Born at Rostock, North Germany, in 1833, Friedrich Jeppe settled in the Zuid Afrikaansche Republiek, (South African Republic) known to the British as the Transvaal after visiting and possibly working in England. As an educated man he was soon placed in a position of trust and in 1866 was appointed Postmaster of Potchefstroom and promoted to Postmaster General two years later. Although Pretoria had become the capital in 1863, Potchefstroom remained the Head Post Office.
There were no stamps and no regular postal deliveries other than native runners, but "Fred" Jeppe was a man with foresight. With others he produced maps of the country, formulated the first postal laws and ordered the first adhesive postage stamps.
His first step forward was the issue of pre-franked and pre-paid envelopes. To celebrate the 100th edition of The Transvaal Philatelist, the quarterly journal of the Transvaal Study Circle, a handstamp based on an early handstamp has featured on the Study Circle's mail from 1991.
Jeppe ordered the first adhesive stamps from Germany in 1869 and in the following year the Boer Republic were printing there own, years before most countries would have dared to undertake such a task. It was even more remarkable as there was little money available.
"Fred" Jeppe's country of adoption continued to use his maps long after his death, at the age of sixty-five in 1898, and his name lives on today as the non-political hard working public servant, who reorganised the Transvaal Post Office.
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Fred Jeppe's 1899 Maps