Have you ever heard the phrase – signed, sealed and delivered?
This idiom refers to a legal deed, which to be valid had to be signed by the seller, sealed with a wax seal, and delivered to the new owner.
“Signed and sealed and delivered” was a phrase used in a letter from Samuel Andrews to Mr. David Naughty dated March 27, 1732. The letter confirmed Mr. Andrews’ receipt of Margarett Naughty, the niece of David Naughty and the details of her indenture-ship until eighteen years of age.
Other letters were signed, sealed and delivered by the Post Office.
Beginning January 1, 1673, the Post Office Department in Washington, arranged a monthly mail delivery between New York and Boston, leaving NY on the 1st and Boston in the middle of the month.
The first method of delivery was by stage, but soon after by Post Riders who traveled on horseback from town to town.
These Post Riders practically spent their lives in the service. Their regular income was so small that they indulged in all sorts of “traffic” along the road. Traffic meaning “carrying other things besides the mail”
One carrier, called “Old Herd,” who in 1773 was seventy-two years old, had two sons and had been in the service for forty-six years. “Old Herd” was described as extremely hale and hearty. His activities knew no limitations. This rugged Post Rider passed through Guilford, back and forth, on horseback, for a great many years. He carried not only the mails but anything that could be attached to his horse. Goods of all sorts and conditions were distributed by the riders along their routes.
They loaded down their poor horses with a sad assortment of merchandise so that the beasts became burdened beyond their capacity. Riders were entrusted with cash to carry to different places…they took care of returned horses… in short, they refused no business that offered them any fee no matter how small.
Their jobs were very hard, many times extremely hazardous, and the remuneration was so meager that they were obliged to resort to all sorts of trickery and artifice to establish any sort of an income. These riders carried letters secretly between stretches as, for instance, between New Haven and New London, where there were no post offices; for this, they received secret fees, and never reported them to the postal officials.
Post Riders drove herds of cattle along the road for which they naturally received pay, but those who were patiently awaiting letters had to endure this procedure because they had no other way to obtain their mail.
1828 – postal service from New Haven to Guilford was scheduled for three times a week in a one-horse “waggon.”
“Franklin Stones” (brownstones) placed along the route to calculate distance on which fares and postage would be calculated. The Guilford stone, on Boston Street, was possibly erected either by a stage company or by the Colonial government prior to 1789. Nobody knows with any degree of accuracy.
It was only after the railroad superseded the stagecoach that modern mail was properly handled, and by 1852 daily mail in Guilford was received twice a day.
Tracy Tomaselli – March 2018