Courier Services Throughout History

Posted on October 21, 2022

Courier services greatly benefit many modern businesses, but couriers have been delivering messages and packages for centuries. At Fleet Couriers, we continue that proud tradition with our commitment to fast and reliable delivery, especially our same-day delivery service.

Let’s look at some of the fascinating figures of history who paved the way for our modern courier services.



Even if you don’t know his name, you probably know who Pheidippides is. He is the runner who effectively named the Marathon. After the Greeks triumphed over the Persians in 490 BC at the Battle of Marathon, Pheidippides ran 40 kilometers (about 25 miles) to Athens to deliver the good news. The story then goes that Pheidippides died immediately after relaying his message. Historians debate whether or not that part of the story is true, but Pheidippides certainly was a real person. The romantic telling of his death persists, and he is honored by marathon runners to this day.


John Richards Lapenotiere

John Richards Lapenotiere is another figure who delivered the news of an important victory. This time, it was the Battle of Trafalgar, and Lapenotiere had to get to London as quickly as possible. The English were worried that the French under Napoleon would invade, and it was important to allay their fears with news of the decisive victory. He made the journey in less than two weeks on the schooner HMS Pickle and then overland via a series of mail coaches and horses. He left on October 21, 1805, and reached London on November 6 to deliver his famous message: “Sir, we have gained a great victory. But we have lost Lord Nelson.”


Cher Ami

Not all of history’s noteworthy couriers were people; Cher Ami was a homing pigeon! During World War I, getting messages between battalions was challenging, and soldiers resorted to any means available, including homing pigeons. Cher Ami (French for dear friend) had his heroic moment on October 3, 1918. Major Charles White Whittlesey and more than 550 men were trapped during the Meuse-Argonne offensive. They started to receive friendly fire from allies unaware of their location. The Germans shot down two pigeons before Major Whittlesey sent Cher Ami with the message, “We are along the road parallel to 276.4. Our own artillery is dropping a barrage directly on us. For heaven’s sake stop it.” Cher Ami was shot but made it through, saving the 194 survivors. His taxidermied body is on display at the Smithsonian Institution.


Boost Your Business with Courier Services

Our couriers may not have the same historical interest as Pheidippides, Lapenotiere, and Cher Ami, but they will deliver your packages fast! Contact us at (800) 734-9309 and take advantage of our same-day delivery service!