Robert Cook Becomes Oregon’s Oldest Postmaster

Jul 22, 2015


Foots Creek, Ore., was an important mining district in 1884 when Silas Draper applied for a post office there. A miner and rancher for many years on Foots Creek, Robert Cook, learned the business, and in 1886 was appointed postmaster at the age of 62.

For the next 27 years, Cook cared for the Draper post office and served about 100 people who depended on him to get their mail. Well into his 80’s, Cook handed out good news and bad as if each letter were a personal gift from him. Every business day found him in the 5-by-6 foot clapboard building with “Draper Post Office” burned into the front door.

Compensation depended on the volume of cancelations at the post office. Cook made about $21 a year!

By 1911, eighty-seven-year-old Cook was the oldest postmaster in Oregon and perhaps in the country. But in 1912, the Postal Department in Washington, D. C. announced that rural delivery would commence up Foot’s Creek in November, so Cook sent in a letter of resignation that ended his long career.

Sources: "Draper Postmaster 87; 27 Years in Service." Medford Sun 12 July 1911: 1. Print.  "Uncle Bob Cook Soon to Retire." Medford Mail Tribune 16 Sept. 1912: 8. Print.