Soldier, legislator, judge, and author, Samuel Osgood was a fifth generation American born in Andover, Massachusetts on February 14, 1748. He completed his theological studies and graduated from Harvard University in 1770. During the Revolutionary War, he served as a company commander to the Minutemen at Lexington and Concord, and attained the rank of colonel as the aide to General Artemus Ward. From 1780-84, he was a member of the Continental Congress. At the expiration of his three year term as a representative, he was appointed a judge by the governor of Massachusetts. He was then named the first commissioner of the U.S. Treasury in 1785.
Six months following the March 1789 adoption of the Constitution, the Post Office Department was temporarily established under the U.S. Treasury Office. On September 26, 2789, Resident George Washington appointed Samuel Osgood as the first Postmaster General. The held this position until his resignation in 1791, when the government was moved from New York to Philadelphia.
In addition to being the first Postmaster General under the United States Government, Samuel Osgood made several noteworthy contributions later implemented. Among these were his recommendations of affordable postage rates to increase mail volumes, advocating additional post offices in remote areas, initiating a quarterly report system and recommending a permanent status and plan be development for the overall expansion of the post office system as the major network of communication for the newly born country.
During this time there were some 2,400 miles of post roads throughout the east coast that extended to 75 post offices located in 13 states, which provided service to the three million inhabitants of the country. Postage was paid by the addressee and calculated by distance. A letter traveling within a 60-mile area would cost approximately five cents. Letter carriers were paid two cents by the recipients for...