Neither Snow ... nor Mud

Hillsboro Rural Carriers
  Rural Carriers with Motorcycles in front of
Hillsboro Post Office, 69 West Franklin St, 1903

Postal service began in Hillsboro in 1855, where mail was received once a week.  Almost twenty years later, the first post office was opened in a residence on Elm Street. Later, it was moved to a building on West Elm Street, and people threatened to boycott.  It seemed the new location, two blocks from the center of town, was deemed too far from the center of business. In 1915, the post office moved to a brand new elaborate building with marble floors, which later became the Hillsboro City Library.

The town of Whitney grew virtually overnight when the railroad company arrived, selling lots in November 1879.  Soon after, David Burton, who was postmaster at Towash, moved his store and post office to Whitney and distributed mail from there. A few days later, Silas Johnston moved his store and post office to Whitney too. There was not enough business for the two of them, so Johnson sold his post office to Burton and they informed the U. S. Postal Department of the sale.  This caused quite a stir at the Postal Department because they had not even known that the two offices had been moved to Whitney.  An examiner was sent, and found all accounts to be in perfect shape, but just a few months later, a new postmaster was assigned to the new town.

Whitney Mail Carriers
Whitney Mail Carriers  

Rural mail delivery came to Osceola in 1900.  Being able to receive mail at home instead of having to go into town for it was a big step forward.  Typical mail at the time might include a letter from a relative or a farm newspaper.  There was a comical writing about "Lucinda" which the women looked forward to reading and discussing when they got together.

Perhaps the unofficial creed [more] of the U. S. Postal Service, "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds" should have been amended for rural areas to include "nor mud." In Itasca, rural mail carrier Bill Massey’s route in 1907 was twenty-four miles long, and it was an all day job on horseback, or using horse-drawn rigs.  The rainy weather with its muddy roads and swollen creeks was especially difficult. Later, he got a glass enclosed mail wagon, and in 1915, his first Model-T.  Even with the new-fangled car, it could take pushing and pulling after a rainfall to get it out of mud holes on the route.

Mail Route Carriers, Hillsboro
  Mail Route Carriers, Hillsboro, Texas, July 28, 1914

The first post office was established at Birome in a home in 1910.  The town was small, without even a name at the time, but having a post office meant the people had to choose one. A list of names was submitted, with Cartwright as the first choice and Birome as the second choice.  It turned out that another town in Texas had already taken their first choice, so Birome became the name of the town. It was fairly common back then for a town to remain unnamed until a name was required in order to setup a new post office.

Horses played a big part in the Penelope RFD [more].  Some called the rural route "thirty miles of hard work." Rain or shine, hot or cold, snow or sleet, the farmers received their mail.  At first it was by horseback with one set of bags slung across the horse in back of the saddle and another pair of bags in front of the saddle.  Then there were horse and buggy deliveries, until finally the car and jeep came along to lighten the workload.

True Texas Tales of the People, Places, and Events of Hill County, Texas