Seward’s mail truck on summit of Sooke Road c1936.

Tommy Seward and the mail

Seward used motor vehicle to deliver mail west of Victoria as far as Jordan River in 1930s

  • Dec. 26, 2012 2:00 p.m.

While Tommy Seward may not have had to deal with the full quote;  “Come …. or high water, the mail must go through,” he did have to deal with snow and high water.

Nowadays when we stop at the stand of boxes along the street or go to the Sooke Post Office, it’s easy to take the convenience for granted. It was not always so.  From Michael Muir carrying the mail bag from Victoria on horseback in 1872, to the horse stages of men like Henry Clark of Otter Point, delivery advanced to carriers like Tommy Seward, who used motor vehicles to deliver the mail west of Victoria as far as Jordan River.

It was called Rural Route 2, Victoria, B.C. or RMD 2.  The householder’s name on the envelope, with the address as described here, was enough to get your mail deposited into the silver box that stood on a solitary post along the roadside, the householder’s name stenciled in black. No one ever heard of stealing rural mail in those days.

Tommy Seward, born in Victoria in 1907, was still a child when his family moved to Metchosin, and along with sister Peggy, attended classes at both Metchosin and North Sooke School.  When he got the mail contract in the early 1930s, which he continued up to 1946, he used a series of vehicles, the 1928 Dodge panel shown here in winter 1936, and later a ’36 Reo Speedwagon.

To my knowledge, snowplows were not available on Sooke Road in those years. It was every man for himself, with a shovel, axe and chains generally part of the winter gear.

The dedication of these early mail carriers was demonstrated when they spent hours clearing a route, and it might be nightfall before the last envelope, catalogue or package was safely in its mailbox.

Not that it snowed all the time, but cold temperatures and snow were more frequent than today.

One of my early memories is of going for a walk down Parklands Road, when I was about eight years old, to enjoy the snowy scene and admire the heavily snow laden fir branches. When I reached the main road, there was Tommy Seward navigating through the snow in his flashy roadster, a 1922 Wills Sainte Clair, with his wife Betty helping him with the mail.

It was Christmas Day, but the mail got through!

Elida Peers, Historian

Sooke Region Museum

 

 

 

Just Posted

Sooke School trustee and VIHA both call for vaccine education in schools

A renewal of cultural memory is needed, says trustee

Bungy jump naked in support of mental health programs

Registration open for annual fundraiser for BC Schizophrenia Society

CRD commission votes against alternate Malahat route through watershed

Commission voted unanimously after several speakers at meeting

Home show hits Pearkes this weekend

Victoria Early Spring Home Expo, Friday to Sunday

Saanich police look for driver involved in a hit-and-run

Incident happened Monday, Feb. 18 near Admirals Road by Murray Drive

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Federal fisheries minister calls for precautionary approach to fish farming

Government still reviewing Federal Court’s decision on PRV – Wilkinson

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

HBC shuttering Home Outfitters across Canada

North America’s oldest retailer is revamping its various stores to improve profitability

BC SPCA investigates Okanagan woman with prior animal abuse convictions

BC SPCA is investigating a property near Vernon

Man wanted for sex trafficking, confinement may be heading to B.C.

Kevin Myrthil, 26, is also accused of assault on a 19-year-old woman at an Edmonton hotel

Parksville council won’t ban single-use plastic bags

Politicians vote 6-1 against proposed bylaw

B.C. Speaker Darryl Plecas resumes battle with suspended staff

Committee meets at B.C. legislature to consider new allegations

Most Read