VERDE HERITAGE 1968: CAMP VERDE CAVALRY CARRIES MAIL
"Clinton C. "Tuffy" Peach, of Camp Verde, who was distinguished on June 30, 1914, by making the last trip with mail on horseback from Camp Verde to Payson, will be the man of the hour again Saturday, January 27, when he rides out from the old Fort Verde Post Office in a dramatic re-enactment of a special commemorative pony mail run to Phoenix."
"Carrying mail hand-stamped with the old Fort Verde postmark, Tuffy is among relay riders in the Camp Verde Cavalry which is participating in the dispatch mail run with the Phoenix Unit of the Fort Verde Museum Association; the Phoenix Philatelic Association; and the Arizona Chapter of the Council on Abandoned Military Posts USA. The Cavalry is headed by Col. Craig Jackson."
"The mail carry is in charge of Clarence A. "Red" Finch, Jr., who laid out the route the relay Cavalrymen mail carriers will follow from Fort Verde to Phoenix. Camp Verde Postmaster Trudy Schillerman will supervise the one-day reopening of the Fort Verde Post Office on Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., when souvenir canceled covers will be on sale."
"The riders are expected to reach Phoenix just in time for the annual barbecue of the Phoenix Unit of the Fort Verde Museum at the IOOF Hall, 1325 N. 14th Street, from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. Heading the Unit is Mrs. Lenore Cowden."
"Tuffy, who recalls the rigors of early day horseback mail carrying, held the contract for the mail run between Camp Verde and Pine and Payson from 1910 to 1914. This type of service was initiated in 1884 and the late Ashton Nebeker was granted the first contract to carry the mail over terrain that was rough and mountainous."
"Three road trips a week kept these frontier mail carriers in the saddle as long as 16 to 18 hours a day to make the 50-mile trip between Camp Verde and Payson, but in Tuffy's day, nature caused most of the trouble in getting the mail through."
"'I had to ford 4 water hazards and these were often swollen to near-flood stages by heavy rains at certain times of the year, and I often had mail piled so high in front of me that I could hardly see where my horse was treading,' he said."
"Most times a single mail sack was the load for the day, but when mail order houses sent out spring catalogs, a pack horse was required, he said."
"Aside from carrying the mail, these carriers supplied emergency needs to families and ranchers along the way, such as medicine for the sick. And it wasn't unknown for the carrier to deliver a bottle of whiskey to his cowboy friends in some deep camp in the mountains along his trail."
"Included in a long list of old time carriers compiled by Dave Hopkins, of Camp Verde, besides Ashton Nebecker and Tuffy are these familiar names: W. D. Fuller, W. G. Wingfield, Alfred Fuller, Hyrum Williams, Wiley Nebeker, Pret Gillespie, Newt Tipton, Walter Cox, Pete Davis, William Goswick, Doc Lay, Hank Wingfield, and Hank Peach (Tuffy's brother). These and many others and the dates of their contracts are on file at the Fort Verde Museum."
"Some 6,000 letters are expected to be processed at the Fort Verde Post Office Saturday, Mrs. Schilleman said, and the event has attracted the attention of stamp collectors throughout the country. ... Her two assistants will be Mrs. Jan Cazaux and Mrs. Betty Parrish."
"After Tuffy's last run in 1914, the mail was dispatched by stage to Prescott, then routed on to Pine and Payson via Phoenix and Globe.
(The Verde Independent; Cottonwood; Thursday, January 25, 1968; pages 1 and 16.)