Tuesday, January 7, 2014


Can you imagine life without our Postal Service? Imagine trying to get all those Christmas cards delivered without the mail delivery! Mail service is something that most of us take for granted in the United States. Maybe because it has been around since before we officially became a country. 

February of 1692 brought the first postal service to America when a grant from King William and Queen Mary encouraged by Thomas Neale "to erect, settle and establish within the chief parts of their majesties' colonies and plantations in America, an office or offices for the receiving and dispatching letters and pacquets, and to receive, send and deliver the same under such rates and sums of money as the planters shall agree to give, and to hold and enjoy the same for the term of twenty-one years."
Prior to the American Revolution there was only a trickle of business and government communication between the colonies. The majority of the mail went back and forth to counting houses and government offices in London. 
With the American Revolution, the seat of the Continental Congress became Philadelphia and the information hub of the new nation.  Suddenly there was a great need to get news out, information on new laws distributed, military orders out, along with political intelligence to the right people. A postal system became a necessity that needed to be acted on. Journalists were the forerunners, securing post office legislation making it possible for them to get their information out to subscribers at minimal cost and to exchange news from newspapers between the 13 states. Printers enlisted merchants in the new country and overthrew the imperial postal service and with political leadership established the new postal system on July 26, 1775. The United States Post Office was established by decree of the Second Continental Congress and headed up by Benjamin Franklin.

The United States Postal Service was vital to the westward expansion in the 19th century. It created an inexpensive way to communicate with family members that pioneers had left at home. It wasn't fast in our terms of fast today, but for the early settlers it was fast and convenient.
The postal services is contributed for increased westward pioneers, helping ambitious men find business opportunities, and made it possible for western merchants to stay in contact with wholesalers and factories in the east. The postal service helped the Army expand control over the western territories. Because of the postal's ability to reach a vast area of circulation for the larger newspapers, it enabled politicians to get their agenda out in different states.

Today's 'modern' Post Office originated in 1792. Based on the Constitutional authority, Congress had the power to establish post offices and post roads. The law provided for an expanded postal network, and served editors by charging newspapers an extremely low rate. Guaranteeing the sanctity of personal correspondence, the new law made it possible for the entire country to have access to information on public affairs at a low cost and established the right to personal privacy.

1775 - Benjamin Franklin appointed first Postmaster General by the Continental Congress
1847 - U.S. postage stamps issued
1855 - Prepayment of postage required
1860 - Pony Express began
1863 - Free city delivery began
1873 - U.S. postal cards issued
1893 - First commemorative stamps issued
1896 - Rural free delivery began
1913 - Parcel Post® began
1918 - Scheduled airmail service began
1950 - Residential deliveries reduced to one a day
1963 - ZIP Code inaugurated


  1. Great blog, Debbie Lynne! I knew the post office had been around since Colonial times, but I had no idea it's roots went back as far as the 1600s. Thanks for sharing all this great info!

  2. I know! Who would of have thought! We take so much for granted.

  3. Fascination post, Darlene. I didn't know Benjamin Franklin was the first Postmaster. Thanks for the timeline. Interesting stuff!

  4. It is always a pleasure to learn something new here at CFHS! I certainly didn't realize the postal service dated back so far. Thank you for sharing this fascinating history.