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As It Was: Rural Carrier Delivers Mail for Nearly 50 Years

For nearly 50 years, Nic [sic] Turner faithfully delivered the mail in Northern California and Southern Oregon. On his first job in 1924, Turner’s Garfield truck carried mail, freight and passengers between Grants Pass, Crescent City, and Gold Beach.

He continued deliveries during World War II. In addition to mail, he distributed bread and ammunition to U.S. Army and Coast Guard stations along the coast.

In 1950, Turner contracted several rural routes and coastal post offices. Patrons learned they could set their watches by his punctuality. If he fell behind schedule, they knew he had run into especially bad weather or road conditions. Turner picked up a stray dog he named “Muzz” that became inseparable and accompanied him on his travels for years.

During one violent storm, Turner arrived at an impassable washout north of Brookings. He threw a mail sack over his shoulder and set out afoot, wading swollen streams, climbing over fallen trees, and hitching rides from ranchers between obstacles. He counted 21 places where the road was impassable, but he delivered the mail to Gold Beach.

Turner retired after decades of dedicated service in 1970.

Source: Schroeder, Walt. Characters, Legends and Mysteries of Curry County, Oregon. Curry Historical Society, 2007, pp. 285-89.

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Laurel earned a Bachelor’s degree in Geography from Humboldt State. Her research efforts as a volunteer for the Curry Historical Society produced numerous newsletter articles and exhibits and earned her a reputation as a seasoned local history buff. Laurel is the author of "Renderings from the Gold Beach Pioneer Cemetery", a 50-page booklet containing a walking tour and snippets about the lives and times of folks buried there. She is also a contributing writer to Oregon Coast Magazine.