Centerville, IN, Retail Associate Jeff Fudge carries a torch and his uncle’s saddlebag as part of the Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay.
USPS™ employee receives surprising news in torch relay
Little did Centerville, IN, Retail Associate Jeff Fudge realize when the local library nominated him to be a torchbearer for the Indiana Bicentennial Torch Relay that he would be walking in the footsteps of one of his forebears.
Fudge, who has worked for the Postal Service® for 11 years, was nominated to represent Lewis Jones (1807-1877) who had carried mail from Centerville to Indianapolis by horseback. The Centerville Post Office was established in 1818, and in 1822, Jones was hired by his father to carry the first mail to the new, small settlement that would later become Indianapolis, the state capitol.
Leaving Centerville, Jones rode through wilderness, reaching Indianapolis on April 3, 1822. When he finally arrived in the capitol, he was met by cheers from the residents, excited to finally have a mail service. He handed over their first mail, six letters, and continued to deliver mail to Indianapolis for two years. The saddlebags he carried are on display at the local Mansion House Museum.
When the news story about Fudge’s role in the Bicentennial Torch Relay appeared in the local paper, a cousin of his came into the Post Office™ and gave him a copy of the family tree. It seems that Jones and family were early settlers of Centerville, and Fudge’s great-great-great uncle — something he had never known.
Passing the torch
So, on Sunday, Sept. 25, 2016, Jeff Fudge carried the torch, and also one of his uncle’s saddlebags across his shoulder through the town of Centerville as part of the Torch Relay celebrating 200 hundred years of Indiana history.
“Words can’t explain what it meant to me to represent not only the Postal Service but the community in which I live and work. It was an honor to be an Indiana Bicentennial torchbearer representing my family as a part of Indiana history,” Fudge said.