From the clerk at the window, to the carrier who delivers your mail, postal workers are part of our everyday lives. It is all too easy to just see their uniform or the familiar mail truck, and not think about the actual person doing the job. That’s why we wanted to remind you of a few famous people who all did their bit for the USPS. You might be surprised at a few names!
In 1775, three months after the battles of Lexington and Concord, the Continental Congress appointed Ben Franklin to establish a postal service. Communication between the young colonies was essential (hey, this was before the phone or internet). Franklin had a knack for “systems,” and reduced delivery time by putting riders on horseback out at night. He also incorporated a fleet of ships to transport the mail up and down the coast, and to Canada. He served in the position for eleven years.
But Franklin isn’t the only famous American figure to serve in the USPS. At 24, Abraham Lincoln was named the postmaster of the New Salem, IL post office. He held that position for three years.
Appointed in 1845, Sarah Black is the first known woman mail carrier. She made $48 a year!
Former slave Mary Fields, aka “Stagecoach Mary,” began driving a mail wagon at age 63, the first African-American woman to do so.
Singer Bing Crosby served as a clerk, while Walt Disney was a substitute mail carrier. Even movie star Rock Hudson walked a postal beat as a carrier in Winnetka, IL. Acclaimed American novelist William Faulkner may have found a little inspiration by observing customers during his time as postmaster at the University, MS location.
Before he made his famous flight across the Atlantic, Charles Lindbergh used his aviation skills as an airmail pilot. Sherman Hemsley, best-known for his role as “George Jefferson” on the 70s TV sitcom, The Jeffersons, worked as a mail clerk in offices in Philadelphia and New York.
My personal favorite has to be John Prine, American singer/songwriter. His words have been an inspiration to me and thousands of others. He began his musical career writing songs while delivering mail during his postal route. Sam Stone, an ode to war veterans everywhere, was written during this time. He was eventually discovered by Kris Kristofferson and the rest as they say, is the rest.
So next time you see that familiar postal uniform, consider the hidden talents and skills you might see elsewhere down the road!