Draper Postmaster 87; 27 Years in Service

Robert A. Cook, Pioneer from Missouri, Still Gives Mail to Miners in the Gold Hill Country

During the years in which he has served Draper, Mr. Cook has become a sort of a father to the whole community. Through his hands pass the messages that bring sorrow or joy into a home and it seems as each one is a personal gift from him.

Draper Postmaster 87; 27 Years in Service

At sundry times other postmasters have laid claim to the distinction that they were the oldest postmaster in point of service and Mr. Cook has laid aside the paper in which such claims were printed with a smile. He and his friends are sure that he is the oldest one in the state and think that perhaps he may be the oldest one in the United States.

In a little five-by-six post office at Draper, near Gold Hill, Robert A. Cook, eighty-seven years of age, the oldest postmaster in Oregon, has dealt out letters and papers to the miners for twenty-seven consecutive years.

Coming here forty-six years ago when the west was wild, overland to Salt Lake from Missouri with an ox team, and thence to Southern Oregon, Mr. Cook grew old with the country. At the middle fork of Foots Creek, twenty-five miles from Medford which then had a post office and a few stores, Silas Draper ran a store and took care of the United States mail for the miners who swarmed through that locality. In 1884 Mr. Cook took charge of the post office and since that time has conducted it. For remuneration he gets his cancellations amounting perhaps to $21 a year. He lives with his son, Robert Cook on his ranch but his business hours are spent in the little clapboard post office with the words “Draper Post Office” burned on the front door.

Published in the Medford Sun, July 12, 1911, page 1
Collection of the Southern Oregon Historical Society, Medford, OR
Courtesy Karen Cook Hubbard, 2012