B.C. Post Offices: Ferney Coombe and Agassiz

Fairly often over the years we leave Victoria and go on trips through the Fraser Valley as far as Harrison Hot Springs and Hope. I am always interested in the background of the earlier post offices.

One of these trips took me into Agassiz, where the Taylors were residing at that time. They are stamp collectors like myself and we visit back and forth. Mrs. Taylor, knowing my historical bent, had been getting information for me on the background of Agassiz.

I already knew that the first post office was on Ferney Coombe farm and she gave me the location of the farm. Despite the back road route, I found the location of the farm on the first try. It was early morning, and it was a dairy farm and active. I stopped one of the men and asked if he knew anything of the history of the place. He was the son and he took me to his father. I was invited inside and the query developed into a half-hour visit.

The owner was interested in the farm’s history and had a community booklet on the local history of the area. He kindly allowed me to bring the book home, but the best find was to come before I left. The farmhouse had been added onto and as much of the original kept as possible. I always carry a camera and flash. Incorporated into the wing was the original Ferney Coombe Post Office with original log walls. It was a good find, and my camera recorded it.

So, with the booklet as an additional source of information, the history of the place ran somewhat as follows. It was three miles southwest of Agassiz, established January 9th 1884 and its name changed to Agassiz on January 5th 1888 with L. Agassiz as postmaster.

In 1890 C. Inkman built a large store in Agassiz village and the post office was moved there with L. Agassiz still the postmaster for another three years. Then the post office was moved to W. H. White’s store and he became postmaster. When Mr. Hafford bought the store, Sept. 13th 1906, he took over the postmaster position. This store burnt to the ground, and C. Inkman built another store and the post office moved there with Mr. Hafford as postmaster. When Hafford died, June 14th 1909, his assistant James Tyrer became postmaster on June 23rd 1909.

H.L. Calvert was appointed postmaster April 30th 1910 and continued on until Sept. 30th 1930. His assistant F.H. Armstrong took over as of January 21st 1931. He died October 28th 1939 and Mrs. Armstrong was acting-postmaster until Harry Wilson was appointed January 1941 and he resigned on June 6th 1959. Mrs. D.C. Aspelund took over the position on August 11th 1959 and has had a long term of office.

As the area became more populated, the first rural delivery was started by Arthur Jenkins on June 16th, 1928.

June 21, 1896 cover from Agassiz, sent by H.L. Calvert, who became postmaster in 1910 (G. Scrimgeour)

First published in The Guideline, Journal of the VIPS, October 1986
by Lester Small

About Lester Small
From 1984 to 1988, there were a number of articles about Canadian postal history (most of them about British Columbia) in The Guideline, the newsletter of the Vancouver Island Philatelic Society. Almost all of these were written by Lester Small (Member #341). Lester – a clerk at the Victoria Post Office – was also active in the Greater Victoria Philatelic Society. He organized the junior programme of the GVPS, and looked after the junior stamp club for 35 years.

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