TOWN OF HYPOLUXO
"Home of the Barefoot Mailman"
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HISTORY



   BAREFOOT MAILMEN IN FRONT OF PIERCE HOME

 

Left to Right: 

1st  -  CAPTAIN HANNIBAL D. PIERCE

2nd -  MARGRETTA M. PIERCE

3rd -   ANDREW W. GARNETT

4th  - JAMES (ED) HAMILTON

5th -  LILLIE E. PIERCE

6th - CHARLES W. PIERCE

 

      PHOTO:  COURTESY OF HARVEY E. OYER III

 


DELIVERING THE MAIL

A century ago, South Florida was not the bustling metropolis it is today. As late as 1885, there were no roads or railways connecting the east coast of Florida from Jupiter (about 15 miles north of Palm Beach) to Miami. In fact, to send a letter from one of the settlements along the shores of Lake Worth (populated by pioneer farmers and settlers moving south for health reasons) to Miami, the letter had to travel by boat to Jacksonville, by rail to Cedar Key (just north of Tampa on Florida's west coast), by steamer to Key West, and by schooner to Biscayne Bay, where the mail parcel was unceremoniously thrown overboard to be retrieved by a smaller vessel and brought ashore. The communication lines between Jupiter and Miami were greatly expanded with the establishment of the Star Mail Route in 1885. E. R. Bradley was commissioned to take the mail by rowboat from the West Palm Beach terminus of the Celestial Railroad to Hypoluxo, then by foot along the beaches for the 60 miles to Miami -- a trip which took six days to travel round-trip. The US Government formally established the Hypoluxo Post Office in 1886, hiring Andrew Garnett (a Kentucky farmer who had settled in the area a year earlier) as postmaster. The Star Route was not a kind one. In fact, in 1887 it claimed the life of the second "barefoot mailman" (a term coined by Theodore Pratt), James Edward Hamilton, when he drowned while swimming the Hillsboro Inlet to retrieve his skiff that had been moved. It is believed that Hamilton was attacked by sharks or alligators. The danger, however, did not stop school board members, county commissioners, and would-be jurors from joining the mailman on the route, each paying $5 for delaying the mail due to the extra weight in the boat and their lack of experience as hikers. After Hamilton's death, Garnett took over the route until a rail line was established in 1893 connecting Lantana and Lemon City. The post office, however, continued operating until 1954.



MARGARET GARNETT HARRIS AND HER FATHER

BAREFOOT MAILMAN ANDREW GARNETT


Margaret Garnett Harris was one of the first persons to be born in Hypoluxo. She is the author of "Pioneer Daughter", a charming book written about growing up in early Hypoluxo. During a visit to the town hall in 2003 she was kind enough to pose for a picture standing next to a portrait of her father, Andrew Garnett. Mr. Garnett, one of the barefoot mailmen, was one of the first three pioneers to settle in Hypoluxo. He bought land running from U.S. Highway #1 to the Intracoastal, located approximately where Park Lane East now exists. The family grew citrus and winter vegetables and shipped fancy gift boxes North.


Interested in more Hypoluxo History?  Select the footprint below the  information you would like to view. 

This information is also displayed at the Hypoluxo Scrub Natural Area located just west of U.S. Highway #1 on the south side of Hypoluxo Road.   You can walk the barefoot mailman route at Garnett Park located on the corner of Park Lane East and U.S. Highway #1.   


LILLIE ELDER PIERCE VOSS - POSTMISTRESS

HYPOLUXO POST OFFICE



  LOOKING BACK

   EARLY SETTLERS

PIERCE-VOSS FAMILY

HANNIBAL PIERCE'S HOME



ANDREW GARNETT

ANDREW GARNETT'S HOME

JAMES HAMILTON

DRAWING OF JAMES HAMILTON



JAMES PORTER

JAMES PORTER'S HOME

OLD POST OFFICE

PHOTO OF POST OFFICE



BAREFOOT MAILMAN ROUTE

DRAWING OF ROUTE

MINERVA CHAPEL

PHOTO OF CHAPEL



WEATHER STATION

OLD SCHOOL HOUSE

SCOTIA PLANTATION

PHOTO OF SCOTIA



MELTON AUTORAMA

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT