Petition for Post Roads, January 8, 1844
In 1844 citizens of Illinois petitioned Congress for a new post road that would reduce time for delivery of mail from New York or Boston to Springfield by as much as five days. Mail would be transported on the National Road to Lafayette, Indiana, and from there on a new post road to Springfield. One petitioner was Abraham Lincoln, then a lawyer in Springfield.
Records of the U.S. Senate, National Archives and Records Administration
Post roads, so called because mail was carried over them, date to colonial times. They were the major land routes linking towns. So vital were these links that both houses of Congress established a Committee on Post Offices and Post Roads as one of their first standing committees. As mail was the only means of long-distance communication until the invention of the telegraph in the 1840s, the speed of mail delivery affected every citizen.