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In early colonial times, to send a letter somewhere you had to depend on a friend, a nearby business person or traveler get your message out. While more efficient than the old bottle thrown into a body of water system, you'd still be waiting a long time for a response. The first official mail service in the colonies began in 1639 in Massachusetts. Within a hundred years, the first postmaster general was appointed, and soon enough Benjamin Franklin held that position. Franklin made many important improvements during his nearly 40-year tenure, reorganizing the system, placing milestones along new and shorter routes, and implementing regular schedules.