Dakota Datebook

Baby Mail

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


We live in a world that is able to stay in touch at almost all times. You see people using cell phones in malls, restaurants, at the gym; people talk on them while walking and even driving. Even many elementary school students have cell phones, or at least a family cell phone that they may carry back and forth with them on their way to school. And then there’s texting, e-mail, Instant Messaging, Skype, which is a joint messenger and phone service—anything and everything to keep in contact with friends and loved ones.

The telephone as it is now is not very old; however, the mail system has been in effect for ages. Ancient civilizations had postage systems of sorts. Letter writing was considered an art form. And even today, e-mail and all these other forms of communication have not had the power to wipe out mail.

To the settlers of this land, especially to this state, mail was the main way of keeping in touch with the family left behind. Luckily, it was semi-cheap, too. Towns grew around these post offices and their mail routes.
In 1914, on this day, the Mountrail County Herald reported that one woman requested a slightly more special delivery to be sent to her by parcel post.

Mrs. R. M. Pierce, living outside of Stanley, wanted to adopt a little baby boy who had been left on the doorstep of another home in Grand Forks. Since the stork wasn’t handy, she sent these instructions through her home post office to Mrs. Pearl Blough, a police matron who was in charge of the baby:

“Place the baby in a basket. Put in two or three bottles of milk. Mail him on the early morning train, and the rural carrier will meet the train. His carriage is covered, and he will have a stove in it, so the baby will not suffer.”
She added, “Be sure to send the baby by first mail.”

So the baby was to be delivered as a special package by mail, in time for his first family Thanksgiving. And who doesn’t still get excited over a package at the door?

If nothing else, it was surely one more thing to be thankful for: a family, a home, a new baby and the postal system.

Mountrail County Herald, Thursday, Nov. 26, 1914, p.1

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Dakota Datebook is a project of Prairie Public, in partnership with the State Historical Society of North Dakota, with funding from the North Dakota Humanities Council.

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