Wednesday, October 7, 2009

A Hill Country Place: Walls Tan Yard Post Office

by Terry Thornton

One of the earliest post offices in Monroe County, Mississippi, was that of Walls Tan Yard. The first postmaster was William Walls; the second was Gideon Lincecum.

But where was the post office located?

Because the mail was carried from post office to post office overland by coach and rates established by distance for the carriers, the United States Postal Routes maps are usually fairly accurate in their placement of the location of post offices and especially are they accurate in the miles between post offices.

The earliest map I've found showing the location and distances between some of the post offices in the hill country of eastern Monroe County is the 1839 map by David Burr. Below is a snippet of that map with the post offices Cotton Gin Port, Walls Tan Yard, and Quincy highlighted and the distances between Walls Tan Yard PO and the other two also highlighted. Left click map for a larger image.

On a modern Monroe County Highway Map, it is impossible to determine all of the old roadways --- but on the map section below, Cotton Gin Port, Quincy, and Walls Tan Yard are located and "straight line" distances between those post offices can be calculated by counting sections (a section is one mile across). On the map snippet below an extinct road, Stagecoach Road, is shown in green. More recent names for that road include "Jonesboro Road" and Stonewall Road. Left click map for a larger image.

There is good evidence that William Walls and Gideon Lincecum lived approximately two miles west of the location marked on this map for Walls Tan Yard Post Office; there is also good evidence that a tan yard was once about two miles west of the PO location indicated above.

There is good evidence that one of the earlier houses, a two-story frame house located at the marked site of Walls Tan Yard Post Office, served as a post office and a stagecoach stop at one time. There was a post office beneath the stairs of that house, evidence of which survived until about 1950 when the house was removed. And there is at least one oral history report of a tan yard being located near that site also.

That Walls Tan Yard Post Office existed is not in doubt --- but the exact location of the post office may never be determined.

Some of the dates of early post offices in the Hill Country include:

1822: Cotton Gin Port
1826: Goods Tan Yard
1828: Quincy
1830: Athens
1831: Walls Tan Yard
1832: Hamilton


List of the Post Offices in the United States Arranged Alphabetically and Giving the Salaries of the Postmasters; also an Appendix Containing the Names of Post Offices Arranged by States and Counties with Money Order Officers and Other Postal Information. Washington: Government Printing Office. 1870. Available at Google Books.

List of Post-Offices in the United States With the Names of the Post-Masters, of the Counties and States, to Which they Belong; the Distance from the City of Washington, and the Seats of State Governments, Respectively, Exhibiting the State of Post-Offices, on the 1st of June, 1828. By Direction of the Post-Master General. Washington: Way and Gideon, Printers, 1828. Available at Google Books.

Monroe County Map modified from map available at Mississippi Department of Transportation at

Monroe County Postal Routes Map,1839 modified from Burr, David H. Map of Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas Exhibiting the Post Offices, Post Roads, Canals, Rail Roads, Etc. London: J. Arrowsmith. 1839. Detail of the Monroe County Map used in this report captured from digital image available at the Mississippi Digital Map Library, Richard P. Sevier, State Map Coordinator. 2007.

"Post Offices Monroe County Mississippi" from Jim Forte's United States and Worldwide Postal History located online at

Sledge, Broox. Monroe County Post Offices: 1827 - 1950. Macon, Mississippi: Privately printed; twenty-four loose pages dated March 14, 1992.

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