Monday, June 28, 2010
Åland - The Mail Farmer
Aland mail farmers and farmhands alike had to be ready when the coach horn sounded. They knew then that it was time to carry the mail to the next farm, day or night. A stamp appearing in June focuses on the conveyance of mail. The mail route across Aland was established in 1638. Until the end of the 19th century, the conveyance of mail across Aland bore the stamp of the postal reform. The mail was conveyed in relays between farmers living at a certain distance from one another along the mail route. Mail farmers had many responsibilities and, in return, they were exempted from some of the taxes to the Crown. They were required to be able to read and write; another requirement was that each farmer must keep two farmhands to help him. The mail must be carried in all weathers and at all times. During the almost three hundred year period of mail conveyance across land and sea, the transportation technique never changed. The mail farmers rowed, sailed and pulled their boats regardless of weather conditions. At the end of the 1800s, ships that were better equipped to cut through the ice came into use and a more regular service was introduced. The mail farmers were no longer needed, and the last mail rota left from Vardo to Kumlinge on 31 December 1910. This very expressive FDC was sent to me by Ella.