Col. Andrew Bailey moved his family to the Huller mansion near Palomas Lake, Chihuahua, in 1888. His son Lester, had TB and the move was for his son’s health. Bailey was Huller’s ranch manager.
Col. Bailey was affluent, having interests in Standard Oil and the Hudson’s Bay Co. He was an active participant in several midwest RR’s.
He invested in the U.S. side of the border and by 1890 owned all the land that was to become the Village of Columbus. He built a substantial 2-story Victorian home near where the stockyards are today and moved there in 1890.
There was a real need for a post office so an application was filed with the USPO on Mar. 7, 1891, by Lester Bailey. Its name was to be Columbus. The population of the area was “about” 50 and it would serve about 100 people. The office was to be located on the Bailey ranch just east of what is now Rt. 11 and several hundred feet from Mexico.
The application was approved on June 8, 1891 with Lester F. Bailey as First Postmaster.
The Columbus P.O. was discontinued on June 14, 1893, perhaps because of Lester’s poor health. He died April 13, 1894, and is buried in Deming’s cemetery next to Col. Bailey. The Col. died July 2, 1913.
An application to reinstate the P.O. was filed Jan. 6, 1896, by Birdina Bailey, Lester’s sister. It estimated the number of inhabitants to be about 60 and the area’s population, 75-100. The location was to be on the Bailey ranch but west of Rt. 11 and a few hundred feet from Mexico. It was approved and the P.O. reestablished on Feb. 14, 1896; Birdina Bailey as Postmaster.
The location(s) remained near the border until 1910 when Perrow Moseley became postmaster. He was the publisher of the Columbus News and lived in the new Village of Columbus.
Luis Burkhead became postmaster on Sept. 16, 1914. He listed the location of the P.O. to be 450 ft. north of the railroad and 2 ½ miles from Mexico. This information was requested by the USPO. The post office has remained in Columbus proper ever since.
Through the years, there have been numerous locations and 27 different postmasters or officers-in-charge. It appears unlikely that the present location will soon change. Hopefully, meither will the postmaster.
By Ken Emery