Since the days of horse and buggy a Daugherty has delivered the mail in the Tecumseh area of Ozark County.
That all changed earlier this year when the United States Postal Service canceled the contract of route carriers Jack and Connie Daugherty, who had delivered the Tecumseh mail for 42 years.
"My dad ran it before that, and my grandpa ran it way back to the horse-and-buggy time," Jack Daugherty told the Ozark County Times.
Daugherty said he's upset because the USPS could give him no logical explanation for the move.
After weeks of communicating with several USPS officials, Daugherty was finally referred to Bert Manchego, a USPS contracting officer/central transportation in Denver, Colo., who told Daugherty his "contract was terminated for convenience …"
"I'd like to know what that means," Daugherty said.
The Times attempted to contact Manchego numerous times, but there was no response.
Daugherty said his contract was terminated on Jan. 25, and since then he has been receiving complaints from mail customers about slow service and mix-ups. Daugherty said his contract was supposed to have a year and two months left on it when the USPS canceled it.
"I want to know, what have they gained?" Daugherty asked. "They've split it up into two routes, but they're having to cover the same ground and they're spending the same amount of money, if not more."
Daugherty said the USPS is not only not making sense financially, but they're also not considering that they are messing with the nation's heritage.
Daugherty said his dad, Vess Daugherty, ran the Tecumseh route from 1952 to 1971. Before that, Jack's grandfather ran the route with a horse and buggy. Jack and Connie started running the route in 1971 and have delivered the mail there ever since.
Postal officials acknowledged some changes, including shifting toward regional postal centers to cut down on expenses. They've cut hours at some of the smaller, less-used offices and have shifted some of their duties to larger facilities. For example, Caulfield post office is now handling much of the Bakersfield mailing. Other regional post offices with increased duties include Gainesville and Theodosia, which handle some of Tecumseh, Pontiac, Protem and Thornfield duties.
"I think it's a detriment to the postal service and to our heritage," Daugherty said. "The people have had this since the Pony Express."