DEATH OF A WELL-KNOWN CHARACTER. – Our obituary records the death, at the full age of man, of a worthy person who was better known, probably, to those of the last generation than of the present. Robert Dummett, "the blind postman of Braunton," was a familiar form thirty years ago to most people living in Barnstaple and Braunton, or accustomed to be on the road between those places. Blind from very early youth, as he grew up to years he chafed at the idea of being unable to earn his own living ; and we well remember his telling us, when he was in middle life and actively employed, that there was no reason in the world why any blind man who had his health should be dependent on others for his subsistence. For himself, he certainly chose an occupation which would have commended itself to few persons afflicted with so grievous a disability. Commencing with going errands, in which he approved his thorough trustworthiness, he became employed by the respectable people of Braunton, who were glad to encourage him and whose experience of him had given them perfect confidence in his correctness, while his character afforded full assurance of his sobriety and fidelity -- as messenger to take their letters and parcels to Barnstaple, and to bring back similar packages from the post office and from private persons of Barnstaple to Braunton and its neighbourhood. Those were days before there was any post office in Braunton, or any delivery of letters by the post-office there – or, indeed, in any other village in the district ; and Mr Dummett was engaged as a private messenger only. When after some years, a messenger was appointed by the department to walk to and fro in its service and deliver the letters, Robert Dummett was preferred to the appointment, and held it for years, to the entire satisfaction of the public. We distinctly recall his upright and rather tall person as he made his way with measured pace, keeping close by the wall as he came along the street, and tapping the ground with his walking stick. The retentiveness of his memory, and the nicety of his sense of touch, enabled him to deliver his various freight, whether letters, papers, or parcels, to their proper destination, when he had once been informed of what that was ; and we never remember to have heard of an instance in which he had made a mistake. When, at length, a Post office was established in the village of Braunton, some interest was made to get him the appointment ; but the unsuitability of making a blind man a postmaster was too obvious for the department to overcome ; and so Mr. Dummett lost that avocation. He had, however, with the assistance of this wife, established himself in a shop business ; so that he was not reluctant to relinquish the duty of daily walking postman between the two places, which he had held for a great many years. By the kind and persevering application of the late Thos. Mortimer, Esq , of Franklyn Cottage, who took a very deep interest in him, he obtained an annuity from Day’s Charity for the Blind, which, we believe, he held to his death. He was a member of the Independent Church at Braunton, a shrewd and intelligent man, and was held in general esteem. His illness was a rather protracted one ; and he died on the 23rd inst. in the village which gave him birth.
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