The State of Illinois Celebrated it's 100th Birthday in 2003!
Happy Birthday ILRLCA!
On February 21, 1903, the rural carriers of Illinois met at Belvidere. The following are accounts of these very first organizational meetings that appeared in the R.F.D. News. The R.F.D. Carriers' Association (as it was first named) met on February 21, 1903, at Belvidere, at the local post office. The R. F. D. News was made the official organ of the Association. Mr. E. E. Dyer of Aurora was made delegate to a national convention, if one should be called, and county organization was discussed.
The following officers were elected: President, M. G. Harnish, Freeport, Vice President, J.S. Dresser, DeKalb, Secretary, L. D. Sheldon, Marengo and Treasurer, C. A. Pratt, Huntley. The next convention was scheduled for May 9, 1903, at Aurora. At this meeting, E. E. Dyer was selected to be the state organizer for the county associations and the postmasters of all R. F. D. offices were made honorary members of the Association. In a letter written to the R. F.D. News, Mr. Dyer reported that Macon County would organize on June 4, 1903 with Mr. S. L. Croy of Decatur as the county organizer. One other important item was taken care of at the Aurora meeting. The Association incorporated into its By-Laws a Horse Benefit Insurance. The members were assessed twenty-seven cents each to pay for any horse that a carrier might lose. Of the twenty-seven cents assessed, two cents was reserved for expenses and twenty-five cents was passed into the fund. Benefits were received in this manner: A sworn statement was made by the carrier losing the horse that had to be approved and certified by the postmaster. Three patrons on the route (appointed by the postmaster) appraised the value of the horse and stated that they had seen the horse one-month previous to its death. These statements had to be approved by the state officials, after which an order was drawn on the state treasury for the amount due.
A special meeting was called on July 11, 1903, at Decatur. President Harnish of Freeport presided. County organization was the main topic of the meeting. E. E. Dyer of Aurora, state organizer, reported that the work of organizing the counties had started some time ago. Delegates at this meeting represented several counties and three new counties were organized. Every organized county in the state, except one, was represented at the Decatur meeting. There was discussion regarding the benefit clause in the constitution. S. L. Croy was elected by ballot as sergeant-at-arms.
A short article printed in the R. F. D. News, to all Illinois carriers, states, "The state organizer, E. E. Dyer, of Aurora, Il., requests that every county not already organized send to him for the necessary blanks and instructions. The Illinois state meeting will be at Ottawa, November 14, 1903, and every carrier county in the state can be organized and represented if the boys will get one-half as busy as Mr. Dyer."
CONGRATULATIONS TO MACON COUNTY WHERE THE ILLINOIS ASSOCIATION BEGAN 100 YEARS AGO! (check out the Chicago Page on the Site for details for more details on the 100 Year Celebration)
WHERE RURAL DELIVERY BEGAN - AUBURN, ILLINOIS - SANGAMON COUNTY
Source: Michael B. Lewis, Auburn, Great-Grandson of Samuel L. Lewis
On December 10, 1896, the town of Auburn, in Sangamon County, Illinois, had the distinction of being the place where rural free delivery began in Illinois. At this time, it was looked upon as experimental. The "scheme", as some called it, had been brought to the attention of Congress by a few enthusiasts an appropriation of 40,000 was made to establish the trial routes. Forty-four routes were mapped out in territory widely different in physical features, in occupation and density of population. The routes were located in twenty-nine different states.
The Illinois Rural Letter Carriers' Association has published a new history book entitled "A Century of Progress 1903 - 2003" for you history buffs. It contains historical information of the Illinois Rural Letter Carriers' Association, Auxiliary and Junior Organizations.