Getting mail at Lauradale

JSSP Keith Norman Column Sig

Stutsman County got a new post office if not a new community back in 1909 when the U.S. Postal Service contracted with the folks that owned the Lauradale Stock and Poultry Farm to offer postal services.

Lauradale, in case you are not familiar with the area, is in northwest Stutsman County. More specifically, the new post office was said to be located just 8 miles from the corner of the county.

It would seem the Lauradale Stock and Poultry operation was getting by on a shoestring. The article introducing the new post office in the Dec. 23, 1909, edition of The Jamestown Alert quoted the owners as saying “our stock at present consists mostly of jackrabbits, prairie chickens and, once in awhile, a stray coyote.”

You have to wonder what kind of mail coyotes and jackrabbits get. I would guess they would have probably been on some junk mail list.

Still, the folks at Lauradale had big plans.


“We do feel Lauradale will be the axle around which the great commonwealth will revolve,” the proprietors of the stock farm were quoted as saying.

By the summer of 1910, a regular column of Lauradale community happenings was being featured in The Jamestown Alert.

Cryptically worded statements about young men taking young ladies for rides in their automobiles didn’t reveal any identities although I would guess everyone in the small community knew who was being discussed anyway.

The brief articles also included breaking news on who was building a new barn or chicken coop.

There was some other news.

The June 2, 1910, edition of the Lauradale column noted a women’s suffrage meeting was held at the Lauradale Stock and Poultry farm. The article lists three men and six women in attendance.

“Miss Polly Darlington Smith was the speaker and she is a peach,” the article noted.

The Lauradale articles in the summer of 1910 also noted some other big news for the region.


“Work on the new railroad is progressing rapidly and prospects are they will have it ready to haul out grain this fall,” said the June 2, 1910, article. “Oh my, did you hear the name they gave our town, they say it is Pettibone.”

The town of Pettibone was platted and developed by the Dakota Land and Townsite Company. Lee Pettibone was an officer of the company and the new townsite was named after him.

The new town was close enough to the Lauradale post office that the postal operation was moved to Pettibone in 1910.

That prospect, along with the name of the new community, didn’t seem to make the folks at the short-lived Lauradale post office very happy.

“Now isn’t that horrid if they give it that name?” The article in the June 2, 1910, Alert continued. “The principle street should be called Shinbone Alley.”

Author Keith Norman can be reached at

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