We dream of a miraculous find: A hidden, well-preserved collection of the Skidmore Advance and other early papers from the area, discovered and promptly donated to the historical society or – dream of all dreams – digitized and posted online. Until that happy dream comes true, we can only read about the early days of Skidmore’s newspaper history. This tantalizing description comes to us from the January 6, 1899 Skidmore Standard, page 5:
Skidmore’s First Newspaper
Issued Twelve years Ago – Very Interesting
A very interesting paper – at least to us and our readers in and around Skidmore – was resurrected from a dusty and long forgotten packet of papers which had been carefully stowed away upon a shelf for safe keeping years ago, and brought to this office last week. It is interesting because it is a copy of the first issue of the first paper published in our little city. It is dated December 29, 1886, and in glancing over its columns one is impressed with the many changes that have come to us, both in the town and its inhabitants. Many once familiar names are seen, and memory flashes back and we see the individuals in our minds eye, as they then were, and the parts they acted in the drama of life pass in rapid review before us. Some have crossed the dark river of death; some have sought other fields in hopes of finding richer treasures; and some still reside in our peaceful little town and declare that there is none better in the land. To this last named class a few items and extracts from the paper will be of great interest.
Skidmore Advance was the name of the paper with the motto, “To publish a paper and make money,” and with W. T. Graves editor and proprietor. The paper was well patronized by the merchants and business men and in the advertising columns are found display “ads” of the following firms: W. H. Barber, general store; Hutchison Bros., grocery and book store; A. Pinkston, dealer in lumber; L. R. Walker, undertaker and dealer in furniture; Gwin & Rogers, dry goods; H. H. Joy, grocer; T. L. Marlin, hardware; Nash & Dike, bankers; Thomas & Lincoln, blacksmiths and wagon makers; Peters & Co., confectionery and meat market; Markland & Duval, general store; M. H. Wood & Co., meat market; T. L. Howden, justice of the peace; Al Class, tonsorial artist; J. M. Hutt, physician; Smith & Butler, physician; Wm. Howden, lawyer; E. T. Day, proprietor of the Nodaway Valley House; and Mrs. Julia Finney, proprietor of the Commercial Hotel. We copy the following items:
When it comes to pretty women, Skidmore can own any other town of its size in the state.
We are well pleased with Skidmore and her hospitable citizens. We hope to become better and better pleased as the days and weeks roll by.
The man who takes his home paper, paying for the same in advance, is sure to enjoy the glories, beauties and pleasures of the “Better Land.”
Grandfather Barber called to see us one day last week and applied for the position of “devil.” We were sorry to inform him that Grandfather Skidmore was ahead of him.
Mr. M. Skidmore called at this office, Tuesday, and left a five dollar bill on our table. He takes four copies of the paper. Who’ll “see him four and go him one better?” Don’t all speak at once.
The man who pays in advance for his newspaper may have a hard time in this world, but he is sure to eat “milk and honey” in the next.
Squire T. L. Howden, we are sorry to state, has been afflicted with a very sore eye for ten or twelve days past. It is now improving, and, we hope, will soon be well.
Skidmore is undoubtedly one of the neatest, cleanest and prettiest towns in Northwest Missouri, and the country around it is unrivaled for beauty and fertility.
We came here to assist in building up Skidmore and the surrounding community. We begin our work by remarking that the town should be incorporated at the earliest possible moment.
Mr. H. H. Nash says he has not combed his head, blacked his boots nor sparked a woman since his wife left for Colorado. But we won’t say anything about the matter, as Mr. Nash has determined to send a copy of this issue to his wife.
Prof. McCann celebrated his 26th birthday last Tuesday. In the evening a number of his friends made him the hero of a surprise party. Everyone who was present reports a very pleasant evening and an excellent supper.
Anyone in search of a good place in which to bring up a family of boys and girls could not select a more desirable location than Skidmore. The older citizens are quiet, temperate, and industrious, and the young people are models of true worth. Bring your family to Skidmore.
The Christmas tree at this place was a “thing of beauty.” Hundreds of nice presents hung on its branches and hundreds of happy souls were made glad by the reception of the same. About fifteen dollars were taken in at the door, the price of admission being ten cents.
A literary society has been organized in Skidmore, and now the orators in town will have an opportunity to give vent to their eloquence. The members will meet at the school house next Friday evening, when they will discuss the question of “Pursuit and Possession.” Be sure to attend.