RURAL FREE DELIVERY
1 OCTOBER 1891
RFD service began in the United States in the late 19th century to deliver mail to rural farm
families living in more remote homesteads who prior to RFD had to pick up mail themselves at sometimes distant post offices or hire carriers to make delivery.
The proposal to offer free rural delivery was not universally embraced by local shop keepers and the private mail carriers who feared a loss of business. Store operators worried it would stop the farmers weekly visits to town to obtain goods and merchandise, and catalog merchants, such as Sears & Roebuck might present significant competition
It was 1893 when legislation mandated the practice presented by Georgia Congressman
Thomas Watson, even then implementation was slow and not generally adopted in the United States
Post Office until 1902
Postmaster General John Wanamaker was in favor of RFD along with man thousands living in rural communities wanting inexpensive mail service. The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry, the nations oldest and largest agricultural organization, gave significant support to RFD.
The birthplace of RFD has many referrals, Fayette county Indiana, Milton Trader, farmer, president of the Indiana Grange, advocated the idea in 1880 through thr National Grange networks.
Jefferson county West Virginia , Charlestown, Halltown, and Uvilla, post offices, experimented the idea, October 1, 1891
1896 RFD became official with 82 routes in operation. A massive undertaking for the next several years, which remains the largest and most expensive endeavor ever instituted bu the USPS.
Parcel service came in 1913 allowing delivery of newspapers and magazine.
1930 found 43000 or more rural routes serving 6,875,400 families or 25,472,000 people.
Abstract: Harrison Howeth from Wikipedia.org WWW