When I was a young child back in the 1920s and 30s, the mail was delivered to our house by Evan Rudisill; all the city mail was delivered by just two carriers, Rudisill and Claude Warlick.
Mr. Rudisill was not only a neighbor, but a close friend. In fact, in those days, the mailman (as he was called) was not just an employee of the government, but a friend to any and all who lived on his route. He was a pillar of the community and, more important, a â€œwalking, talkingâ€ newsman. Most people looked forward to the arrival of the mailman, because he could tell you everything that happened or was going to happen in Lincolnton, past, present and future.
During this time, Lincolnton had two newspapers, each published twice weekly. However, for most current updates, all would wait for the mailman.
These men were tried, generous people who would laugh with you, cry with you, carry messages for you and always seemed to have time for a minute to share your problem(s). How they ever had the time to spend with you, Iâ€™ll never know.
Our carrier had his route clocked and he walked 18 miles every day, six days a week. That was 108 miles per week for a total of 5,400 miles per year.
It wasnâ€™t by any stretch an easy job, and all the time he was carrying that heavy mailbag over his shoulder. Of course, the mail volume wasnâ€™t what it is today, mostly penny postcards with light and water bills added once a month, but when it was time to deliver those Sears, Roebuck and Montgomery Ward and other catalogs, it was backbreaking work. Mr. Evan, as we called him, never complained. The only favor I ever heard him ask for was a drink of water on a hot, summer day.
Inside that bag, he carried another bag with a shiny revolver. Not that he expected the James brothers to rob the mail here in Lincolnton, but as a protection from dogs. He also carried a whistle to blow if he needed someone to come to the door. However, you could always tell when Mr. Evan was coming, because every dog â€” and in those days there were plenty â€” would start barking at the appearance of the mailman.
Alas, it was such a sad ending for Mr. Evan. He developed cancer in his leg, which the doctors thought was the result of the constant rubbing of his mailbag on his side over the thousands of miles he walked. This cancer spread to his hip and into his body and finally caused his passing.
He never got to enjoy his retirement here, but I hope that since he has crossed over the river of life, he is now indeed resting in the shade.
by Special to the LTN