Several strange things have come to light over the last few years but nothing odder than mailing children through the postal service in 1913. There were no laws on the books then so it was perfectly legal. You can bet the law was changed soon after.
While there were a few documented cases, most were publicity stunts according to the website Snopes.com. It was certainly not routine by any means to slap stamps onto children’s clothing and hand them over to the postman.
Most were cases of parents asking their mailman to carry their child a relative short distance to a relative’s house. The child would be put on the train with the appropriate postage and listed as mail. In that way they didn’t have to buy train fare therefore a lot cheaper.
In another instance, the newspaper in Batavia, Ohio reported this:
“Vernon O. Lytle, mail carrier on rural route No. 5, is the first man to accept and deliver under parcel post conditions a live baby. The baby, a boy weighing 10-3/4 pounds, just within the 11 pound weight limit, is the child of Mr. and Mrs. Jesse Beagle of Glen Este. The boy was well wrapped and ready for “mailing” when the carrier received him to-day. Mr. Lytle delivered the boy safely at the address on the card attached, that of the boy’s grandmother, Mrs. Louis Beagle, who lives about a mile distant. The postage was fifteen cents and the parcel was insured for $50.”
These pictures are in the Smithsonian but there is no verification of their validity.
There were only two known cases of this happening but I’m wondering what those parents were thinking. Who in their right mind would mail their kid?
It would certainly make an entertaining detail in a story though. I’ve never read a book where the author used it.
Do you know of any other oddities?
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I live in the Texas Panhandle where we love our cowboys. There's just something about a man in a Stetson that makes my heart beat faster. I'm not much of a cook but I love to do genealogy and I'm a bit of a rock hound. I'm also a NY Times & USA Today bestselling author of historical western romance. You can contact me through my website and I'd love to connect with you on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more. HAPPY READING!