Lake Maxinkuckee Its Intrigue History & Genealogy Culver, Marshall, Indiana

First Rural Mail Carrier  

Sketch of RObert McFarland Who First Delviered Country Mail in Marshall County

His Services Date Back a Period of Forty Years

Chief Source of Information Ten was Plymout Democrat (From the Plymouth Independent)

The first rural mail carried in Marshaoll county, and possibly the first in the state of Indiana, was Robert McFarland

Long years before Uncle Same ever though of our present efficient system of rural mail deliver, Robert McFarland introduced and maintained a system of supplying his neighbors with their mail at regular intervals.

The system he introduced lacked the efficieincy of our present system maintained by the government but it was novel in character and embodied such merit that not a single complaint was every made of the service.

His delivery seemed to fill all the requiremts of his time, but no doubt would today be regarded crude and imprefect in the place of the broad and liberal policy the popstal department of our government maintians.

He did not make his regular trips in a closed carriage, painted and decorated in moders style. Neither did he wear the uniform that is now adopted by the authorities. He usually went afoor, wore citizen's clothers and carried his mail in a basket.

The time of his service dates back probably forty years. The locality of his service was in Union township.

At this time the Vandalia railroad running between Logansport and SOuth Bend was not built, and a coachline and mail route extended from Plymouth to WInamac via WOlf creek, Naxinkuckee, Union-town (now Culver) and Monterey.

At tegular dates this stage coach and mail wagon made its trips, and it was so arranged that on Friday of each week the passage was southward. It was friday's mail that "Uncle Bob" used to meet.

In those days the metropolitan daily newspaper were scarce articles among the farmers, and their chief source of information and inspriation in "Uncle Bob's" section was the Plymoith Democrat. It was in 1880 when the writer of this sketch became acquainted with Robert McFarland. At this time the Plymouth Democrat was edited and published by Hon. Daniel McDonlad. As is not the practice this paper was printed on Thursday and of course was always carried south on the regular friday trip.

It was a regular occurrence on Friday afternoon for "Uncle Bob" to take his basker in one hand and his umbrella in the other - the umbrella serving the double purpose of a cane and a ready protection against storm - and start for "Frizzle Town" (now Maxinkuckee Village) baout three miles distant, to get the mail. After receiving the mail and engaging for a time in the usual village gossip he would purchase a week's supply of "chewin' terbacker" and start on his homeward journey delivering the mail to his patrions as he passed their home.

He never made a practice of delivering mail to any of his neighbors beyond his house, but on Friday evening and Saturday these neighbors would call and receive whatever mail he had for them.

This was his short, crude and informal system, a system of his own, entirely independent of the government and without it knowledge or consent. It was a sacrifice few men would be willing to make, for whatever good he accomplished was done without money and without price.

Beneath the sweltering sun of summer or in the biting frosts of winter this was his constant, self-imposed duty. He never hesitated, faltered or objected, but faced his chosen duty like a true soldier. He seemed to regard it more as a pleasure than a task.

Robert McFarland was looked upon as a very ordinary man - plain, noest, frank and with a deep and sincre religous nature. It may willbe said of him that "he wore his heart on his sleeve".

HIs occupation was chiefly farming, though he preached son on the side for the Methodist Pretestant church. While his theology may have been imperfect and his sermons less edifying than eloquent and less eloquent than inspiring, he nevertheless was sinscere.

His best sermons, however, were never preached, but were practiced in every day life. He was a hero in disguie. He accomplished for the few what the government in now doing for the many. His ideas were in advance of his age. He lived not for himslef, but for others. He was a true public-spiritied man; a real benafactor.

Born in Darkville, Va. Oct. 5 1819, he died on his farm in Union twonship on his birthday, 1890, just at the time his county was ready to relieve him of his labor.

Today "Uncle Bob" rests in peace and "Uncle Sam" carries the mail. - Harry E. Grubb

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