Delia Haskett Rawson – Carrying the U.S. Mail

 

Delia Haskett Rawson

Delia Haskett Rawson

Delia Haskett Rawson (1861-1949) – The first, and perhaps the only female to carry the U.S. Mail as a stagecoach driver, Rawson was born Delia Buraguard Haskett on December 7, 1861 in Ukiah, California. Her mother, Miranda, was a school teacher, and her father, Samuel owned the Ukiah Hotel, a blacksmith shop and was the agent for the local Wells Fargo stage line. As a very young girl, she was constantly asking him to let her hold the reins. She also became very skilled at trick riding, roping and shooting. When she was just 14, one of her father’s regular drivers took ill and she was given the opportunity to drive the stagecoach, carrying the U.S. Mail, from Ukiah to Willetts. The trip began in the afternoon would not be complete until about 3:00 a.m. the next morning.

Warned against the danger, she set out on the trip and around midnight became very alarmed when a group of horseman came up upon her coach.

Though she was sure it was road agents, she was very relieved when she realized they were a group of singing men on their way home from a church meeting. Before long, Delia became a regular backup driver on the 45 mile Lakeport-Ukiah run, which she continued for about ten years.  

She later married and moved to southern California in the 1880s with her husband and had three children. In 1934, when the Pioneer Stage Drivers of California Association was organized at Carpentaria,  she was elected Vice President. By the time she was in her seventies, she was living and working on a 10-acre orange grove in San Dimas. She died at the age of 87 on May 15, 1949.

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