Camp Cody Has Big Post Office
Fitted to serve 100,000; Conveniences Modern; Work Never Halts.
A visit to Camp Codys' post office was an incident of interest recently. The big building with its excellent Arrangement, full equipment and big detail of soldier assistants to the regular post office employees is one of the places in the camp where work never ceases and hurry is not the order of the hour but of the ever-present minute. Major Philpot's office axiom, "for God's sake hurry," does not need to be visibly posted in this place of activity. They either hurry of their own accord or see themselves buried alive in a deluge of mail, outgoing and incoming.
Clerk in charge O.C. Fisber was asked about his office and its experiences, and he had this to say. "Contrary to general belief, mail to and from soldiers in Camp Cody is handled with all the dispatch and accuracy in distribution that obtains in the largest cities in the union, although the task is much more difficult by reason of the fact that the soldiers' correspondents are often mistaken as to the units to which they are attached, and often address then by nicknames, which of course do not appear in the directory.
We have to deal not only with all kinds of chirography, but with addresses in all languages of the civilized nations of the globe. The mother tongues of Xenophobe, Dante, Cervantes, Tolstoy, Victor Hugo, the Kaiser and others to numerous to mention appear in endless procession. Jokers address letters in the Morse and Semaphore codes and shorthand. However, we manage to translate them all. Some of them show a positive genius for misspelling the names of post offices, though as the average of education is higher in military camps than in the cities, this proportion is most great."
Some Queer Addresses - "We have learned that 'Neuva Yorka' is New York; 'Sn. F. Co.' is San Francisco; 'Norlens' is New Orleans, and 'Nieu Jersi' is New Jersey. In phonetics we have 'Albqkerki', 'Petti Looma' and 'She Cargo'. But these are the least of our troubles. Much of our mail is directed to Deming without anything to show that it is intended for a soldier. These are referred to the directory which contains the names and ranks of all assigned soldiers."
"Unfortunately, we have no mind reader to supply addresses of mail simply addressed 'Pvt. Johnson, Camp Cody', 'Corpl. Jones,' or may be his name is Smith, and the hundreds that Sammy forgot to address and put is return card on." "Many of the consignment are packed in flimsy containers. After travelling several days under a hundred sacks of mail they may confidently be expected to resemble pancakes composed of hash. Often they announce their arrival, if not in a dead language, at least in a decayed one."
Has Trained Force - The following men are employed in the Camp Cody post office.
O.C. Fisher, Superintendent, resides in New Orleans; 26 years continuous experience in post offices in Atlanta, Ga., Milwaukee, Louisville and New Orleans.
Roy R. Range, dispatcher-mailing division, resides in Dallas, Texas; six years experience in Dallas office.
Rex H. Anderson, dispatcher mailing division; resides in Dallas, Texas was sic years money order division in Dallas.
E. F. Serg. chief distributor incoming section; resides in Dallas five years' experience in Dallas office.
Elmer Gustafson, distributor incoming section; resides in Minneapolis, four years experience in Minneapolis office.
Albert Carison, stamp clerk; resides in Minneapolis; six years experience in Minneapolis.
J. A. Hubbard, distributor incoming section; resides in St. Louis, Mo.; 11 years experience in St. Louis office. Charles Wilms, distributor incoming section; resides in St. Louis; 14 years experience in St. Louis.
C. G. Alger, correspondence clerk; resides in St. Louis; has had 16 years experience in St. Louis in postmaster's office and money order division; served in bureau of information, World's fair.
C. L. Barbazon, money order and registry clerk; resides in Dallas, Texas; eight years experience as distributor in city division, Dallas.
Bernamrd Herr, clerk outgoing section; three years experience in Minneapolis post office. Resides in Minneapolis.
E. F. Wickland, clerk outgoing section; resides in Minneapolis; three years experience in Minneapolis office.
H. A. Steinforf, clerk outgoing section' resides in Minneapolis; two years experience in Minneapolis as distributor mailing division.
"The letters we get from irate correspondents! Great Scott! You ought to read some of them. They call us every name under the sun and then some. It is a common thing for us to get letters endorsed, "Deliver to addressee only"; when the addressed is in the trenches 11 miles away, and then have the writer enlist the services of his congressman in the effort to have us discharged for not doing so."
Equal to City of 100,000 - "We do about the same amount of business as the average city of 100,000 inhabitants. Our stamp cancellations are about $700 per day on some 25,000 pieces of outgoing mail. The incoming mail is slightly in excess of this. Incoming registers average about 200 per day and parcels and papers about 250 sacks." "With our small force we are compelled to work from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. with an allowance of 30 minutes for each meal."
"No, the lot of the postal employee in a military camp is not a happy one, even if three representatives of the post office department have investigated us and declared this office to be a model one. But we are not complaining. We are out here to help Uncle Sam and his soldiers and we are not only doing it willingly but gladly."
The Unit operated until December of 1918 when Camp Cody was demobilized. One section of the orders specified:
"You will proceed at the same time to salvage and abandon Camp Cody and will dispose of all supplies and transportation except those pertaining to the base hospital, in accordance with instructions received from the chief of supply departments concerned."
On December 10, 1918, the Base Hospital Branch Post Office was opened about "2.5 miles by traveled road west of Deming. The hospital complex was located on the far west side of Camp Cody. Postmaster Fould stated that the post office was located one mile north of the Southern Pacific Railroad.
With a volume of business from January 1917, to January 1918, amounting to over $90,000 on stamps and stamped paper alone, the Deming post office has won the right to be classed as a first class post office, and the change will go into effect on July 1st, according to instructions that Postmaster W. E. Foulks received from Washington this week.
Under ordinary circumstances a first class post office is usually housed in a building provided by the federal government, but under a recent decision of congress no new buildings will be erected until after the war, nor will any advances be made in the salaries paid to postmasters of offices of this class. This will not prevent the local office, however, from enjoying certain privileges after the first of next month that it has not been accorded in the past.
The amount of business handled here really entitles Deming to a new and larger building that it has at present, as the business has greatly outgrown the accommodations now available. The operation of the post office here, which includes the branch office at Camp Cody, has been meeting with the approval of the examiner from the department on all occasions, and Postmaster Foulks and his staff have been highly commended by those in authority for the manner in which they handle the immense amount of work that passes through this office.
In addition to the amount derived from the sale of stamped paper, there are the departments handling money orders, postal savings, war and thrift stamps, and revenue stamps, which are not included in the total on which the department made the change, and Mr. Foulks says that each of these has shown a continual increase all during the past year. If the present rate is maintained the sales of stamped paper will run close to $125,000 for the year ending December 1918. Mr Foulks is trying to have another local carrier placed in service to assist in the mail delivery, but he has not yet succeeded in completing his arrangements in this matter.