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Carroll County Iowa

Postal History Census

to 1930

    About ten years ago, I began seriously collecting the postal history of Carroll County, IA, where I grew up. My collection since has grown to a 7-frame, national level exhibit, including relevant RPOs and HPOs as well as various town cancellations.

    The exhibit has done well, winning several national level vermeil medals and AAPE Awards. Still, there remain many gaping holes in the exhibit, and some of the covers I have were more difficult that I would have imagined.

    Over the years, 22 different post offices have operated in Carroll County under 25 different names, and only twelve of those offices remain in operation today. Of the 25 different town names, I only have examples from 20, including Carrollton (the county’s first post office), Benan, Browning, Roselle and Willey (four other 19th Century prairie hamlets).

    Although Richard Helbock’s U.S. Post Offices Volume III–The Upper Midwest (La Posta Pub. 1999), gives a relative Scarcity Index (S/I) rating for Carrollton of only 4 on a scale of 0 (operating) to 9 (impossible to find or virtually so), and a 5 for Benan, I know of only two covers extant from Benan and six from Carrollton. I have seen only three covers from Browning (S/I 6), three from Roselle (S/I 5), and two from Willey (S/I 5). Until very recently, I also was unable to find covers or cards from some DPOs which, according to Helbock’s Scarcity Index, probably should be available, such as Elba (S/I 2) and Maple River Junction (S/I 2).  Only in the April, 2010 Iowa Postal History Society Auction did I finally find one cover from Elba and three from Maple River Junction.  I still have not found reference to any covers from Kentner (S/I 5). Also, even for some towns with currently operating post offices, such as Halbur, classical material has proved very difficult to find.

    Does this material not exist, or am I just looking in the wrong places?

    Another problem is finding information on when certain markings were used. While there are references covering the periods of use of certain types of cancellations, such as the flag cancels, Doanes, and RFD cancellations, there is no available reference on other types of Carroll County markings. I am also uncertain how complete even those references are, at least regarding the hand cancellations.

    What I propose, therefore, is a survey to get a better feel for what classical Carroll County material is out there, what types of markings exist, and dates of usage of the various markings. By "classical," I mean hand and manuscript cancellations, circular date stamps, postmarks, and collateral markings through about 1930. I would exclude the machine cancellations as the flag cancellations already are well covered in Frederick Langbord’s Standard Flag Cancel Encyclopedia.

    For this survey, of course, I need help from other Iowa Postal History Society members and others. I would appreciate full-sized scans or photocopies of classical Carroll County covers, including the back of the cover if it has relevant markings. Scans would be preferable as the quality generally will be better than a photocopy. If you are unable or unwilling to send either a scan or a photocopy, I would appreciate at least a description of the markings and the date or some description of the cover or stamp from which a general date may be estimated.

    I hope to develop from this survey/census a starting point for future research regarding what markings exist and the periods during which the markings were used. I intend to post the results of this research here.

    I promise to keep ownership information regarding particular items confidential, although I would like to generally acknowledge any contributing members in this journal unless they would prefer to remain anonymous. In any event, thank you in advance for any help you may be able to provide me in this endeavor.

Robert R. Henak

P.O. Box 170832

Milwaukee, WI 53217


   Click on the city name to see its postal markings:


Arcadia 1871 - Date 0
Benan 1891 - 1901 5
Breda 1878 - Date 0
Browning 1869 - 1892 6
Carroll 1883 - Date 0
Carroll City 1867 - 1883 1
Carrollton 1857 - 1905 4
Coon Rapids 1864 - Date 0
Dedham 1882 - Date 0
Elba 1872 - 1882 2
Glidden 1867 - Date 0
Halbur 1882 - Date 0
Jasper 1860 - 1861 9
Kentner 1890-1901 5
Lanesboro 1902 - Date 0
Lidderdale 1903 - Date 0
Macks 1868 - 1873 7
Manning 1881 - Date 0
Maple River 1883 - 1968 1
Maple River Jct. 1877 - 1883 2

Mount Carmel

1871 - 1901 5
Ralston 1892 - Date 0
Roselle 1873/1901 5
Templeton 1882 - Date 0
Willey 1887 - 1901 5

Related links:

Carroll County Map

Carroll County IaGenWeb Site

Iowa's Ghost Towns


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