RURAL FREE DELIVERY.
May Try to
Get a Route.
A SUCCESS IN OTHER
Efforts Being Made by Certain
Congressmen to Belt Their
free delivery postal system is receiving considerable consideration
from the citizens of the thickly settled precincts surrounding
Dallas, and it's more than probable that an effort will be made
at an early date to secure at least one route in this county.
The system is being tried in other counties in Texas less populous
than Dallas, and is proving a success. Postmaster O'Leary has
not been broached upon the subject, but is expecting it daily.
He says, however, that he is more interested in securing sub-stations
for the city and its suburbs than rural free delivery.
- September 17, 1899,
Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 6, col. 3-4.
According to the Longview, Texas,
correspondent of the Houston Post, the first step in securing
rural free delivery is taken by the people who want the service,
by the members of the community getting up a petition addressed
to the postmaster general, and sending it to their member in
congress, whose approval it must have, who then forwards the
same to the department for action. When these petitions that
have come through the regular channels have been received, a
special agent from the department makes an investigation. If,
however, no preliminary map or survey of the proposed route,
or routes, is found with the papers, and he cannot proceed at
once to make the investigation, he writes to the postmaster of
the office that will probably be made the distributing point,
requesting him to have the petitioners furnish a map of the route,
This preliminary map is, however,
to serve only as the basis for his examination and report; and
the route or routes suggested, will not be binding upon him,
but subject to his approval, disapproval or change, after the
locality has been inspected. He must take into consideration,
before concluding to recommend the establishment of the service,
the nature of the country, whether it is thickly or sparsely
settled; the character of the population; the condition of the
roads, whether good or otherwise, and the distance the petitioners
would have to travel to receive mail; and to determine from all
these conditions whether the service, in his judgment, can be
successfully carried out.
It is made his duty to carefully
inspect the proposed route or routes by going over the territory,
noting the number of dwellings, the character of the roads, the
evidences of intelligent population, the petitioners' probable
use of mail facilities, and then determine from all the indications
whether the service, if established, will show good results.
No route is recommended upon which less than 100 families will
be served within one-half mile of the route. Routes are seldom
less than twenty-five miles in length, where all or nearly all
of it is over graveled roads or roads that will not become impassable.
The maps should represent every road, stream and house. Villages
cannot be put down in detail, but their location must be indicated;
postoffices within two miles of a route are noted, and quasi-public
buildings, such as school houses, stores, shops, factories, hotels,
railroad stations, etc. The carrier has a specific starting point;
receives his mail and instructions from one certain designated
postmaster, who also signs and transmits to the department the
orders for the pay of the carriers.
If, after investigation, the special
agent in charge of the division decides to inaugurate the service,
the inspector selects a carrier and substitute for each route,
personally instructs him or them in their duties and sees that
they are properly bonded. The rural letter carrier is paid monthly
at the rate of $400 per annum, which includes horse hire, but
not actual toll and ferriage. The substitute acts for the carrier
in absence, or if he is disabled, receiving the same pay.
The stamps are canceled by the
postmaster at the distributing office as soon as brought in by
the carrier, who makes the collections along his route. Letters
are sent by the carrier to be registered, and he brings the postmaster's
receipt on his next trip. The carrier sells stamps, stamped envelopes,
etc., which he carries with him, and gives a receipt for money
paid him with which to purchase money orders, and brings the
receipt from the postmaster of the distributing office on his
The government furnishes the boxes
for the reception of all mail to be mailed. These boxes are similar
to boxes used in cities, and the contents are treated by the
rural carrier the same as by city carriers who make their collections
from city boxes. These boxes are placed at all crossroads and
in other convenient places along the carrier's route. The private
boxes for the reception of mail which the carrier is delivering
to the people, are furnished by the individuals who wish boxes
for the convenience. Persons living at some distance from the
road and place them along the roadside. These boxes can be purchased
from any manufacturer. The prices vary, according to style and
size, from $1 to $4.
Deliveries are not made more than
once each day, as the carrier's route is generally about twenty-five
miles in length. It is only in thickly settled communities that
the service now is being or will be given a trial. As to its
cost and maintenance, the items to be considered are as follows:
Under the old system, the star route carrier was paid a fixed
sum for carrying the mail; that item of expense is canceled under
the new plan. The fourth-class postmaster received his compensation
on his cancellation of stamps. All is saved under "rural
free delivery." The postmaster at the distributing point,
if it be a fourth-class office, has his receipts increased very
soon to such an amount as to make his office a third-class office,
and then he gets a fixed salary. His extra cancellations then
go to swell the revenue of Uncle Sam. The "rural free delivery"
carrier, in many instances the same man who was the star route
carrier, has his compensation usually increased, as the free
delivery carrier receives $400 per annum, as previously explained.
The saving, therefore, is on fourth-class offices and star routes
Granted, says the postmaster general,
that the new plan costs more, it is not more than counterbalanced
by the increased service and accommodation to the people? The
postoffice is practically brought to the door of the farmer,
who can take a daily paper, keep abreast of the market reports
and the news of the day. His letters do not lie in the office
for several days until he can stop work to go to the office.
They are brought to his door or box. His city cousin who writes
to him walks to the corner of the street and drops his letter
in his box. The country cousin answers the letter which has been
brought to him and drops the answer in a similar box at this
corner in the country.
The following states have the service:
California 5, Colorado 3, Connecticut 2, Illinois 4, Indiana
15, Iowa 9, Kansas 5, Kentucky 1, Maine 1, Maryland 3, Michigan
4, Missouri 5, New Hampshire 1, New Jersey 2, New York 6, Ohio
20, Oregon 2, Pennsylvania 7, Rhode Island 1, South Carolina
17, South Dakota 1, Tennessee 2, Texas (Fate, Rockwall county,
Third congressional district, and LaGrange, the Tenth), Utah
1, West Virginia 1, Wisconsin 2.
Fourth-class offices discontinued
by the establishment of the service are 99. From this, it will
be seen that Texas has only two places with this service: one
in Congressman DeGraffenreid's district and the other in Mr.
Hawley's, while she should and ought to have many more.
Congressman DeGraffenreid has urged the postoffice department
to give each county in his district a trial, as there can be
no better selection made in the country.
The people of Texas should get
a move on themselves and send in petitions asking for this service
for their communities.
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NEW RURAL ROUTES
TO BE ESTABLISHED.
One for West Dallas and Other
Postmaster Joyce has not received official notification that
two more rural free delivery routes are to be established out
of Dallas, but feels certain that orders to establish them will
be forwarded soon. The new routes to be made, Mr. Joyce says,
will be through West Dallas and out the Fort Worth road, and
out the Preston road to the Alpha neighborhood, returning to
Dallas by what is called the Air Line road.
- July 23, 1903, Dallas
Daily Times Herald, p. 1, col. 3.
There are already six rural delivery
routes out of Dallas, and the new ones will add much to the efficiency
of the service. People living along the new routes have been
very eager to have the service established.
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