Postal Service Records Verify Velma Name
By W. P. Sissell
My son heard me grumbling because none of us in our World War II gun section had been able to contact Steve Tomich. As a rural mail carrier, my son was much more knowledgeable about the U.S. Postal Service than I. After asking a few questions about Steve’s last known location, he, in a few minutes was talking to the postmaster in Eden, Wyoming. The postmaster told him that Steve was a longtime friend but no longer lived in Eden. He further gave Shipp the phone number of a sister-in-law who lived in the old home place just down the road (about five miles) from the post office.
A couple of years later we visited the lady, Mrs. Tomich, who told us that Steve had passed away a few months after we contacted her earlier. She gave us copies of several pictures and told us that he had worked as an auditor for the Wyoming State Highway Department. Few of us in the World War II gun section could picture Steve as a bookkeeper. Steve had attended college and gotten his degree in business.
Something that was very interesting to me was the headquarters place of the ranch where Steve grew up. Those pictured in movies duplicate them well. Steve was the only track driver that would come back after parking his track and help us in digging the revetment for the gun.
I went through all the above to illustrate that the U.S. Postal Service is the owner of copious records. Those records hold all kind of interesting information. A number of us have been looking for the reason for the name Shuford being used as a school name and community name. A friend on the Wesley Foundation Board recently asked me if I knew the location of Shuford for that is where he was born.
Another interesting thing, to us, is that the man who designed the post office building in Water Valley was my wife’s great uncle.
The Post Office at Velma was established Oct. 29, 1885. John Madison Hall, a merchant-farmer, made the application for a Post Office. He was asked to submit three names. The third name on the list of three was that of his young daughter, Velma. The Post Office at Velma, like so many others in those early days, was a part of an already existing structure. As population centers shifted and rural routes were established (I grew up on Route 2, Water Valley, served by Mr. Wiley Brown who owned a neighboring farm) the Post office at Velma was no longer needed and for this reason was abolished in July 1940.
At this very time the same type of revue of the system is going on. In the near future we may see several changes in the system. Already much of our mail is sorted after it gets to Memphis, by truck rather than by rail. Of course, we have all realized the changes in the price of postage.
I started off today with a WW II story so I’ll close with another. It is said—I have no official documentation of this although I do know that we could only bring a definite amount of money home with us—that in Berlin where the 82nd Airborne was stationed—within minutes after the currency control regulation went into effect—all the airmail stamps available there were purchased.
Do have a great week. We’re going to Crowder tomorrow to help a friend celebrate her 100th birthday and my birthday is also the 25th of August sixteen years later.
You can reach me most of the time at 23541 Highway 6, Batesville, MS 38606, or (662) 563-9879.