Saturday, March 14, 2009

Carrying the Mail to Conifer

In 1895, Maggie Crow and Naomi Found volunteered to carry mail to Medlen, nine miles from Morrison, to prove up a mail route. After the trial period, the U.S. government contracted with Will Crow, Maggie's husband, and Maggie carried the mail for two years, using a wagon like this one. The photo was taken in 1907, during Will's second contract period, when Maggie shared duties with her daughter Dora. Left to right, front: Maggie (on wagon), Kate Snedeker, Julia Morris, Vern Crow, Edith Snedeker, Dora Crow Snedeker. On porch, Mrs. Clark Snedeker, Oliver Overman, Patsy Snedeker, and Clark Snedeker.

As Maggie tells it (read the rest of her story here):

Mrs. Anna Biggar was named Postmaster for the Medlen Post Office located about nine miles from Morrison on Turkey Creek. Mrs. Maggie Crow and Mrs. Naomi Found volunteered to carry the mail, each coming one day a week in turn to Morrison for the Medlen mail.

On October 15,1895, the Medlen Post Office was established and mail service started. At the end of the six months period when the cancellation money was divided, Mrs. Anna Biggar received $1.46 as her share as Postmaster and Maggie Crow and Naomi Found each received $.73 as their pay for carrying the mail.

At the end of the six months the contract was let and mail service was then established daily between Morrison and Hutchinson via Turkey Creek and the Medlen Post Office. W. L. Crow was awarded the first contract starting on April 15, 1896, to July 1, 1898, at which time mail contracts were let for the period of four years. So on April 15, 1896 the mail route was started between Morrison and Hutchinson with Maggie Crow as mail carrier.

There was no free delivery of mail along the route at this time. Each patron of the route paying the mail carrier 25 cents a month for delivering the mail to their box. Owing to the fact that mail for the Hutchinson Colorado was often missent to Hutchinson Kansas, early in 1897 the Postmaster of Hutchinson, Douglas Hamer, had the name of the Post Office changed to Conifer.

In 1898 when all Star Routes were let for four years, Andrew Johnson was awarded the contract. At the end of Johnson's term, Miner Lewis was awarded the next four year contract. In 1902 or 1903 the Medlen Post Office was discontinued. Following the Miner Lewis contract, W. L. Crow was awarded the contract in 1906, with Maggie Crow and her daughter Dora taking turns carrying the mail with a two horse stage, often driving through deep snow, and breaking their own roads during the winter months.

W. L. Crow was followed by Joe Hocking as mail carrier. During the time Mr. Hocking carried the mail, he had the route changed to come down North Turkey Creek from Conifer to Morrison in order to give the residents of North Turkey Creek daily mail service. And from Morrison to Conifer up South Turkey Creek as originally established. Following the Joe Hocking contract, Robert Kemp was awarded the mail contract in 1914. Mr. Kemp was the first one to use an automobile on the route, thus ending the horse and buggy days though at times in the winter months when the roads were bad he had to use horses in order to get the mail through.

Mt. Morrison Honor Roll

Ruth Matthews Schneider poses in front of a mural honoring men enlisting in World War II. The men represent families from Morrison proper (Denbow, Fleming, Hocking), as well as outlying areas from Conifer (Turkey Creek, including LeGault, Granzella, Snedeker) to Lakewood, east along Bear Creek (McCoy, VanGorden). The local VFW Post is named after Paul Westover, who was the first local boy to be killed. He died in the Battle of the Bulge, 1944-45.

A Family Enterprise

Sam Hebrew (1857-1932) and Nora Smith (1876-1947) started a long-term business serving tourists at the Gateway Stables, leading donkey trains into the scenic Garden of the Angels, known today as Red Rocks Park. Nora was the daughter of Jeremiah and Margaret (Healy) Smith, one of the original Morrison families.

The Gateway Stables, founded by Sam and Nora Hebrew, provided access to Red Rocks Park via burro. Daughters Bertha Marie and Bonnie grew up on donkeys. Bertha lived in Morrison her whole life, taking over the family business and continuing to serve Morrison tourists. She married a Morrison boy, Curt LaGrow, and cooked homestyle meals for tourists and boarders.

School Days

James E. Parsons, Sr., was in 5th grade at the Mt. Morrison school in about 1919. In this photo, he is third from left in the center row. Parsons later worked for the Morrison Monitor, one of the town's early newspapers. Courtesy Parsons Family.

Morrison Town Band

This gathering of musical talent represents a "who's who" of early Morrison families, including the town's innkeeper (2nd from left), shoemaker (4th), apothecary (7th), and livery owner (right). Others include several town fathers who were the first aldermen elected in 1906. From left, at Red Rocks, the Morrison Town Band in 1910: Lawrence LaGrow, John Swanson, Francis Ewan, Pete Christenson, Evans, unknown, Jake Schneider, unknown, Pete Nelson, Pete Schneider, and James Abbo.

Today's musicmakers, honoring the past, also call themselves the Morrison Town Band. Their performances are the highlight of town events, most recently the "Cabin Fever Dance" held January 31st. Left to right, Lucky, Jamee, and Chris on stage.

By the middle of the evening (above), the dance floor was crowded with lively town residents and guests of all ages. Most enjoyed a "freestyle" approach; Loren and Sue, center, were the couple to watch!

Before the festive evening got in full swing, dance instructor Lila (right) gave a few lessons to early comers. Here Margaret tries a two-step ahead of the crowd.

Walt sat in with the band a while, playing a custom guitar he built himself, which Gus is admiring as Steve looks on in this photo.