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, visitjaneshistorynook.blogspot.com

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.
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Enter search term or decade (1800s, 1920s, etc.) in box at right to find more Florida history.
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Sources: McGarry, Carmen Racine. Magnificent Mile: a History of Hillsboro Beach. Morriston: RitAmelia Press, 1997.
Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society at http://www.hillsborolighthouse.org/bfmn.html


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