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1899
RURAL FREE DELIVERY.

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Dallas Countyites May Try to
Get a Route.

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A SUCCESS IN OTHER COUNTIES.
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Efforts Being Made by Certain
Congressmen to Belt Their
Counties.

     The rural free delivery postal system is receiving considerable consideration from the citizens of the thickly settled precincts surrounding Dallas, and it's more than probable that an effort will be made at an early date to secure at least one route in this county. The system is being tried in other counties in Texas less populous than Dallas, and is proving a success. Postmaster O'Leary has not been broached upon the subject, but is expecting it daily. He says, however, that he is more interested in securing sub-stations for the city and its suburbs than rural free delivery.
     According to the Longview, Texas, correspondent of the Houston Post, the first step in securing rural free delivery is taken by the people who want the service, by the members of the community getting up a petition addressed to the postmaster general, and sending it to their member in congress, whose approval it must have, who then forwards the same to the department for action. When these petitions that have come through the regular channels have been received, a special agent from the department makes an investigation. If, however, no preliminary map or survey of the proposed route, or routes, is found with the papers, and he cannot proceed at once to make the investigation, he writes to the postmaster of the office that will probably be made the distributing point, requesting him to have the petitioners furnish a map of the route, or routes.
     This preliminary map is, however, to serve only as the basis for his examination and report; and the route or routes suggested, will not be binding upon him, but subject to his approval, disapproval or change, after the locality has been inspected. He must take into consideration, before concluding to recommend the establishment of the service, the nature of the country, whether it is thickly or sparsely settled; the character of the population; the condition of the roads, whether good or otherwise, and the distance the petitioners would have to travel to receive mail; and to determine from all these conditions whether the service, in his judgment, can be successfully carried out.
     It is made his duty to carefully inspect the proposed route or routes by going over the territory, noting the number of dwellings, the character of the roads, the evidences of intelligent population, the petitioners' probable use of mail facilities, and then determine from all the indications whether the service, if established, will show good results. No route is recommended upon which less than 100 families will be served within one-half mile of the route. Routes are seldom less than twenty-five miles in length, where all or nearly all of it is over graveled roads or roads that will not become impassable. The maps should represent every road, stream and house. Villages cannot be put down in detail, but their location must be indicated; postoffices within two miles of a route are noted, and quasi-public buildings, such as school houses, stores, shops, factories, hotels, railroad stations, etc. The carrier has a specific starting point; receives his mail and instructions from one certain designated postmaster, who also signs and transmits to the department the orders for the pay of the carriers.
     If, after investigation, the special agent in charge of the division decides to inaugurate the service, the inspector selects a carrier and substitute for each route, personally instructs him or them in their duties and sees that they are properly bonded. The rural letter carrier is paid monthly at the rate of $400 per annum, which includes horse hire, but not actual toll and ferriage. The substitute acts for the carrier in absence, or if he is disabled, receiving the same pay.
     The stamps are canceled by the postmaster at the distributing office as soon as brought in by the carrier, who makes the collections along his route. Letters are sent by the carrier to be registered, and he brings the postmaster's receipt on his next trip. The carrier sells stamps, stamped envelopes, etc., which he carries with him, and gives a receipt for money paid him with which to purchase money orders, and brings the receipt from the postmaster of the distributing office on his next trip.
     The government furnishes the boxes for the reception of all mail to be mailed. These boxes are similar to boxes used in cities, and the contents are treated by the rural carrier the same as by city carriers who make their collections from city boxes. These boxes are placed at all crossroads and in other convenient places along the carrier's route. The private boxes for the reception of mail which the carrier is delivering to the people, are furnished by the individuals who wish boxes for the convenience. Persons living at some distance from the road and place them along the roadside. These boxes can be purchased from any manufacturer. The prices vary, according to style and size, from $1 to $4.
     Deliveries are not made more than once each day, as the carrier's route is generally about twenty-five miles in length. It is only in thickly settled communities that the service now is being or will be given a trial. As to its cost and maintenance, the items to be considered are as follows: Under the old system, the star route carrier was paid a fixed sum for carrying the mail; that item of expense is canceled under the new plan. The fourth-class postmaster received his compensation on his cancellation of stamps. All is saved under "rural free delivery." The postmaster at the distributing point, if it be a fourth-class office, has his receipts increased very soon to such an amount as to make his office a third-class office, and then he gets a fixed salary. His extra cancellations then go to swell the revenue of Uncle Sam. The "rural free delivery" carrier, in many instances the same man who was the star route carrier, has his compensation usually increased, as the free delivery carrier receives $400 per annum, as previously explained. The saving, therefore, is on fourth-class offices and star routes discontinued.
     Granted, says the postmaster general, that the new plan costs more, it is not more than counterbalanced by the increased service and accommodation to the people? The postoffice is practically brought to the door of the farmer, who can take a daily paper, keep abreast of the market reports and the news of the day. His letters do not lie in the office for several days until he can stop work to go to the office. They are brought to his door or box. His city cousin who writes to him walks to the corner of the street and drops his letter in his box. The country cousin answers the letter which has been brought to him and drops the answer in a similar box at this corner in the country.
     The following states have the service: California 5, Colorado 3, Connecticut 2, Illinois 4, Indiana 15, Iowa 9, Kansas 5, Kentucky 1, Maine 1, Maryland 3, Michigan 4, Missouri 5, New Hampshire 1, New Jersey 2, New York 6, Ohio 20, Oregon 2, Pennsylvania 7, Rhode Island 1, South Carolina 17, South Dakota 1, Tennessee 2, Texas (Fate, Rockwall county, Third congressional district, and LaGrange, the Tenth), Utah 1, West Virginia 1, Wisconsin 2.
     Fourth-class offices discontinued by the establishment of the service are 99. From this, it will be seen that Texas has only two places with this service: one in Congressman DeGraffenreid's district and the other in Mr. Hawley's, while she should and ought to have many more.
Congressman DeGraffenreid has urged the postoffice department to give each county in his district a trial, as there can be no better selection made in the country.
     The people of Texas should get a move on themselves and send in petitions asking for this service for their communities.

- September 17, 1899, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 6, col. 3-4.
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1903
NEW RURAL ROUTES
TO BE ESTABLISHED.

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One for West Dallas and Other
for Alpha.

     Acting Postmaster Joyce has not received official notification that two more rural free delivery routes are to be established out of Dallas, but feels certain that orders to establish them will be forwarded soon. The new routes to be made, Mr. Joyce says, will be through West Dallas and out the Fort Worth road, and out the Preston road to the Alpha neighborhood, returning to Dallas by what is called the Air Line road.
     There are already six rural delivery routes out of Dallas, and the new ones will add much to the efficiency of the service. People living along the new routes have been very eager to have the service established.

- July 23, 1903, Dallas Daily Times Herald, p. 1, col. 3.
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