From the Microform #4: A Post Office Drama

In July of 1901, the post master of Clayton, NM resigned unexpectedly. Many people had opinions about who should be filling the position, and many wrote to then-Govenor Otero about it, as did Albert W. in whose letter we can see below:

Second page can be found here

Clayton, N. M., July 2, 1901.

My dear Governor,

I write asking  you this time to interest yourself in behalf of Mrs. McClellan, who is an applicant for the position of post master here, in place of Fred I. Burch, resigned.

The facts, briefly, are these: Mr. Burch notified the public suddenly yesterday morning that he had sent in his resignation, and almost at the same time, H. C. Thompson and John R. Guyer became applicants for the office. The citizens, myself included, were surprised at the suddenness of the move, and generally signed the first petition presented. We here in the office signed Guyer’s; Mr. Schleter and some others, I understand, signed Thompson’s, supposing, I presume, that these two candidates were the only “Richmonds in the field.”

It seems, however, that Mrs. McClellan has for some time looked forward to securing the position should a vacancy occur. She knew nothing of the resignation yesterday morning, nor was I acquainted with the conditions when I signed Guyer’s petition.

She is a woman, a lady rather, with every qualification possible for the office, and is esteemed by the citizens generally here. Her husband is incapacitated and hardly able to work, and the general sentiment today, the almost unanimous one, I might say, is for her appointment.

In the face of these facts, may I ask you, Governor, to appoint her to the position of post master at this place? Politically, the move will be a wise one; that is, as Guyer and Thompson both have more or less signers of prominence here, she would suit both factions.

I especially, openly if necessary, wish to oppose the appointment of H. C. Thompson. To my mind he is entirely unworthy of the place. I learn today, authentically, that, if appointed, he will retain the present as istant (sic) post master, a democrat, who was a candidate for superintendent of schools last fall of the Democratic ticket.

I presume that my letter will not be the only one asking for the appointment of Mrs. McClellan, and I really trust that you will find it in your power to recommend her for the position.

The kindest regards, believe me, always,

Sincerely yours,

Albert W.

There were several more about the Clayton post office situation, like the following on stationary from the U.S. House of Representatives:

Albuquerque, N.M. July 6/1901.

Governor M.A.Otero,

Santa Fe, N.M.

Dear Governor: I have all that matter that White brought down about the Clayton post office. That is horribly mixed up there,and I am tangled up about it but lean towards Guyer. I wont (sic) however decide until a day or two later, may be tomorrow. Mrs McClellan is strongly backed, but Guyer seems to be the party man as well as otherwise very competent. Keep all this to yourself. I will return all letters that belong in your files.

B.S. Rodey

At this point, as I scroll through the film, I am rooting for Mrs. McClellan, who seems to be getting the raw end of the deal. She’s a woman trying to support herself and her husband and is qualified for the job, but can’t catch a break over the man with the party affiliation.

Then, I came across this letter, again from B.S. Rodey, dated two days later.:

Albuquerque,N.M., July 8th, 1901.

Honorable M. A. Otero,

Governor of New Mexico,

Santa Fe.

My dear Governor:

I have this day, so far as I am concerned, settled the Clayton post-office matter by recommending Mr. John R. Guyer for appointment.

Very truly yours,

B.S. Rodey

I think we can all agree that this is lame. And now that we already don’t like Guyer, here is his letter to the Governor.

July 11th, 1901.

Hon. M. A. Otero,

Governor of New Mexico,

Santa Fe.

Dear Governor Otero:

Permit me to extend to you my most grateful thanks for your kind and hearty endorsement for the Post Office here. It is fully appreciated and since Mr. Rodey has been so good as to act upon your suggestion,I have no doubt as to the result.

If I am so fortunate as to receive the appointment I shall try very hard to give satisfactory service to the department and to the public.

When I can serve you in any manner command me.

Your Friend,

John R. Guyer

Apparently he did get the post because this was received by the governor not 6 weeks after this letter of thanks for the endorsement.

August 21, 1901.

Hon. M. A. Otero,


Santa Fe.

My Dear Governor:-

Humbly begging your pardon for my oversight in not sooner writing the report requested,I beg to enclose herewith a scattering something, out of which, I trust you will be able to glean the information desired.

When I received your first request I filed it for future action,fully intending to have the write up there on time and then,becoming engrossed with business matters,which,by the way have pretty closely held me for the past year,I simply overlooked it.

Will you please forgive the oversight and accept my sincere thanks for having done me the honor call upon me for the report.

I trust you will reply,telling me if this is what you wished.

Yours Truly,

John R. Guyer

There is so much wrong here – we’ll even overlook the grammar and syntax errors. First he didn’t respond to a request for information from the governor less than 6 weeks after getting the new job, then the governor had to request the information again and received from Mr. Guyer a “scattering something” that the governor will have to “glean.” Additionally, he then made excuses about being too busy with “business.”

Poor Mrs. McClellan.

Record Group TANM, Archives Division, State Records Center and Archives, Reel No. 131. (1901). Microfilm Collection, Northern New Mexico College Library Collection, New Mexico.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *