Man for all seasons, Addison Lysander Lincencum, left behind a journal he kept while servings as post master for the El Campo Post Office that reveals his dedication to rules and obedience to said rules. A selected few gives insight to his no-nonsense role as postmaster between 1936-1941.
May 19, 1936: “Rural carriers - Your cases must be free from accumulation of papers and personal effects and kept clean. Initial after reading. Brekman* JMB* Reber [blank] Greer [blank]”
May 1936: “All clerks and sub-clerks must enter time reporting on duty and time leaving duty on time register. Hereafter, your paycheck will cover only actual recorded hours.”
May 1936: “Regulations forbid employees not on duty to enter or visit the work room. Hereafter carefully observe this rule. Clerks: Homer Glaze, JI Christenberry, WC Anthis, CJ Morris, EZ Azbill; sub clerks: Nicholas Hill, EL Swindell.”
July 1936: “Colored pencils will now be used by clerks to mark reading of notices. Christenberry/green, Azbill/orange, Swindell/yellow, Morris/brown, Anthis/blue (and) Hill/red.”
July 1936: “Any mail put in wrong box and returned by patron must be reported to (postmaster) or (assistant postmaster) IMMEDIATELY.”
July 1937: “All clerks will weigh to compute postage on parcels – sell - then deliver postage to Mailer [postal patron] who must affix postage to said parcel. Post office employees will discontinue affixing postage stamps on parcels. Keep sharp lookout for short paid [insufficient postage] incoming/outgoing mail. Short paid must be collected prior to delivery or sending.”
January 1938: “Do not forget your individual responsibility. Keep your stamp drawer locked when off duty and sell from your own drawer ONLY. Keep balance current.”
April 1938: “ALL employees - regulations limit work room to employees actually on duty, all others FORBIDDEN entrance at all times. You are cautioned to enforce this rule. Read & initial [w/colored pencil] Amended: messengers from newspapers will be permitted to enter to deposit sacks/pouches under direct supervision of a clerk on duty. Freight handlers permitted to deliver freight into back end of workroom under direct supervision of employee on duty.”
November 1938: “To All Clerks - complaints are numerous, charging wrong mail found in private boxes - evidence of extreme carelessness in performance of duty. Beginning today each clerk will mark each piece of mail they handle with assigned colored pencil. Each returned letter will be checked by supervisor and given to (the postmaster) who will record demerits for carelessness on service record.”
July 1939: “All rural carriers, Star (Route) carriers and sub-carriers are again reminded regulations forbid you entering money order cage for any purpose. Hereafter you will transact all business with clerk at the shelf at back door of (money order) cage or at desk located just outside cage.” [colored pencil check marks placed to denote notice read and understood]
May 1940: “Dispatching & Receiving clerks - attention called again of importance of cancellation of stamps on outgoing and incoming mail as uncanceled stamps can be used again causing loss of revenue. Receipt of uncanceled stamp must be reported at once to (postmaster) and stamps canceled before delivery. Demerits do not help your service record. Your salaries are paid by sales and use of postage stamps. [clerks initial notice].”
August 1940: “Too much laxity in general service; greater efficiency is desired. Beginning Aug. 27, 1940, each employee will remain constantly on duty until your hour assigned for lunch. No employee will leave work room except on specific instructions from (the postmaster).”
Dec. 5, 1941: “All clerks distributing mail must mark each piece of mail with colored pencil assigned. Each piece mail placed in wrong box and returned mail MUST BE delivered immediately to (the postmaster) or Christenberry who will list number of errors committed on file of that clerk for penalty. Each clerk will sign opposite of color assigned. [instead of clerk using/keeping up with colored pencil Postmaster Lincecum colors signing lines for check mark]”
Dec. 11, 1941: [3 days after attack on Pearl Harbor] “All clerks and workroom personnel will cease using (postmaster’s) office as thoroughfare. Special orders from (the Post Office Department) specifically warns at no time will any person not a bonded employee be permitted to enter workroom and then only when on duty.
“We are at war with Japan-Germany-Italy and every caution against possible depredation, damage or sabotage to a government building and the mails must be taken. The department has requested each employee buy U.S. Savings Bonds and stamps according to their ability.” *U.S. Savings Bonds was government way to help pay for World War II startup expenses; like bank savings bonds purchase was for less than face value.
– The story above is Part 8 of The History of the El Campo Post Office written by Wharton County historian Merle R. Hudgins. The multi-part series runs on the first and third Saturdays of the month in the El Campo Leader-News. For earlier articles in the series, pick up the editions at the Leader-News office, 203 E. Jackson, or look online at www.leader-news.com for past editions.