Joseph William Briggs, “City Delivery Pioneer” of Mail
By Admin

August 26, 2010

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Mr. Joseph William Briggs, the “City Delivery Pioneer,” of the United States Postal Service, (which by the way, is the second oldest federal division or bureau in the country) was a postal clerk right in the great land of Cleve when he implemented this idea.

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It was 1862 when this fine gentleman conceived the idea for the first free home delivery mail system in the nation. It is the United States Postal Service that suggests the idea was conceptualized while Briggs was, “contemplating long lines of customers trying to keep warm as they inched toward the window in the winter…many were women hoping for news of loved ones in the Civil War.” After noticing his clients were freezing cold while waiting in line at the Post Office, Briggs recruited local businesses to act as “staging area” locations where mail could be sorted for customers. This ultimately led to the birth of a cost free mail delivery system to his patrons.

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In 1864, Joseph wrote to Postmaster General Montgomery Blair proposing improvements to the already existing system of the “free letter carrier system,” which launched in 1863. Postmaster Blair was pleased with Briggs’ ideas, so he invited him down to Washington D.C., where he then appointed Briggs as special agent to oversee the operation of the free letter carrier system throughout the U.S.A. While down in the nation’s capital, Briggs helped with the development and improvement to the then existing system, enhancing it to what we know as today’s system.

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So, whether you’ve got those cutesy white mail trucks in your neighborhood, a mail carrier on foot, or a regular vehicle where the driver sits on the right side of the car squeezing your mail in the box, remember this delivery system hit the ground running it right here in Cleveland. So, “Every time you go for the mailbox” and you’ve “got to hold yourself down,” give big recognition to Joseph William Briggs and home delivery mail system.

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