Thursday, February 2, 2012

Florida History: South Florida’s Barefoot Mailman shortened a 3,000 mile odyssey

Current resident of Hillsboro Inlet

 For more Florida history,

By Jane Feehan

The Barefoot Mailman, a name applied collectively to the men who walked and rowed the rugged 136-mile round trip from Palm Beach to Miami, greatly improved mail delivery in the area during the late 1800s. Through their efforts during the years 1885 to 1892, letters took a week to get from Palm Beach to Miami along the barefoot route - much-shortened from the mail route used before 1885.

Before that time, letters went through a 3,000 mile odyssey that could take up to two months to reach a delivery destination 68 miles away. From Jupiter mail went by Indian River steamboat to the Titusville rail; by train to New York’s port; by steamer to Havana and then on a schooner to Miami.  

A statue near the Hillsboro Inlet commemorates these men and the death in 1887 of mail carrier James “Ed” Hamilton who disappeared, perhaps drowned, while trying to cross the inlet.
Enter search term or decade (1800s, 1920s, etc.) in box at right to find more Florida history.
Sources: McGarry, Carmen Racine. Magnificent Mile: a History of Hillsboro Beach. Morriston: RitAmelia Press, 1997.
Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society at

Tags: Florida in the 1800s, South Florida in the late 1800s, US Mail , Barefoot Mailman, 
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