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Barefoot Mailmen of Florida

Join me for an A to Z Road Trip!

I’m taking you on a road trip with me by sharing travel photos for this year’s A to Z Blog Challenge. So come along as we explore some of my favorite offbeat, overlooked and just plain interesting places in Texas… and beyond!

Today is letter B:
Barefoot Mailmen of Florida

Barefoot Mailman of Hillsboro, FL (photo by Tui Snider)
Barefoot Mailman of Hillsboro, FL (photo by Tui Snider)

Florida’s treacherous terrain

One reason southern Florida remained sparsely populated for so long is because of its dense undergrowth. Even today, most public parks feature raised wooden boardwalks through the woods for visitors rather than mere trails.

Barefoot Mailman of Hillsboro, FL (photo by Tui Snider)
Barefoot Mailman of Hillsboro, FL (photo by Tui Snider)

Boating, walking and swimming mailmen

So imagine traversing this rough terrain by yourself, fending off alligators, bugs and venomous snakes…while completely barefoot! These guys had to walk, swim and even boat to get the job done.

Barefoot Mailman of Hillsboro, FL (photo by Tui Snider)
Barefoot Mailman of Hillsboro, FL (photo by Tui Snider)

Badass Postal Carriers

Seems crazy, but in the 1800’s a group of 11 shoeless postal carriers delivered the mail between Miami and Palm Beach. One of these fellows, named James E. Hamilton, disappeared during his route. The evidence left behind suggests that he was eaten by a shark or an alligator during a section of his route that required him to swim. Yikes!

Barefoot Mailman of Hillsboro, FL (photo by Tui Snider)
Barefoot Mailman of Hillsboro, FL (photo by Tui Snider)

Barefoot Mailman statue in Florida

Today, a statue commemorating James E. Hamilton stands in front of the police department in the town of Hillsboro, Florida. There’s also an engraved cenotaph (a memorial that does not include a body) here, as well.

See for yourself:

To visit this statue commemorating Mr. Hamilton and the other brave souls who delivered mail on this dangerous route, head to 1210 Hillsboro Mile, Hillsboro Beach, Florida.  2018 Update: You may also enjoy visiting the Historical Society of West Palm Beach. They’ve got a wonderful (and FREE) museum. I visited there recently and learned a lot. They have a display about barefoot mailmen, among other interesting local history. Check it out! (I even bought Theodore Pratt’s book, The Barefoot Mailman.)

Psst! Instagram, anyone?

If you are on Instagram, I’d be delighted to follow you! Simply follow my photo feed (@TuiSnider) on Instagram (and/or if you are into historic cemeteries, check out my new account, @GraveHour.) If you’re not spammy or a robot, I’ll follow you back!

What is the April A to Z Blog Challenge?

 

Each April, bloggers from all over the world participate in the April A to Z blog challenge, and you can too. It’s a lot of fun and it’s a great way to meet other bloggers.

To play along, all you do is make a blog post for each letter of the alphabet during April, then use the blog hop linky to visit as many other bloggers as you can. In addition to my personal blog here, I’m also writing A to Z posts for the the Story Dam writing community. You can check those out by clicking here: Story Dam’s Writing Quotes & Encouragement

Check out more April A to Z Blog Challenge Participants by clicking the link below:

Find out more about the April A to Z blog challenge, and check out the other participants!

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Curious about my books? I’ve got 3, so far…


To read about more weird, offbeat, and overlooked places, check out my best-selling travel guide: 
UNEXPECTED TEXAS: Your Guide to Offbeat & Overlooked History, Day Trips & Fun Things to do near Dallas & Fort Worth
.

For ghost hunting hot spots, check out my best-selling travel guide to haunted places: 
PARANORMAL TEXAS: Your Travel Guide to Haunted Places near Dallas & Fort Worth
.

For a strange-but-true tale of Texas history, check out this bizarre piece of West Texas history: 
The Lynching of the Santa Claus Bank Robber

 


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No matter where you live in the galaxy, Tui's books can take you on a FUN adventure!
No matter where you live in the galaxy, Tui Snider’s books can take you on a FUN adventure!

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13 Comments

  1. bob bob

    Sounds like a great job to me. As a retired US Postal Service worker, my experience has been that, humans are far more dangerous than gators or sharks.

  2. Definitely not a job I would want. Interesting story.

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      I know what you mean, Karen! Sounds utterly thankless, doesn’t it? Thank you for dropping by and Happy A to Z-ing to you. :)

  3. Fascinating! People were so tough and dedicated back then. Now people bitch if the office doesn’t provide a Keurig machine or decent toilet paper. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of the Barefoot Mailmen, and my grandparents lived in Florida. Thanks for helping to keep their memory alive! :)

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      Hey, Li! Your Keurig remark cracked me up. It’s so true! The more historic research I do, the more respect and awe I have for how tough our ancestors were. Btw, I love your blog! Thank you for dropping by and Happy A to Z-ing to you. :)

  4. Well, the postal’s service motto about delivering the mail no matter what.

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      Ha! No kidding… Although, when I lived on a little island and our mail was delivered once a week by rubber raft, our mailman would not deliver if it was foggy or if the seas were too rough. He didn’t have to worry about being eaten by gators, either! Thank you for dropping by and Happy A to Z-ing to you. :)

  5. What an interesting story! I love stories like this, thanks for sharing. I hope you enjoy the rest of the A to Z and find some blogs as interesting as yours to read.
    @ScarlettBraden from
    Frankly Scarlett

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      Hi Scarlett! I’ll be sharing lots more, so I hope you swing by again sometime. Thank you for dropping by and Happy A to Z-ing to you. :)

  6. Too bad that many of today’s mail carriers aren’t as dedicated….or WalMart workers…or McDonald’s staff…sigh

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      I’m glad, at least, that folks took the time to remember this incredible group of postal carriers. Btw, your blog has been taking me on some amazing armchair travels this month, and it’s only just begun. Talk about dedication! :D Thank you for dropping by and Happy A to Z-ing to you. :)

  7. Too bad many of today’s mail carriers aren’t as dedicated. Or WalMart workers…or McDonald’s staff…sigh

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      Ahoy! Two comments from you on the same post. Thanks, David! :D Thank you for dropping by and Happy A to Z-ing to you. :)

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