Railroad at Pecos, Texas. The mail service from the north was improved significantly when the railroad was completed to Amarillo, Texas, in 1899. Roswell now had RPO service from the north and south and connected with the AT&SF RR with the western route to San Antonio. The terminus of the mail route to the west was changed from San Antonio to Carrizozo in 1902. The mail was transported in a horse drawn buggy when the weather permitted and by horseback in inclement weather. In January of 1906, Roswell became the first post office in the country to establish a contract automobile route. 

The route (#67348) carried mail and passengers between Roswell and the railroad at Torrance. The terminus of this route was changed to Vaughn in 1910. Another automobile route was established between Roswell and Alamogordo in 1908. It took two years to complete the grading on this road. By this time most of the mail routes were using automobiles. Roswell had become the hub providing mail to other post offices as they were established. In the mid 1930s, the RPO service was supplemented by contract routes from Roswell to Tucumcari and Carlsbad. The growth of the communities in Chaves County and the increase in mail volume required the additional transportation. A route had also been established from Roswell to Brownsfield, Texas, and another to El Paso. 

The airport was completed in 1929 but Air Mail was not introduced to Roswell until 1938. Continental Airlines extended passenger and Air Mail service into Roswell in 1940. On April 23, 1955, Roswell had a parade to welcome New Mexico’s only Highway Post Office (HPO) service. The busses were designed the same as the RPO cars and mail was processed while in transit. The route replaced the RPO service that had been discontinued between Clovis and Roswell in 1954. The Roswell Post Office became a Sectional Center Facility (SCF) when ZIP Code was introduced in 1963. Since Roswell was now responsible for the processing and distribution of mail to the ZIP Code 882 offices, the expensive HPO service was terminated in 1964. Roswell now has routes to and from Albuquerque; Denver, Colorado; Midland, Amarillo and Lubbock, Texas; Clovis and Las Cruces. Other routes deliver mail to and from the post offices in southeastern New Mexico. 

Postmasters

ACME

John Gantenbein June 11, 1906 Henry Olthoff April 13, 1928
Jesse E. Marshall February 11, 1907 Olis L. Shields (acting) July 6, 1929
John Gantenbein April 17, 1909 Thomas R. Murrell October 7, 1929
Conrad Hatchitt September 23, 1914 Juanita S. Murrell January 9, 1933
Frank C. Hatchitt September 2, 1916 Charle H. Sims (acting) July 1, 1942
Joe A. Carter August 17, 1920 Annie D. Sims August 4, 1942


BLACKDOM
James A. Eubank April 10, 1912
Thomas L. Leathers March 9, 1915
Bessie E. Malone February 23, 1916

BOAZ

William H. Robeson May 17, 1907 Mary E. Newlin December 13, 1927
Sidney S. Squire July 28, 1909 Mary Ellen Paul June 30, 1937
William A. Shira December 17, 1913 Elizabeth N. Daugherty May 15, 1941
Blanche Horner February 24, 1917

BYNUM
John F. Bynum October 24, 1907

CHAVES
Mattie M. Griffith March 9, 1932
Clifford Lyle Simpson March 17, 1938
Ethel L. Harrell December 15, 1939
C. Ethel Askew (acting) November 25, 1941
Printes Shirley (acting) May 14, 1942

CHISUM
Angie I. Chisum August 14, 1884

CUMBERLAND
Charles A. Petty August 14, 1907
Archi C. Hall February 4, 1908
Emily A. Welty August 18, 1908
James W. Young November 20, 1909
William F. Welty July 14, 1917

OLIVE
William H. Cloppert May 5, 1909
George A. Malone March 1, 1929
Thelma A. Malone (acting) May 12, 1944
Hazel T. Van Eaton October 7, 1944

ALELLEN / ORCHARD PARK

Frederick M. Holm April 25, 1904 Rezin H. Brown August 29, 1912
Rebecca V. Hortenstein January 7. 1905 Myra A. Shaw May 8, 1919
Leonidas W. Gray May 20, 1907 Nora E. Greener November 15, 1921
Jesse K. Tompkins December 11, 1929

LAKE VAN / DEXTER
Lake Van
Frank G. Campbell May 4, 1897
Milton H. Elford April 11, 1898
Discontinued - December 17, 1898

Dexter

Milton H. Elford August 26, 1902 Catherine Herbst February 6, 1937
Moses Schloss November 25, 1903 Denzel Luther Lee January 19, 1944
William F. Thaman November 6, 1906 Fernando W. Sadler April 30, 1948
Henry W. Embrey September 26, 1907 Norman W. Butts March 31, 1970
Allen P. Watters October 2, 1908 Nicholas Clemenza August 5, 1976
Clarence E. Ullrey June 11, 1912 Annie L. Lathrop (OIC) January 17, 1981
Ervin E. Brunk October 11, 1915 Weldon Smith (OIC) February 21, 1981
Frank Puckett July 17, 1917 Aileen Butts May 16, 1981
Mrs. Florence E. Knight December 21, 1921 Edward Allen Janssen (OIC) January 2, 1987
Gertrude E. Reid March 10, 1931 Harmon B. Clemmons Jr. March 28, 1987
J. Robert McNeil March 25, 1933
Denzel Luther Lee (acting) January 4, 1937

DUNKEN
Oscar J. Dunken November 25, 1908
William H. Cady July 28, 1914
Joseph A. Jones August 31, 1918

ELK

Bernard Cleve August 10, 1894 Lucille I. Coffman March 19, 1948
Angie L. Cleve January 7, 1914 Bernard D. Cleve Jr. June 6, 1949
Oris L. Cleve April 22, 1929 Aubrey R. Bond October 31, 1951
Angie L. Cleve November 26, 1935 Katherine A. Cleve October 26, 1953
Della P. Vickers April 1, 1947

ELKINS

George C. Cooper April 20, 1907

Roscoe T. Graves November 14, 1934

James O. Hicks August 12, 1912

Discontinued - April 30, 1943

Tina Cave June 22, 1918

Jack E. Aldridge January 16, 1948

Henry T. Hughes September 11, 1920

ELVA
Edwin M. Ulshoeffer June 23, 1910

FELIX

John A. Lafferty February 12, 1903 Susie Barefoot May 22, 1909
Hettie Browning March 22, 1904 Francis Elliott March 12, 1910
Phronia Lafferty January 16, 1908 Ora McLane November 5, 1910

FELIX #2
Eva M. White February 26, 1934

FLYING H
Clement Hendricks March 5, 1938
Simeon C. Williams January 3, 1956
Elsie C. Hendricks April 3, 1959

FRAZIER
William McKinley Smith April 27, 1937
Connie B. Hite July 9, 1941
Bessie Naomi Hite November 12, 1942
Alma Shields May 23, 1949

GREENFIELD
William E. Linton August 28, 1911
Rodney M. Hays July 13, 1912
George A. Douglas February 2, 1916

FELIZ / HAGERMAN

Arrington Boman Phillips May 4, 1894 Helen McBride Wimberly September 30, 1921
John W. Langford February 27, 1895 Cassius G. Mason April 17, 1922
Alfred N. Miller April 4, 1899 Robert W. Cumpsten March 1, 1935
Thomas B. Platt January 29, 1908 Alta M. Cumpsten (act) October 15, 1942
Charles M. Samford October 1, 1914 Robert W. Cumpsten March 31, 1943
Maggie E. Wimberly (act) December 17, 1919 Francis K. Boyce April 24, 1965
Arthur B. Wimberly May 6, 1920

Robert L. Luna June 3, 1978

Kennedy
Silas E. Kennedy June 2, 1888
George W. Wood November 13, 1889

LAKE ARTHUR

Joe J. Boyd November 4, 1904 Carmelita R. Shoemake April 16, 1965
Harry R. Daily November 12, 1908 Annie L. Smith (acting) July 29, 1966
Atlas V. Flowers December 14, 1910 Harry I. Martin August 25, 1967
Glen C. Morgan March 25, 1914 Mary J. Nelson June 30, 1973
Rufus F. Beasley May 22, 1916 Larry Craig (OIC) March 27, 1987
John Dickerson Lane November 23, 1933 Ellen Jeanette McNeil June 6, 1987
Annie Lee Smith (acting) March 20, 1964

Ruth Ann Brown July 30, 1999

LISTON
Henry G. Liston June 22, 1907

LOWER PENASCO

Jacob Billy Mathews November 11, 1884 Francis Walters November 16, 1901
Dora M. Mathews January 21, 1885 James R. Peck (acting) February 18, 1908
James F. Hinkle April 26, 1886 Jesse H. Sowell July 13, 1908
Metta Bryan March 19, 1887 James R. Beals December 24, 1910
Ella M. Mugg October 6, 1891 Jesse H. Sowell July 13, 1912
Mary B. Marsh July 7, 1894

Spivey L. Buck June 20, 1916

ROANOKE
Schuyler A. Ward March 25, 1908 

ROSWELL

Van C. Smith August 20, 1873 Charles H. Lutz December 18, 1930
George R. Smith February 11, 1874 Elza White January 3, 1932
Follett G. Christy February 16, 1877 Mary McCullough April 19, 1933
Daniel Carroll April 25, 1877 Arthur J. Meiering April 30, 1957
Van C. Smith June 8, 1877 Warren H. Baird June 29, 1973
Marshall A. Upson August 6, 1877 Hector Barraza (OIC) December 28, 1979
Joseph C Lea February 24, 1879 Kenneth D. Primrose June 14, 1980
William H. Cosgrove April 23, 1884 Frank Helms (OIC) August 17, 1984
Lucius K. McGaffey June 9, 1893 Jack D. Wilkins January 5, 1985
Jacob B. Mathews May 19, 1898 Earl Dorsey (OIC) June 23, 1987
Robert Kellahin June 28, 1904 Margaret Young (OIC) December 18, 1987
Arthur H. Rockafellow April 7, 1910 Gary L. Wiberg March 12, 1988
W. L. Radney August 25, 1914 James W. White (OIC) September 28, 1989
Mary L. White June 20, 1921 Susan E. (Wood) Davidson April 7, 1990

2005