Saturday, September 10, 2011

End of family's careers on rural routes prompts a look back at one county's history of R.F.D.

The problems of the U.S. Postal Service, reflected by its listing of more than 3,700 post offices for possible closure, has prompted rural newspapers to publish stories about the post offices and rural residents' relationship with the mail, which is a larger part of the infrastructure in rural America, this writer told the Postal Regulatory Commission almost a year ago in opposing the end of Saturday delivery.

That relationship can be personal, as this writer's brother illustrated in this week's edition of the Clinton County News in Albany, Ky.: "An era in Clinton County that began 70 years ago when Leonard Little started carrying the mail on Rural Route Two ended on Wednesday, August 31, 2011, when Harold Little [in photo] pulled into the Albany Post Office lot for the last time in his official capacity of rural mail carrier. No more does a Little carry the mail in Clinton County."

The story not only recounts the history of the Littles and the mail, but many of the other rural carriers in the county. going back to 1924, when it first got Rural Free Delivery and "the county was dotted with post offices every few miles," David Cross writes. "The RFD system was created by Congress for the convenience of the rural people and it was the major contributing factor to the demise of the rural post offices."

This is a story that is surely replicated elsewhere, and now's a good time to tell it. To read my brother's article, click here.

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