Route Number Four

Postmaster T. L. Howden worked hard to secure free rural mail delivery routes for all the houses and farms in the area surrounding Skidmore.  The August 14, 1903 Skidmore Standard reported on one of those new routes on its front page:

Route Number Four.

To be Established September 1 — Scattering Remarks About Some of the Patrons.

Postmaster T. L. Howden, G. Mark Brown, Bert Shaw, the new carrier, and a Standard man were calling on a number of people on the new mail route, which will be the fourth route out of our city and will start September the 1st.  Mr. Brown was willing to supply each family with an approved mail box, having two samples with him, and the Standard man was talking Standard.  We found the people in good spirits and the corn and fruit looking much better than we expected.

Joseph VanAusdall’s was the first place at which we stopped and he cheered us up by giving us some very fine sweet apples, which started Mr. Howden telling how very superior Missouri fruit is to the fruit he saw on his recent trip through Michigan.

We passed on down through Union Valley with only a few stops as those people are now on route 2 but will be changed to the new route.

At J. A. Finney’s we found the men folks not at home but Mrs. Finney said they needed the Standard and we very gladly took her name.  A short distance from here we found a number of neighbors working the road and of course we stopped a moment.  In that crowd were two young men, Owen Phipps and J. H. Campbell, who were soon convinced that they must have the Standard and we fixed them up in a few minutes.

Just about this time a dark rainy looking cloud had formed in the west and our chief engineer, T. L. Howden, who also proved himself to be a very poor judge of the weather, came near getting us caught in the rain, but we reached Mr. Luke Smock’s after a hard drive and found shelter.  Mr. Smock’s son was at the barn and insisted on our going to the house, but the rain was just pouring down and there was a small valley between us and the house, we decided that our shoes would not turn water and, hunting up some lunch Mr. Brown had been thoughtful enough to take, climbed up in the hay-loft and spread our table.  For quite a while we waited for the rain to cease but as it showed no signs of doing so we started out, after Mr. Smock had given his name as one of the supporters of the Standard.

We made quite a number of calls from this on and all parties were very thankful that the new route is established.

At Mr. Zaph’s we were told that he would be at the corn crib so we soon found him. He was shelling corn for his hogs and we might say right here that he has the best bunch of hogs that it has been our good luck to see.  In one lot were 140 shoats weighing from 60 to 100 lbs and in another lot were about 30 brood sows which showed they were of good stock and had had the best care. Mr. Zaph has raised hogs for the past twelve years and has never lost one by sickness.  We had quite an interesting talk with him and when we left he was down as one of the future readers of the Standard.

Our next stop was at Mr. Thos. Groves and here we learned that Mr. Groves was in St. Louis, but the ladies made us very welcome and thought our paper would interest them and also interest Mr. Chas. Groves so we were allowed to put both names on our list.

As it had been such a wet day we were unable to get over a very large territory but all seemed pretty well satisfied and started for home with the intention of finishing the route in a few days.

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