Early History of the Turkey Creek Mail Route: 1895 to 1914
by Maggie Crow
In Maggie Crow’s own words, here is the story of the early days of mail delivery from Morrison to Conifer.
Until the year 1895 the residents of Turkey Creek, between Morrison and what is now known as Conifer, were serviced by the Morrison Post office but had no mail delivery, All the people came to Morrison for their mail. The residents of the Hutchinson District, later known as Conifer, had mail service from Evergreen.
Early in the summer of 1895, a meeting was held at the Medlen school house by the residents of Turkey Creek, to talk over matters and try to formulate a plan to get a Post Office established and also to get daily mail service on Turkey Creek. A committee was appointed and instructed to write to Washington D.C. to get information as how to proceed. The reply came in due time. They would have to choose or appoint someone to act as Postmaster, and also someone would have to volunteer to carry the mail twice a week between the Post Office and Morrison for a period of six months. A contract would then be let for a daily mail service between Morrison and Hutchinson, via Turkey Creek and the proposed Medlen Post Office. For the six months period while establishing the Post Office, the Postmaster and Volunteer Mail Carrier were each to receive half of the cancellations as their pay.
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.
Miner Lewis was the father of my grandmother’s first husband Howard Miner Lewis. He was killed in WWI in France and is buried there.
In transcribing my great-grandfather’s journal of his years in the Colorado Territory I am searching for additional information on the following very brief entries:
“On Feb 20th 1869 I returned to Nevada City and Located Ranch in Little Fountain Elpaso Col. Cdo [i.e. Colorado] Moved in Same April 9th 1869.
In Feb and March 1872 we built Cutoff road over hills to Turkey Creek. Last work that Father done in Colo. [i.e. Colorado].”
My great-great grandfather was Charles Theodore Badger and his father was Amasa Mason Badger.
Could you please direct me to wherever/whomever can enlighten me on the building of that cutoff road to Turkey Creek back in 1872?
To George Rodier: I am an amateur historian for this area and believe you could look into the first Bradford Road (Major Robert Bradford)that was built over to South Turkey Creek from present day Ken Caryl Ranch ,over steep hills. This toll road was considered too steep and was rerouted.
This time frame is 1860: then, the toll road that came to Bradford Junction from Evergreen and joined the wagon road.after joining these two roads, the toll road continued on to the mines at Fairplay and Tarryall.
Possibly this is the toll road you are interested in.