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Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Taking Mail Delivery for Granted

by Judy Ann Davis

Over the last eleven months of the pandemic, I’ve noticed that my credit card has been weighed down with larger amounts than usual as I purchase more and more items online.

Recently, after a delivery, I thought about how we take for granted our mail carriers and our many delivery service providers who have been busy distributing our bills, letters, and packages.

When the English colonists came to America, there was no regular postal service. People gave their letters to any traveler who happened to be going in the right direction. Often, they gave them to a peddler or a traveling shoemaker. When the traveler reached the town where the letter was going, he might stop at an inn where he’d leave it. But until the person, who the letter was addressed to, happen to stop at the inn, it remained at that destination. 

 In the South, with few inns, the owners of plantations would take a letter and pass it on to a neighbor, and the neighbor would then do the same. And on and went until it reached the recipient.

Later, when mail carriers on horseback were hired, they rode from one big town to another. For example, between New York and Boston, there was one “post rider” a month who traveled by day and spent two weeks making the trip, often hindered by inclement weather.

When Benjamin Franklin was made postmaster for the colonies, his first act was to make a long journey to find out the best routes for transporting the mail. He set up a line of post stations between the northern and southern colonies. His post riders traveled both day and night. This better service resulted in uniting the colonies and later helped us win independence as they shared information and ideals.

Even after our nation set up its own government, there were only seventy-five post offices across the country. Sailing ships along the coast, stage coaches, and Pony Express riders all helped to move the letters and packages from post office to post offices and to smaller towns.

So now, when we hit that send button on our computers and purchase a product, let’s pause to give thanks to all those people in our transportation, mail, and delivery services who are playing a part to keep us safe during these extraordinary times.


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  1. Judy, I enjoyed the history lesson on the postal service. We were snowed in 11 days. Just got out this Monday. The mail did not run through here the last 7 days of our confinement. Our road was iced-over, so I understand. Since he started delivering again this week, there's been almost nothing in the box, and one day it was empty. I rarely see an empty mailbox. I hope he threw the junk mail away. Lol.

    Those pony express riders had a rough time of it. I admire their fortitude and appreciate what they went through.

  2. Laurean, Central PA had snow for three days, then sleet, then snow again. Piles of dirty snowbanks line our roads. However, our (rural) mail was delivered, but it was very scarce--maybe because of other areas where it was coming in from had access troubles. Our mail person is a gem. She puts the packages under our patio out of the weather. Thanks for stopping by.

  3. I was reading a history book of my home town in East Texas a while back and there was the story of a ten year old boy who was hired to carry the mail on horseback between towns that were 40 miles apart. One day the creek was high and he couldn't get across so he stayed with strangers until the creek lowered enough to cross. I had never really thought of the what if's - Always just a point A to point B - with no hiccups. Never thought about weather, bridges, paved roads... Your summary was great of reminder! thank you!

  4. That is something I've thought about this past year. As our local bad weather interfered with our letter and package deliveries, I was struck again by how cut off people were in frontier times.


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