Charlieville Post Office, in “By the Boeuf with Beth,” ca., 1963

“The Old Store at Charlieville”

Charlieville Post Office, est. 1877

The Richland Beacon-News, Rayville, LA., 27 Apr 1963, Sat • Page 6

BY THE BOEUF WITH BETH – With Charlieville the next Post Office on my list, I hustled down to Ward 7 last week to see Mrs. Charles Noble who owns and operates the store where the post office was located. On my way, I admired beautiful smooth-rolling fields just planted in cotton.

At the store, I parked in front, then walked across the road for a beautiful view of Boeuf River. Here trees and brash are cleared. Tall silky, green grass grows from road to river.

A strong wind deepened ripples in the cloudy water and curled leaves of water hyacinths cuddled on the far bank. All’s serene now where not too many years ago, the Charlieville Landing bustled with activity about nine months of the year. Back at the store, Mrs. Noble greeted me at the steps.

A long porch covered with a high roof fronts the building. Of interest are the cypress log stools near the door that I bet have served as “political stumps” for many a politician. Inside you see wide cypress board walls and floors. Deep, wide store shelves that once groaned from stacked stock of every imaginable item are now sparsely covered with just a few items. On your left you’ll find some relics here in an old showcase tobacco cutter, two side saddles, a coiled-up strand of hand-made barbed wire, a cheese cutter.

Mrs. Noble turns a small wheel on the side of the cheese cutter and explains, “this was five cents worth.” When could you buy five cents worth of cheese?

The Charlieville Post Office was established May 17, 1877, and discontinued November 2, 1926. Two postmasters were appointed here, both named Charles Noble with the second one, Junior. When I asked about the post office location, Mrs. Noble led me to the rear of the store. Against the back wall stands the rack of cubby holes used for letters.

Across the top of the letter rack is a row of invoice files and thick Day Books. By standing on a coke crate, I pull from their dusty place several of these ten-pound books. (I weighed one.) Day Book recordings in beautiful Spencerian handwriting lists interesting items with interesting prices back in 1885. There’s Lowell’s 13c a yard, I bottle cologne 30c, a pint of whiskey for 25c, man’s suit $15.00, and a pair of brogans for $1.50. I asked Mrs. Noble about riverboats.

She replied, “I have a picture of one at the house!”

Delighted about seeing a Boeuf River steamboat, I couldn’t wait to get to the house. From a cabinet Mrs. Noble pulls a fabulous collection of pictures along with a number of diaries; enough stuff to keep you entertained for a week. And I’m going to save telling you about the picture of the famous ERA NO. 10 until next week because it alone will take up much space.

The Richland Beacon-News
Rayville, Louisiana
27 Apr 1963, Sat  •  Page 6

Categories: Charlieville, Steamboat Travel

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2 replies »

  1. Thanks for all the info about the C.M. Noble store and post office. Very interesting. I only remember going in the store once when I was before school age. Daddy took me to buy a pair of shoes, they were brown leather lace up oxfords. I tried them on and had to walk on paper so as not to soil the sole of the shoes. I road the school bus going to Mangham High School for 10 years and passed this store building every day. I remember the coal oil pumps and other pump on the store porch. It has been a long time since the last time we were down that way and I always looked for the familiar places that I remembered all those many years ago. I also remember going to the gin one time maybe in the fall of 1944, my sister and I sat beside Daddy on a wagon load of cotton. I don’t remember much about the ride but was very afraid of the vacuum that sucked the cotton from the wagon. This would have been shortly before my 6 th birthday.

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