A Surprising Way to Celebrate Christmas and New Years in the Early 1800s

A Surprising Way to Celebrate Christmas and New Years in the Early 1800s

by Sandra Merville Hart A surprising way those living in the country celebrated Christmas and New Years in the early 1800s was with Shooting and Raffling Matches. A generous person bought gifts Someone in the community bought generous amounts of coffee, tea, and other goods and wrapped them in many small packages. These goods would then be raffled off at a specific price per chance. Shooting at a target took place during the day with a rifle. Raffles happened in the evening. Raffle winners found by coins in a hat To find raffle winners, copper cents were tossed into a hat, shaken up, and thrown on the table by a chance holder. The most number of heads in a certain number of throws decided the winner of the prize. Shooting New Year Shooting New Year was another...

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Tuskegee Airmen: Amazing American Heroes

The following article was submitted by Jordan Bryson, who interviewed Joseph Gomer, a Tuskegee Airman, as part of a history project. Who were the Tuskegee Airmen? The Tuskegee Airmen, an Army Air Corps program, trained blacks to fly and maintain combat planes during World War II. It included pilots, navigators, maintenance, instructors, and all the people who kept the planes in the air. A 1925 War College Study said that blacks could not fly or maintain complicated machinery like a military airplane. In the 1940s, black men came to Tuskegee Institute in Alabama to prove the 1925 study wrong. They were very good, which opened the door for the military to be integrated (units open to everyone, regardless of race or religion). The black press spread the word about...

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Letter Carriers Deliver to Homes

Letter Carriers Deliver to Homes

by Sandra Merville Hart Before the Civil War, everyone had to visit the post office to pick up their mail.     The U.S. Postal Service begins home delivery in Ohio. In 1863, Joseph Briggs, one of the postal workers in Cleveland, Ohio, convinced the officials to deliver the mail for free to those living in the city. Soon other cities received free mail delivery.   After the Civil War ended, many soldiers who had been disabled in the war became letter carriers. Only cities with over 20,000 people received free mail delivery. At first, the Post Office only provided free mail delivery to cities with a population over 20,000. After 1887, the number was lowered, but it still didn’t include small towns and those living in the country. Those living on farms...

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Mail by Pail

Mail by Pail

by Sandra Merville Hart Delivering the mail to isolated areas has been a challenge over the years for the Post Office. In 1845, a new service called Star Routes began. Private letter carriers were hired to deliver the mail these areas, allowing the person to decide the best way to do to the job. Some surprising ways have been used. Stagecoaches Stagecoaches delivered the mail before the Star Routes began. Stage companies wanted mail contracts because delivering mail made the most money. They continued to be used until the early 1900s. Mail bags were stored under the driver’s seat. Horseback riders replaced some of the stagecoaches. Water Routes A mail boat is used in Magnolia Springs, Alabama to deliver mail. Twenty-five miles by boat would be eighty-five...

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Neither Snow nor Rain

Neither Snow nor Rain

by Sandra Merville Hart “Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night, stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” Many people believe that this quote, which means that postal workers will deliver the mail regardless of the weather, is the official motto of the U.S. Postal Service.     The U.S. Postal Service does not have an official motto. Although our country’s post office doesn’t have an official motto, there’s a good reason for the confusion. This quote is engraved on the outside of the building of the James A. Farley Post Office building in New York City. This building, which is the main post office in the city, is located at 8th Avenue and 33rd Street. The motto was used in ancient...

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Passenger Pigeons

Passenger Pigeons

by Sandra Merville Hart Passenger pigeons were once so numerous in the United States that they made up 25% to 40% of all the birds in our country. There are estimates that between 3 billion and 5 billion passenger pigeons were here around the time of Christopher Columbus. Sadly, these birds have all died and are now extinct. Darkened the Sky These birds flew in huge flocks. There were so many pigeons flying overhead that they darkened the sky for hours. With a great cloud of birds about a mile wide and up to 300 miles long, they sometimes blocked the sun from morning to evening for several days. Very fast Passenger pigeons flew very fast. It is estimated they flew about sixty miles an hour, which is around the speed limit on the highway. Searched for...

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