Like the Pony Express and Overland Mail before it, the Railway Mail Service is a remnant of a rapidly changing postal system. Described by Roy L. Weedman as a “calling” rather than a job, many members of the US Postal Inspection Service (the G-men of the mail service) were recruited from Railway Mail Service ranks.
Established in 1864 at the close of the Civil War with service from Chicago to Clinton, Iowa and later the same year added service from New York to Washington. These “Marines of the mail service” sorted mail in thousands of careening, swaying, speeding rail cars criss-crossing the US. They packed 38 caliber revolvers and were expected to protect the mail in case of train robberies.
There is a regular reunion in Paducah, Kentucky, where an intrepid group gathers to catch up and rehash their interesting experiences in those exciting days of the Railway Mail Service. Contact Lois Orr Winston, 4587 Clarksville Pike, Nashville TN 37218.
reported by Lois Orr Winston and Roy L. Weedman, Nashville, TN