News: Neillsville, Wis. - Rural Mail Carriers (Retiring - 1962)
Contact: Dolores Mohr Kenyon
Surnames: Yankee, Aspen, Krultz, Walk, Paulus, Forman, Neverman, Dudley, Huntley, Martin, Brown, Kurth
----Source: Clark County Press (Neillsville, Clark Co., WI.) October 25, 1962
Rural Mail Carriers (Retiring - 1962)
Two rural mail carriers out of the Neillsville postoffice who have a combined service of 92 years will carry their routes for the last time November 2, 1962.
They are Arnold Yankee, carrier on Route 2, who has served rural patrons out of the Neillsville postoffice for 48 years and eight months; and Ole Aspen, carrier on Route 3, who has carried mail for nearly 44 years.
The retirements were announced today by Mike Krultz, Jr., postmaster.
Yankee and Aspen will be honored at a banquet here November 3 arranged by the Clark County Rural Carriers’ Association. Rural mail carriers of the county, all members of the Neillsville postoffice staff and the wives of all of them, numbering approximately 70, are expected to attend.
In announcing the approaching retirements, Postmaster Krultz observed:
‘Clock-Like’ - "In addition to the enviable record of long, continuous and dependable service, each has performed his work with clock-like regularity and in many instances, far beyond the service normally required. To render additional service to the patrons on their routes was always a pleasure to them. Satisfied, pleased and cooperative patrons were the end result of their years of faithful, friendly, courteous and efficient service. With their retirement, the postal department is indeed losing two truly devoted and dedicated public servants.
"Congratulations for a job well done, and may the best of health and happiness follow them."
Starts as Janitor - Yankee, who started working in the postoffice as a janitor in 1911, while he was still in high school, has served longer than any other carrier in the history in the Neillsville office. When he became old enough, in 1913, he was appointed a substitute carrier for the late Hans Walk, Blucher Paulus, Wheeler Forman and Otto Neverman.
On many occasions in the next four years he was called out of school to take one of these four rural routes.
"Usually that happened when there was a bad storm or the snow was deep," he ruefully recalled for the Clark County Press.
On March 1, 1917, Yankee received a six-month probationary appointment which was made permanent at the end of that time. That was an eventful year for Yankee, for in 1917 with the nation engaged in World War I, he joined the army and was absent from his postoffice job for 17 months.
When Yankee started carrying a rural route, he made the 27-mile trip by horse. Today his route covers 82 miles, along which he serves 1,048 patrons through 231 boxes.
For the first 32 or 33 years of his service, Yankee delivered mail in the Town of York. When the late Hans Walk retired, his route was extended into the Shortville area. His route today runs through the Sydney, Columbia and Dells Dam areas, south and southwest of Neillsville. In more than 48 years of service Yankee estimates he used seven or eight horses, which he could not recall exactly, and 45 automobiles. It has been by policy to change cars every year.
The work of a rural mail carrier was long and at times trying. On many occasions during those early years, snow storms, forced both Yankee and Aspen to stay out overnight and continue their routes the following day. In the winter, during those early years, too, the only surfaced road to the area was Highway 10, Yankee recalls.
"We traveled more on the field during the winters than we did on the roads," Yankee recalled.
Neither Yankee nor Aspen have taken the time to figure how many miles they have traveled during their many years on the job.
"It would be almost impossible to figure," commented Aspen, "because the routes varied so much in distance from time to time."
Yankee’s service goes back to the time when the postoffice was located in the Eberhardt building, now occupied by Russell’s hardware store. At that time, he recalled, Neillsville had only plank sidewalks - no concrete.
Both men have served under six postmasters: A. E. Dudley, William Huntley, Sr., Maj. A. C. Martin, Benjamin Brown, Louis W. Kurth and Mr. Krultz.
At Columbia: -- Aspen started his postal service out of the postoffice at Columbia, southwest of Neillsville. At that time he carried 24 miles one day and 27 miles on the alternate days. Today on Rt. 3, Aspen makes 88 ½ miles per day, serving 1,451 patrons through 337 boxes. Route 3 covers Christie, Globe and Hewettville areas and the Day’s Corner area, three miles south of the city.
Aspen worked out of the Columbia postoffice for a year and one-half, and then the postoffice there was discontinued. At the time of his transfer to the Neillsville postoffice he was carrying a route 32 miles long. During the winters and in the spring for 15 years he used horses; then was the snowmobiles, and in later years the route had been covered by automobile. Aspen recalls using 24 cars during his 44 years of service.
(Transcriber’s note: I remember Mr. Aspen as our mail man for many years.)
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