RUTLAND TOWNSHIP — In the second part of Tales and Tidbits: Rutland, Donna Jenkins recalled the history of post offices in Rutland Township and their importance to the community.
The post office was the hub of communication, especially so in rural areas. It was part of everyday life to anxiously wait for mail deliveries, and a visit to the post office was something very special.
When the first railroad depot was built in Rutland around 1886, it meant a faster means of mail delivery. A letter that could take months to be delivered could now arrive at the post office in weeks or even days.
It was also during this time that residents of rural areas begin enjoying free home delivery. Before the establishment of the service, mail was picked up by the recipient at the post office, which could be a day’s travel for those living in rural areas.
According to Meigs County History Volume II, approximately one bushel of mail entered the Rutland Post Office daily. The amount of mail arriving increased in 1913 with the establishment of the Parcel Post, which allowed people to receive packages.
Jenkins noted there is much nostalgia surrounding mail delivery.
“Until recently, mail was the primary means of communication. Growing up in Rutland, it was exciting to wait for the mailman. Who knew what news he might bring each day in those letters. Packages would arrive containing merchandise from Sears (and other retailers); it was always with anticipation that we waited each day for the mailman.”
Jenkins ended her presentation with a poem by local author Cathy Cultice Lentes. She said the poem captured the feelings about the mail she and others had experienced growing up.
GETTING THE MAIL
Paper is the heart of it—
words coming and going, the mystery
of what’s hinged behind that door—
but this is only part of it.
I walk down the long driveway of stones,
glossy tulip poplar leaves tumble at my feet.
Cats slip from barns purring rings
around my ankles. My dog and the neighbor’s
dogs bay and tremble with each new scent, and
the road lies open, twisting questions
just out of sight.
News rises over mountains spreading
wings from an envelope of flame, a red-
tailed hawk spins circles above me, calling
crying my name.
Cathy Cultice Lentes, used with permission, Getting the Mail (C) 2016;Finishing Line Press, Georgetown, Kentucky www.cathyculticelentes.com
Township Tales and Tidbits for Rutland Township were presented by Donna Jenkins during the Chester Shade Historical Association Banquet.