Excerpt from The Heritage of Blue Earth County by Julie Schrader, Topic 32, available in the Research & Genealogy Center.
“George H. Marsh a noted horseman and adventurer, received the government contract for the transportation of mail between Mankato and St. Paul once each week on July 1, 1854. Prior to this, the mail came infrequently on riverboats. His initial trip was made on foot as far as Traverse De Sioux, near St. Peter. The remaining miles were made in an Indian canoe up the Minnesota River. Six days after leaving St. Paul, he arrived in Mankato. He then used a horse and light wagon for the return trip. Later Marsh used two horse and a covered rig to carry passengers and light freight.
“Within a year, Marsh had increased his service to twice a week with the aid of several assistants. Soon service was three times a week. Regular mail service even once a week was considered a boon to the early Mankato residents.
“P. K. Johnson was appointed the city’s postmaster on December 15, 1853. There was no need for a post office or letterboxes in the early months of mail service. On every mail day, every resident in the settlement was present long before the arrival of the post and all Johnson had to do was call out the names. If anyone failed to respond to the delivery, Johnson would merely put the letter in his pocket and deliver it in person. For surely that person must be ill or something was wrong for them not to be present on mail day!
“By 1867, Blue Earth County had twenty-one post offices named as follows: Beauford, Garden City, Judson, Mankato, South Bend, Sherman, Butternut Valley, Garden Prairie, Loon Lake, Mapleton, Sterling, Tivoli, Crisp’s Store, Iceland, Liberty, Medo, Shelbyville, Vernon Center, Watonwan, Willow Creek and Winnebago Agency.”