Rural Free Delivery

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Wednesday, January 17, 1912: Had to walk to school this morning, as Daddy was busy elsewhere. We didn’t get any mail today because the mail carrier was almost too lazy I guess to get through the drifts. How you do miss the mail then. Ahem.

1996 stamp commemorating the 100th anniversary of rural free delivery of the mail

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Today’s diary entry brings back warm fuzzy memories of the days when getting mail was one of the highlights of the day.

A hundred years ago the mailman probably used a horse and buggy to deliver the mail.

The mailman would not have delivered packages. A hundred years ago merchants opposed the establishment of parcel post because they believed that it would take business away from the local stores—but farmers and others strongly advocated for parcel post and it would be established a year later in 1913.

6 Responses

  1. In 1850, my 2x great grandfather had much the same disdain when the Wisconsin winters and spring mud stopped the mail. I really love the stories about the old mail carriers and how or forebearers really depended upon the mail for outside contact.

  2. Reminiscent of current businesses who complain about online ordering. There’s a book about mail carriers on the Darling Downs in Queensland.

  3. My grandfather delivered the mail via horse and cart in the 1930s. My dad told me when he finished his rounds, he’d go to sleep and let the horse find the way home!!!! Jane

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