Welcome to Awakenings

Life IS history in the making. Every word we say, everything we do becomes history the moment it is said or done. Life void of memories leaves nothing but emptiness. For those who might consider history boring, think again: It is who we are, what we do and why we are here. We are certainly individuals in our thoughts and deeds but we all germinated from seeds planted long, long ago.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night..."

This Day in History: February 20, 1792


Alexis Clements
Early Mail Carrier
The postal service has come a long way since its inception. Can you imagine sending a letter from New York to Philadelphia and waiting two weeks for it to even be delivered? For a reply to be received, that's another two weeks. Sounds unheard of in today's society as does the cost of the postage stamp, 6¢ - 12¢.

What made mail delivery so slow?

In the beginning, it was not unusual for mail routes to be completed on foot covering routes of hundreds of mile. Carriers in the late 1700s and beginning1800s, such as Alexis Clements pictured at right, more closely resembled early pioneers. Their mail routes encompassed traversing over roads that were poor at best and non-existent at worst...conditions confirming the inscription "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night..."

To make matters worse, a solid organizational structure was not in place and many decisions were simply made by the carriers themselves. If they wanted to withhold mail for whatever reason, especially political, they did just that thereby hampering efficient and speedy mail delivery. In addition, there was the insistence that the postal service make a profit.

Civil War Post Office
The Post Office's greatest early victory may have come when Congress enacted legislation in 1792 deeming roads used by the nation's mail service as post routes and strengthening this law in 1825. In fact, on February 20, 1792, President George Washington formally created the U.S. Postal Service, known as the Post Office Department (USPOD). This was made official by signing into law the Postal Service Act. This act outlined in detail Congressional power to establish official mail routes.

This is only a tiny portion of the history of our nation's postal service. The evolution of the post office is yet another story like so many others that can only be kept alive through the passing of knowledge from one generation to the next.

Do we really want it to come to this?
Give me the few pieces of junk mail in my mail box on a regular basis
over the thousands of spam messages received daily via e-mail!