Gem County,  ID GenWeb project


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Reading & References
Sharon McConnel,
Gem County Coordinator

Sixteen Postmasters Served Emmett in Twelve Different Locations

November 17, 1938, unspecified Emmett newspaper (clipping saved by my mother)

With the recent assignment of a new postmaster, we are re-print- ing the history of the Emmett Postoffice which was written by Mrs. W. W. Parrish several years ago:

"In the year 1864 a man by the name of Nathaniel Martin built a ferry boat for transportation across the Payette river near the present Emmett bridge. As this was on the route of the Umatilla-Placerville stage line a postoffice was established at this place and was called Martinsville. Mr. Martin was the postmaster. The office was in Mr. Martin's home, a log cabin with a dirt covered roof. The office was there for five years.

On Nov. 1, 1869, the office was discontinued and Martinsville was without a postoffice for eight months. The residents here got their mail during that time at Falk Store, 12 miles down the valley. In July 1870, a new postoffice was established at a place called "Payette Ranch," which was locate about seven miles from Martinsville, near where the town of Letha is situated. Thomas D. Cahalan, a young lawyer from Missouri, was appointed postmaster. They named the postoffice Emmettsville, in honor of his small son, Emmett Cahalan, who was then about seven years of age, and now lives in Bruneau valley, Idaho. In a short time Mr. Cahalan desired to move to Boise and practice law so the postoffice was moved to the old site of Martinsville, and Mr. Martin was again appointed postmaster, but the office retained the name of Emmettsville. The office continued there until 1876, when Douglas Knox received the appointment and the office was moved to Mr. Knox's residence, about two miles from the ferryboat site. In 1879 Mr. Knox moved to Boise and William Warren, assistant postmaster, took it over and the office was moved to the Burdge grist mill, a mile farther down the river. It continued there until 1881, and Aaron Bascomb, proprietor of a hotel in Emmett. was appointed postmaster.

In a short time William Hamersley, a saloonkeeper, was appointed postmaster, and the office was moved to a room adjoining the saloon, which was located on what is now lower Main street. After a great deal of complaint about the office being in a saloon, Mr. Hamersley erected a new building about 50 feet east of the saloon. He sold the saloon and continued postmaster until about 1889, when Miss Elsie Wardwell, now Mrs. E. K. HayeS, was appointed. The office still continued in the building. She was succeeded by Hugh Fulton. The office wal moved then to a building situated on lower Main street. Stephen Dempsey succeeded Fulton and the office was moved again to a store building on lower Main.

Ed Allen received the next appointment and the office was moved to the McNish and Allen store on lower Main street. Dave Smithson was appointed, next and the office was moved to its present location. Ed Waring followed Smithson and S. D. Riggs (now Senator Riggs of Gem county) succeeded Waring, and R. R. Coon, the present postmaster, got in line. Thus 16 different postmasters served in 12 different locations during the 69 years."

Since the article was written, the late J. W. Tyler served as postmaster for nearly five years and Clare G. Zimmerman was appointed as acting postmaster upon Mr. Tyler's death.


Copyright © 2009 - Sharon McConnel. All Rights Reserved.