Thursday, October 6, 2011

Stagecoach Accidents

Geneva Gazette, June 26, 1822

Amsterdam (on the Mohawk) June 12.
The death of Mr. Charles Coan, of Johnstown, which we have noticed in the proper place, was occasioned by this highly culpable practice. It has robbed society of an ornament, and a young and interesting family of a tender husband and father, on whose exertions alone they relied for support. He was returning on the 22d ult. from Albany, in the mail stage, which he particularly made choice of supposing, that they never run with the opposition stage, but just as they entered Schenectady they overtook the opposition, which (although they had been going for the last mile as fast as the horses could be urged on a trot, and were within a few rods of the stopping place) the driver attempted to pass, when one of the hind wheels came off, and the carriage was in an instant overturned.
The driver was precipitated from his seat, but kept his hold on the lines, and the horses immediately stopped. The stage was full of passengers, several of whom were more or less injured. Mr. Coan had the little finger of his right hand literally torn to pieces, and his wrist severely bruised. Subsequently, the amputation of the finger was found necessary, but had not the hoped effect. The most violent and excruciating spasms in a few days followed, which terminated his life on Friday morning last.
It is impossible to comment too severely upon the dangerous practice of running stages. Since the opposition line has started it is the inevitable consequence, if one overtakes the other, that the lives and limbs of all the passengers are put in the most imminent danger. Total disregard of the safety of the passengers these mortal enemies either give the speed of their horses a fair trial, or else each endeavors to cripple his adversary, by running the carriages foul of each other. What a noble emulation! What an honorable and laudable competition, this! How much are the public indebted to these spirited proprietors for such exertions!
The subject, however, is too serious to trifle with. Something should be done in order to insure those who use this conveyance, from having their lives endangered with impunity. The subject certainly deserves, and we hope it will receive, the early attention of the next legislature.

Oswego Palladium

Tuesday, January 5, 1858

Stage Upset. - Yesterday morning, as the Mexico and Oswego stage was about leaving Herbert's Hotel, at the former place, the horses started suddenly, "slewing" the sleigh around and upsetting it with a full load of passengers. Several ladies on the inside escaped uninjured, but Mr. Mabee, of Mexico, received a severe cut in the head. The driver fell beneath the sleigh and was quite seriously injured, notwithstanding which, he clung manfully to the reins and succeeded in checking the horses. H.C. Benedict, of this city, who was aboard, escaped unhurt.

Oswego Commercial Times

Tuesday, June 5, 1860

Capsized. - As the Mexico stage was entering the city this morning, the horses tok fright at the cart of a rag gatherer and were unmanageable - the whiffletree breaking, the coach became detached from the horses, and was precipitated about 12 feet down an embankment, making two completion evolutions. Very singularly indeed, no one was seriously injured. Mr. Buel, a brother of our ex-Street Commissioner, was somewhat bruised about the arm and shoulder; another passenger had his hand severely mutilated.

Mr. Randall, in the employ of the Beattus escaped unhurt. No blame whatever can be attached to the driver. This not the first instance where horses have been frightened at the sight of these small carts piled heaping with rags and tin ware, an d something should be done to prevent further accident of the kind.

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