Saturday, November 12, 2016 at 2:43PM
Jo Giessner

1885 January 5, 4th Class Post Office established as Chat, Lassen, California located 25 miles northwest of Reno, Nevada, and 3 1/2 miles southeast of Summit per the Postal Route Map. The word "Chat" comes from the Wintun Indian word "Chattidown" given to the "Digger" pine trees of the area.

Another version of the name, is that it was for Jonathan Chatham Roberts, the first Postmaster. Seldom going by his full name, Mr. Roberts used "J. Chat Roberts," "Chat Roberts" and "Jonathan C. Roberts."

Chat Roberts was better known as a train robber than a postmaster. He was involved with eight others in the first train robbery on the Pacific Slope in the wee hours of November 5, 1870. The holdup was of the Central Pacific train from Oakland, California to Ogden, Utah carrying $41,800 in gold pieces and silver bars. The heist occurred just west of Reno near the River Inn or what was known as Hunter's Crossing, a Truckee River crossing, on the emigrant trail. It was between Reno and Verdi. Later referred to as the Verdi train robbery, it may have assumed this name as the robbers boarded the train as it slowed to go through the small lumber town of Verdi. Chat Roberts did not serve jail time in exchange for his testimony.

Jonathan C. Roberts, First Postmaster.

1896 December 24, Lloyd T. Stephenson, Postmaster.

1898 August 29, George P. Holman, Postmaster.

1898 December 8, Lloyd T. Stephenson, Postmaster.

1900 January 20, Jesse M. Rhodes, Postmaster.

1900 December 31, Post Office discontinued and the service moved to Cuba.

Article originally appeared on History & Happenings (
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