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Del Bonita Post Office

Heritage of the High Country
A History of Del Bontia and
surrounding Districts Page 59 - 61

The Del Bonita post office was established I June 1914. During 1912 and 1913 there was no post office in the Lease country. Some people had mail come to Woolford, and others received it in Magrath. When anyone went to Magrath, mail was usually brought back for the neighbors and left at Mrs. Waters' home to be picked up from there. In 1913 a meeting was held at the home of Mrs. Emma Waters SW 19-1-21 for the purpose of petitioning the government for a post office. Mrs. Waters suggested the name "Del Bonita", which she said meant "Beautiful Valley". The valley where she and several other settlers lived was beautiful with flowers, lush green grass, and a trickling stream.

On May 6, 1914, it was announced that post offices would be established in Del Bonita and Hacke in the Lease country. Once a week the mail was brought from Magrath. William Newton, later John Bridge then Joe Alston served as mail carriers. Trips with teams and wagons or sleigh were long and arduous over those early prairie trails, but the Royal Mail always came through. Casey Jones succeeded Jack Bridge as mail carrier. It was while Casey was mail carrier, probably about 1918 that the mail route was changed to bring the mail from Cardston through Whiskey Gap to Del Bonita and Twin River. When mail came from Cardston the service was increased to three times a week. Casey Jones was the first mail man to use a car when weather permitted. In winter, or when roads were muddy, he used a team and buggy or sleigh.

In 1927 Frank Vesper succeeded Casey Jones as mail man. He travelled the mail route in all kinds of weather and road conditions for sixteen years. Sometimes Carl Darling drove for him. In 1943 Frank Vesper gave up the route for health reasons, and turned the contract over to the Cooper Transport of Cardston. The Max Pitcher transport took over the service from Cooper Transport, followed by Beazer Transport, and Cardston Express.

From 1914 to 1937 the post office was in the William Newton home. If weather and roads were bad and mail was late arriving, the patrons didn't complain. They availed themselves of the opportunity to visit with neighbors from far and near. When Casey Jones delivered the mail three times a week from Cardston he stopped at the post office on his way to Cardston to pick up outgoing mail, and the next day brought the incoming mail back. When he could use his car he would make the return trip in one day.

Official records show that the Del Bonita Post office in the electoral district of Lethbridge, Alberta was established I June, 1914.

Name....................................Date of........................Date of
............................................Appointment.................Vacancy
William Newton....................1-6-1914.....................16-5-1933
Mrs. Catherine J. Newton......19-6-1933...................16-4-1937
Thomas Andrew Wolsey.......30-6-1937.................17-8-1938
Celdar LaVerne Collett.........22-8-1938..................acting
Celdar LaVerne Collett.........6-2-1939....................12-1949
Hubert L. West.....................1-1-1950...................acting
Hubert L. West.....................15-3-1950..................15-2-1963
Mrs. Grace W. West..............21-2-1963..................acting
Mrs. Iris Henry.......................31-5-1963.................1968
.............................................1-8-1968 Still in office in 1980.

Iris and Edgar Henry operate the Del Bonita Store and Post Office. Mail is brought from Cardston three times a week, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Iris Henry is postmaster and notes that when she took over in 1968 letter rates were five cents. After several successive raises the first class letter rate is seventeen cents. Parcel post rates have increased accordingly.

Iris Henry enjoys her duties as postmaster. She and Edgar serve the public efficiently and cheerfully. The store and post office is still the place where neighbors stay to visit at mail time. It is the only rural post office between Cardston and Milk River.

The Del Bonita post office is vital to the area from Rinard to Twin River, and north to Crystal Springs Colony. Everyone is grateful for the service rendered by the postmaster and the mail carrier. There is also grateful respect for those former mail carriers who braved all kinds of weather and roads to carry out their duties, and for the many people who have served the areas as postmasters.

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Copyright 2000
Mary Tollestrup