Mr. Algood Delivered The Mail

Copied with permission from The Neshoba Democrat, Philadelphia, Miss., December 2, 1998

The Second Time Around
By Ovid Vickers

His name was Fate Algood, and he spent most of his life delivering the mail. Mr. Algood carried the mail during those days when the arrival of the mail carrier was a greatly anticipated event by all those who lived along his route.

Aaron LaFayette (Fate) Algood was born in 1890 in the Four Corners Area of Winston County. After spending two years at Mississippi A & M (now Miss. State University) he taught for seven years in Winston and Neshoba Counties.

On his first day to teach in Winston County members of the Wood family were among his students. Bessie, the youngest girl, had dark hair and matching dark eyes. Mr. Algood often admitted that the first time he saw Bessie Wood he said to himself, "Some day that young lady is going to be my wife." True to his word, several years later Fate Algood married Bessie Wood on July 25, 1915.

Mr. Algood joined the U.S. Mail Service in 1918, and in those days the roads were so bad that the mail was delivered from a two-wheel, horse drawn cart. In 1923 he moved from his home in the Plattsburg Community to Philadelphia and established his residence on Columbus Avenue.

His mail route covered the communities of Yates Crossing, Bardale, Fusky, Darby, and Burnside. Arlington and the Stallo loop were added in the 1930s. The route covered about 80 miles.

During the forty years that Mr. Algood delivered the mail in Neshoba County he progressed from the horse drawn cart to a Model T Ford, and by the time he retired in 1958 he was driving a jeep, one of the three that he wore out on the route in addition to numerous automobiles. In those days rural mail carriers needed a new car about every two years.

Fifty years ago, all mail boxes were not on the same side of the road, so one of Mr. Fate's children (Elmer, Chalmers, Lamar, and Doris) often rode with him to put mail in boxes opposite the driver's side of the car. He had a special relationship with the people along his route because he always practiced the Golden Rule.

Because of his many kindnesses to the people he served, including my wife's family in the Stallo Community, Mr. Fate often returned home with the trunk of his car filled with watermelons or fresh corn. Not only did people make him gifts of vegetables from their gardens, they also met him at their mailboxes with packages of meat if they had butchered a beef or a hog.

These many kindnesses were not unrewarded, for Mr. Fate would do errands in town for his patrons. He often had prescriptions filled at the drug store, bought needles and thread, or had plow tools sharpened for his patrons.

After his retirement, he took a great interest in the Wood Cemetery in Winston County and was responsible in 1958 for organizing the Wood family reunion. He was also active in the First Baptist Church in Philadelphia. His children say he was a great "sidewalk superintendent", giving advice, whether solicited or not, on any project that happened to be underway in the neighborhood.

Many stories and amusing incidents relative to the life and work of Mr. Fate Algood are told whenever his friends get together. Edwina Breazeale Kish says that her grandmother, Shellie Breazeale, waited each day for Mr. Fate to deliver her mail; he also brought the news of the day, including those who were in the hospital, those who had died, and other news he thought folks should know. Edwina declares that he must have called the hospital to get a list of those who had been admitted in the past 24 hours so he could report to his patrons who "met the mail man."

During the Second World War, if a family had a letter from a son or daughter in the service, he blew the horn and waited as the family read the letter aloud. He then carried the news in the letter to others along the route.

Lola Clark, the grandmother of Richard Clark who teaches at East Central, sometimes tied two messes of turnip greens to her mail box. One was for her neighbor, Shellie Breazeale, and the other was for Mr. Fate.

Hilda Johnson Stuart and her family lived just across the street from the Algoods. When the present country music star Marty Stuart was a little boy he would stand at the screen door and watch for Mr. Algood to appear in his yard. When Marty spotted Mr. Algood, he would call out, "Come get me, Algood!" Marty would then follow Mr. Algood around as he worked in his garden and yard.

The Algoods raised six children of their own and a niece and nephew for a total of eight children. He is remembered by his children and by all those who lived along his mail route as a kind man who always had something good to say about everyone. Mention Mr. Algood to those who knew him and they will say, "He loved to talk, and he loved people".

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