The Indian Territory in the Civil War Message Board

Mail delivery in Indian Territory

I remember someone asking about mail delivery. This was on Rootsweb under OKbits.

Early Postal System
1861 - 1864
After the Confederate States of America was formed, one of the major obstacles was the formation of a postal system. The delivery of mail in the Choctaw Nation was very sporadic. On Mar 6, 1861, President DAVIS appointed John H. REAGAN of Texas as Postmaster General and assigned him the task of building a functional system. It appeared the job was too big for Mr. REAGAN. The system continued to be chaotic. The Nation was divided into numbered routes. Route 407, formerly U.S. Route 7949, had been operated under a U. S. contract for two trips per week at the rate of $975.00 per annum. REAGAN advertised for bids on the route described from Ft. Washita, by Tishomingo to Ft. Arbuckle in Garvin County, seventy miles and back, once a week, leaving Ft. Washita Wednesday at 6:00 a.m., arriving at Ft. Arbuckle the next day by 6:00 p.m., leaving Ft. Arbuckle Friday at 6:00 a.m. and arriving at Ft. Washita the next day by 6:00 p.m.
Two bids were received and the contract was awarded to David W. HEARD of Ft. Smith for $1100.00 per annum to commence Oct. 1, 1862.
Sometime in the fall of 1862 under arrangement of HEARD'S agent, David C. BETTS began carrying the mail over this route; and apparently throughout 1863 the service was maintained by him with regularity from Ft. Washita to Ft. Arbuckle. The post office at Tishomingo was discontinued May 18, 1863. As Route 407 was in one sense an extension of Route 410 (Ft. Washita to Doaksville) it is somewhat confusing why the routes were bid separately. Mr. HEARD received this contract also for the amount of $1250.00 per year.
Sometime in the spring of 1863, the contractor turned the carrying of the mail on both Routes 407 and 410 over to David C. BETTS.
On June 28, 1864 David BETTS wrote to the Trans-Mississippi Agency at Marshall:
I have carried the mail on Route No. 410 from Doaksville to Ft. Washita in the Choctaw Nation for twelve months commencing on the first day of January 1863 and ending on the first day of January 1864 under the contract and by the authority of David W. Heard. D. W. Heard employed me for one year for which he was to pay me one thousand nine hundred dollars for which I have his written contract, payable quarterly as the Department paid him. Now the last I have heard or know of D. W. Heard he was on his way to Mexico with a train and I don't know now where he is and I have never received any part of or particle of my pay from said Heard. I have a certificate from the postmaster at Doaksville that I carried the mail for the time above stated. Now I wish to inquire of you what process I will have to pursue to obtain my just dues from the Post Office Department. You will confer a great favour by giving me the necessary and proper instructions. You will please answer this at your earliest convenience. Address me at Armstrong Academy.
Respectfully, David C. Betts
On January 14, 1864 BETTS delivered the last mail and refused to carry any longer, until he received his pay or observance of it, from the Post Office Department.
Unfortunately, the records are silent on whether David C. BETTS did or did not receive remuneration, albeit in fast depreciating Confederate currency, for his year of service to the Confederacy.
Carl in Hangtown
Carl Phillips

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Mail delivery in Indian Territory
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