Skip to main content

Craighead County Post Office Records

 Collection
Identifier: ASTATE-2018-01-06

Scope and Contents

The Craighead County Post Office Records (10 linear fett) contain 14 record books and are organized into two series: First Class Post Office (3 subseries) and Fourth Class Post Offices (6 subseries).

Dates

  • 1892 - 1912

Conditions Governing Access

This manuscript collection consists of physical materials. This collection has not been digitized. This collection is open for research use only in the Archives' Reading Room. It is not available for request through Interlibrary Loan. Please contact the archive via email (Archive-L@astate.edu) at least a week in advance of your arrival to ensure the availability of the material.

Historical

In 1896 Rural Free Delivery (RFD) was implemented by the Postal Service in Virginia and expanded to 29 other states, including Arkansas, within a year. Arkansas’s first rural delivery route opened in October in 1896 and was based out of Clarksville, Arkansas. Prior to RFD, the 65% of Americans living in rural areas had to travel to the nearest post office to pick up their mail, while citizens living in urbanized areas had their mail delivered to their home. Due to a sharp rise in use of the postal system following the implementation of RFD, the Fourth Class Post Office classification was expanded. Unlike First Class offices, Fourth Class offices were run by private citizens who earned a commission based on P.O. box rentals, packaging materials sold, and cancelled stamps as well as how much waste paper, old newspapers, and printed matter were brought in for recycling. Among the many Fourth Class Post Offices opened, this collection documents six locations established in the Jonesboro area. Five of the offices were located in Craighead County: Hasbrook, Greensboro, Herndon, Gilkeson, and Craighead. Vernon Minton ran the office in Hasbrook from June 1900 to November 1900. J.W. Johnson ran the Greensboro office from 1892-1906. Hernndon’s Fourth Class Post office was opened in 1892 by H.R. Schisler, who ran it until 1895, followed by W.H. Smith, who took over from 1904-1906. The sixth post office was slightly further north in Greene County at Lorado and run by Postmaster H. W. Cathy from 1909-1913. Meanwhile the official First and Second Class Post Office in Jonesboro was run by Postmaster Henry Houghton from 1900-1910. Henry Houghton was born in 1859 and began working in the post office as a clerk. He was promoted to the Postmaster’s assistant position and eventually earned the title Postmaster for himself. He died in 1920 leaving his wife, Martha Houghton, and two children. The Jonesboro Post Office was likely established in the 1880s when the Cotton Belt Railroad went through the city. Free city delivery was a staple service in addition to money orders, selling stamps, and renting boxes. This post office continues to serve Jonesboro today.

Extent

10 Linear Feet (The Craighead County Post Office Records contain 14 bound volumes. )

Abstract

This collection documents the Post Office system in and around Jonesboro during the early 20th century. During that period, First Class and Fourth Class Post Offices worked together to provide an essential service to the largely rural community. This collection includes Post Office record books which record postage sold, undelivered mail, official correspondence, and wages or commission earned. The material in the collection was generated by the postmasters- primarily Henry Houghton - and tracks the expansion of the postal system in rural Arkansas at the turn of the century.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The collection was trasferred to Archives and Special Collections by the Arkansas State University Museum in 2013.

Accruals

Further additions to the collection are not expected.
Title
Craighead County Post Office Records Finding Aid
Status
Completed
Author
Meredith McFadden; Flora Smith, Editor
Date
2018-12-01
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
English

Repository Details

Part of the Archives and Special Collections - Dean B. Ellis Library Repository

Contact:
Arkansas State University
Dean B. Ellis Library
P.O. Box 2040
State University AR 72467 United States
870-972-2987
870-972-3199 (Fax)