Located just east of J highway in Ripley County, a few miles north of the Irish Wilderness, lies the tiny hamlet of Handy, Missouri. In 1859 and 1860 when Irish settlers were arriving, this area had a heavy concentration of land patents with Irish names as claimants. The ravages of the Civil War in this remote Ozarks land disrupted, some say destroyed, Father Hogan's once-hopeful colony. After the war, one could draw the conclusion that some settlers may have returned – a possibility suggested by tombstones in the Catholic Cemetery near Ponder as well as by a Cram’s 1875 map showing the tantalizing name, New Ireland, in the approximate location of Handy. (see page 76 of Mystery of the Irish WIlderness).
Written on the back of this unmailed postcard is the following information:
Noah Haney Founder of Handy Post office was commissioned as Post-Master Sep. 9, 1913 – Resigned in favor of his daughter Mrs. Catherine Probst Oct, 28 1932 – Mrs. Probst served as Acting P.M. until Commissioned as Postmaster May 13 1935 – and continued as same until Post Office was closed Nov. 30 – 54 – Mail was carried from Fremont, MO by truck – in Carter Co.In her master’s thesis, "Place Names Of Five Southern Border Counties Of Missouri," (University of Missouri, 1945) Cora Ann Pottenger recounts the story of how the Handy Post Office got its name:
Established in Noah Haney's small country store. The story is told that because of poor penmanship in the petition, the postal authorities mistook the suggested name Haney for Handy. Some remarked that the name was appropriate for it would now be so "handy"--convenient--to get the mail twice a week right at home, instead of going the long distance to Pine. (A.C. Randel; J. Whitwell; Harry Thaxton; Postal Guide 1915-)
Deer hunters – Real Photo Postcard probably 1940s or early ‘50s. Written on back, "POV Handy Mo. Smallest P.O. in Mo. 7 feet 6 inches by 9 feet 6 inches."
In honor of St. Patrick and my Irish ancestors, Lens & Pen Press is offering Mystery of the Irish Wilderness ($18.95 retail) for $15, postage paid, during the month of March! Order your copy at: http://www.dammingtheosage.com/buy-the-book/