EARLY HISTORY RECALLED BY MAESER PIONEER. THE "MILL WARD" AND
BUENA VISTA" POST OFFICES. By J. H. Bodily.
Before the days of rural free delivery people had to go to the post office for their mail, which for many people was quite a trip. During this time however, small post offices were maintained in many of the outlying districts and many people got their mail from these instead of going to the general post office.
During the first 27 years of its existence the Mill Ward area had two of these post offices, the "Mill Ward" and the Buena Vista." These two post offices together lasted about eleven years. During the other 16 years of this period the nearest post office was at Vernal, except for a few that got their mail at Old Ashley Town.
The "Mill Ward" post office was first, being established in 1894 with Lewis Allen, a rancher from Diamond Mountain moved into Ashley and bought a place from S. D. Colton, May 17, 1895. This place is now owned by Wallace Caldwell and the house into which the Allen family moved is at the present time one unit of the Caldwell home.
Shortly after moving here in 1894, Mr. Allen built a small store just west of his house on ground that is now used as a driveway into the Caldwell garage. In this store was soon installed the "Mill Ward" post office, the first designated post office in this area, with Lewis Allen as postmaster. This post office operated from the date of its instalment in 1894 until the 17 of July 18999 when Lewis Allen sold out and moved away, then it was automatically abandoned after about five years of services.
This left the community without a store as well as a post office, but nor for long however, as Moroni Gerber at this time built a store on the southeast corner of section 17 which is still in use as part of the A & O Store doing business there at the present time. As soon as this store was built a move was immediately started to get the "Mill Ward" post office reinstated in the Gerber Store.
R. L. Woodward took the initiative in this effort and soon forwarded the necessary petition and application to Washington for the approval of this action. At a special meeting held later Mr. Woodward informed the people that he had instructed by the postal authorities that once a post office had been abandoned it could not be re-installed under the abandoned name. So some new name must be attached to the application before it could be approved.
At the same time he suggested the name of Buena Vista," meaning "Beautiful View," be given the new post office and asked permission to have this name placed on the application instead of "Mill Ward," the name previously applied for.
This request was granted and the papers were soon on their way back to Washington for approval.
Thus amended the application was at once favorably acted upon and the "Buena Vista" post office was established with Moroni Gerber as postmaster. This took place during the year 1899.
So now we had the "Buena Vista" post office and the "Mill Ward," one place with two names. This proved to be confusing to the church authorities in the keeping of records so during early winter in 1905 the Presiding Bishop's Office began writing us relative to the matter and requesting that, if possible, we change the name of the post office to conform with that of the ward or the ward to that of the post office; of if necessary, change the name of both in order to have the names identical.
Bishop S. D. Colton happened to be spending the winter at the mines in Idaho at this time so the responsibilty of getting this matter adjusted rested with his counselors, J. H. Bodily and John Galloway, who called a meeting to discuss the question. At this meeting the proposition was presented to the people and the decision was made to have a new name selected for both the ward and the post office. Quite a number of names were presented and voted upon, among the number being "Maeser" by J. H. Bodily, in honor of Dr. Karl G. Maeser, the great educator.
The final vote unanimously favored this name which was immediately placed on the application and forwarded to the church and post office authorities for their approval. The name was once approved by the presiding Bishop's Office and the necessary adjustments were made on the church records to conform therewith, but before the postal aurhorities had time to act on the recommendation rural free delivery was inaugurated and the "Buena Vista post office, along with the similar ones throughout the county, was abolished.
-Vernal Express, October 17, 1957, transcribed by Rhonda Holton