In the past few months, we have seen news coverage of possible post office closings throughout the U.S. This is not a new phenomenon, though, and in 1901 it meant the official end of a small town in northwest Missouri. Then, as now, progress sparked more changes and in the case of Guy, Missouri, free rural mail delivery meant the end of the post office at Hiram Knepper’s store. Not long after the end of the post office, Mr. Knepper’s store closed, and Mr. Knepper himself passed away.
This milestone was reported in the January 11, 1901 Skidmore Standard on page 5:
Six miles west and two miles north of Skidmore there is a little country store owned by Mr. Hiram Knepper. During the past fifteen years he has been there, devoting part of his time to his farm and the rest to selling the farmers of that community sugar, coffee, tea, soap, tobacco, etc. – when they did not want to spare the time to come to Skidmore – and “keeping” the postoffice. The pay which Mr. Knepper received from the post-office did not, of course, amount to much; not enough to remunerate him for his trouble in handling and caring for the mail, but he continued to be postmaster all these years mainly because some one had to be, and because his store was a more convenient place for his neighbors than any other in the neighborhood. But the establishing of the rural free mail delivery routes has changed all this, and the people can no longer go to Mr. Knepper’s store and get their mail. Mr. Knepper came to Skidmore Monday and turned over to postmaster Howden all of the postal guides, books, pamphlets of rules and regulations, etc., which had accumulated during his 15 years term in office. And Guy, Atchison county, Missouri, will no longer be entered in the postal guides issued by the government.