Otterbein student achieves highest score and becomes Westerville’s first mail carrier in 1912.

What’s with this young fellow pictured below sporting a mail bag?? In 2019, a scrapbook dated 1916 was donated to the Otterbein University archives. In it was a photo of “Gilbert E. Mills Postman” standing at the northeast corner of West College Avenue and South Grove Street in Westerville. No explanation was provided. While scanning a September 1912 issue of the campus newspaper The Otterbein Review, I noticed a small article with the caption “STUDENTS REJOICE”…door-to-door mail delivery would begin for the first time on November 15, 1912. Several issues later there was another small article…sophomore Mills had scored the highest of nineteen applicants and was appointed the town’s first mail carrier. Although the job interrupted his studies for a number of years, Gilbert did return to earn his degree and soon begin a career of teaching foreign language at his alma mater. Among the pictures here is his boyhood home adjacent to the Otterbein campus which many students pass by every day. Also pictured and still standing is the house where he first lived in adulthood and was married. Professor Emeritus Gilbert Emery Mills and wife Lillie are buried at Otterbein Cemetery.

Published 12/8/2020. Don Foster, Otterbein Class of 1973.

The Otterbein Review 9/16/1912
The Otterbein Review 11/11/1912
Gilbert’s senior yearbook picture in the 1920 Sibyl.
Boyhood home at 145 W. Home St. Mayne Hall at Otterbein is to the left.
The Tan and Cardinal 9/17/1923. Sounds like a fun mob!
Above and below, The Tan and Cardinal 9/20/1920
This is a real photo postcard I purchased a number of years ago. Postmarked 5/3/1911. It was used for the bronze history plaque below mounted on the front of the building which today houses a retail establishment.

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s