Articles & Stories

 

Old-Fashioned Spirit Still Alive

At Essie Post Office In Leslie Co.

Bowling Family Has Served

80 Years At Community Post Office

By James Bowling, Jr. - 2004

In 1924 a small community in Leslie County, located at the head of Stinnett Creek, was about to see a change. James Bowling, my great-grandfather, who was a magistrate in the community, wanted to get a post office established. He wrote to the postal service in Washington D. C., requesting the establishment of a post office in the Stinnett Creek area. At that time there were probably only five or six families living there. The postal service asked James to submit four names for the post office. He had four daughters: Marie, Mellie, Essie, and Ludeema; so he submitted their names. The postal service chose the name Essie. A building was soon erected, and the Essie Post Office was established. On October 13, 1924, the post office opened for business and James Bowling served as the first postmaster. James held that position for about 13 years when he suffered a stroke and had to give it up. On August 30, 1937, James's daughter Essie, for whom the post office was named, was appointed postmaster. Essie held that position for about three years, when she became ill, and had to give up the position. On Feburary 16, 1940, Sarah Bowling, James's daughter-in-law, was appointed. Sarah had held her position for 37 years when she retired on March 24, 1977. I, Sarah's grandson, worked as her replacement for a few years. When Sarah retired, Lola Harrison was appointed officer-in-charge. Lola was going to have a baby, so she did not work very much, so I worked most of the time. On October 1, 1977, I was appointed postmaster, and I still hold that position. The post office has moved twice from it's original site and has been at its present location for about 45 years.
The position of postmaster has been held by a member of the Bowling family for around 80 years. We don't know who will become postmaster after I retire. The Essie Post Office, which started out serving only a few families, now serves over 600 residents and has 336 post office boxes. It serves a route in the Jack's Creek area; a route at Lower Bowens Creek; a route at Grassy Branch, with 45 NDCBU boxes; and a route in the Saltwell area, with 30 NDCBU boxes at the end of that route.
In this world of modern technology my great-granddad, James, would now be lost at the Essie Post Office.
The post office is still the center of the community, where folks pick up their mail and sit around and talk for a while. I try to keep the old-fashioned spirit alive. I enjoy seeing friends and talking with them daily. I hope after I retire, the Essie Post Office will still be a place for me to come and sit for a while with friends and neighbors, and also get my mail; especially my retirement check.


James Bowling, Jr., Essie, KY 40827, shares this article and photographs with our readers.