Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Interior of old Tavern

Interior of the Jerome Tavern on Mohawk Turnpike at St. Johnsville. By Rufus Grider.

Owego & Bath Mail Stage

[Owego Gazette, August 24, 1819]

Auburn and Ithaca Stagecoach

[From the New York Spectator, May 16, 1826]

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Story of Cayuga Bridge

This is all that remained of the old toll house on the west side of Cayuga Lake in the 1930s. Photo courtesy of Bill Hecht

The Famous Cayuga Lake Bridge
By Seneca County Historian Wayne Gable
   Few today are likely to know that at one time the bridge spanning Cayuga Lake near the north end was the longest bridge in the Western Hemisphere. The story of this Cayuga Lake Bridge helps to explain much of the early growth of Seneca County as well as western New York.
    Following the American Revolution, there was an influx of white settlers into what is Seneca County as well as places further west—the so-called Genesee area. One major route was the Genesee turnpike road through Auburn to Cayuga Lake where ferry boats would then carry settlers and goods across the lake to where the road continued. It was quickly realized that a bridge spanning the lake would provide a much faster flow of goods and people.
    On March 28, 1797, the State Legislature incorporated the Cayuga Bridge Company to build such a bridge. Work began in May 1799 and was completed September 4, 1800. The wooden bridge was 5,412 feet long, making it the longest bridge in the western hemisphere up to that time. The bridge was wide enough to allow three wagons abreast. At the eastern terminus of the bridge (where Cayuga, NY is today) were a tavern kept by Hugh Buckley and the first jail in Cayuga County. The Western terminus, aptly known as Bridgeport, had a toll house where the toll fee for use of the bridge was collected.
    The bridge’s success was immediate but short-lived. Built on mudsills rather than post pilings, the defective construction made it susceptible to ice and lake currents. The harsh winter of 1807 led to its collapse in 1808. For the next several years travelers were dependent again upon a ferry until a second bridge was completed September 28, 1813.
   The Cayuga Bridge had major competition, however, within a few years. In 1825, a new bridge—known as the Free Bridge--was built through the Montezuma Marshes just north of the lake. This bridge got its name because it was not the toll bridge about 6 miles to the south. An even greater competition, however, also came with the completion of the Seneca-Cayuga Canal in 1816 and the entire Erie Canal in 1825. Moving heavy goods by water was much cheaper than over land and bridge. One source says that road transport of goods at that time would cost $88 a ton, but use of the canal lowered costs to $22.50 a ton.
   Perhaps at least partially to meet the competition of the Free Bridge route and the canals, a third Cayuga Bridge was built in 1833. This third bridge was built just north of the second bridge that was still usable. Tolls over this third bridge were 10 shillings ($1.25) for a carriage with 4 horses, 8 shillings for 2 horses, and 2 or 3 cents a head for each hog. Toll revenues varied from $300 to $500 daily. Railroad competition became very great after 1841. This new bridge was sold by the bridge company in 1853, although some limited use continued. When the bridge was finally abandoned about 1858, a Mr. Scoby of Union Springs bought the timber of the bridge for $450. It is reported that many buildings in Union Springs and Cayuga were built from these timbers.
   Interestingly in both 1929 and 1930 the New York State Legislature passed bills authorizing the construction of a modern highway bridge over the ancient route of the Cayuga Bridge. Opposition from the Finger Lakes Association, however, prompted Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt to veto both bills. One can only speculate how different things might be today had such a new modern bridge have been built. Nevertheless, the contribution of the early Cayuga Lake bridges to the early settlement of Western New York cannot be denied.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

The Packet and the Stagecoach

A romanticized cutaway sketch of an early Erie Canal packet boat.

(Syracuse Journal, September 18, 1891)

Fashionable Travel Sixty Years Ago
The Champlain Canal and the Red
            Bird Line of Stages
  [From The Spirit of the Times of Batavia]

   The present generation have little idea of the way in which the rapid transit by canal was conducted. The packet was a boat about the length of our largest canal boats of present date, but narrower - her bow built with some attempt at easy draught. Three horses in single file trotted on the tow-path, dragging the boat by a line of canal boats are now drawn.
  The cabin of the packet had lockers, used as seats, along both sides, and at night they were converted into berths, with another row above, not unlike the arrangement of a modern sleeping car. A kitchen was part of the equipment and the table was set lengthwise of the cabin. In pleasant weather most of the passengers sat on deck daytimes and moonlight evenings. A bowman was stationed on the front of the packet to give warning of bridges and other matters.
  At the cry of "low bridge" every passenger instinctively ducked his head in order to not get knocked "into the drink." The expression "into the drink" was so common that nobody thought of it as slang, nor was it used in a slangy way in which we now say "in the soup," but simply as a commonplace expression of the idea of falling into the water.
  As these packets met or overtook other boats a regular rule as to the right of way was expected to be carried out. When a packet overtook a slower-moving boat, if necessary, the latter was hailed by the bowman of the packet and was expected to veer off towards the heel path and let the fast boat pass on the tow path side, the team of the forward boat stopping on the outside of the tow path, letting its tow-line sink to the bottom of the canal, so that the passing boat would go over it, and the team of the passing boat would also pass over that part of the line that rested in the towpath. The 
 The rule was generally observed without trouble as between packets and freight boats, but when two packets of opposition lines got to racing for the next lock, an amount of scientific boating took place, compared with which a modern yacht race is a tame affair.
 When the bowsman of the rear boat shouted to the helmsman of the leading boat for right of way, he was generally asked to reply whether he would take it now or wait until he could get it. That settled the question of preliminaries. It meant a race. The driver of the rear team was told to put them through, and the leading driver with an the over his right shoulder, also cracked his whip and the race began. If the rear team could gain ground so that the bow of the over king boat was likely to strike the stern of the forward boat, the helmsman of the later, sometimes considering discretion the better part, would put his boat to the left and call on his driver to halt. 
   But if it determined to keep the lead at all hazards he called an assistant with a pike or fender to ward off the stroke of the rear boat. If the bow of the latter came against the front boat, and the helmsman of the latter still kept his in the way, so that both teams drew the front boat, the second stage of the controversy was settled. That meant a backdown by the rear boat or else war.
  If the later, the bowman of the rear boat called upon his crew and sprang upon the towpath, where he seized the leading team unless prevented by the other boat's crew. No football march of today compared with the struggle that followed. The driver of the leading team did his best to keep them moving, but if the rear boat so as to get up alongside and let the rear team overtake the other, unless the driver of the other halted his team and pulled to the outside of the tow path, thus giving up the race, the overtaking team would pass him on the outside and sweep his horses "into the drink" with the tow-line.
   Generally the dispute was decided before the team got drawn into the water but a good many teams have had to swim for it, nevertheless. Similar struggles often occurred at the locks when two boat entering the jaw at the same moment, one crew would attempt to draw back the rival boat. Capt. Jim Gandall, alluded to the above, was noted for carrying a picked crew "very skillful in navigation."
   The packet drivers and stage drivers of that section of the country were a rare set of characters. They are nearly all dead now, but I think at least among them- the old -time trainer and driver of the pacer Pocahontas, and many other good horses - Otis W. Dimmick, is still living somewhere in Ohio. He perhaps never drove on the Comstock line of stages, between Troy and Whitehall, but he was on some of the connecting lines. The stages used in those days wee of the old-fashioned mail coach pattern, hung on thorough braces. 
  When fully loaded they were very comfortable, but woe betide the single passenger that rocked and jolted within them as they swung along over the ups and downs and "thank-you-marms" of the roads of that day. Splendidly team and equipped was the Red Bird Line of coaches, and each stage as it came and went was an object of absorbing interest to everybody. The drivers were known by name to every man, woman and child along the whole route. Their comparative skill in driving and the use of the whip was canvassed and discussed as a subject of the weightiest importance.
   A whip in those days was a subject of great study. The stalk was of straight grained hickory, worked down to the nicest calculation, so as to bring the elasticity at the right point. The lash was put on with a loop and hung and hung slack from the tip of the stalk. The braiding of the lash was also a matter of weight. The belly must be just at the right point. When scientifically rigged, the precision with which a skillfully hand could use it was marvelous. 
  The boast that Joel Sullivan could pick a fly off the nigh leader's ear without ruffling a hair was hardly an extravagance. It was a poor hand that could not cut a "button hole" in the skin of an apple set on the top of a post as a target by cracking his whip at it. I wonder what one of those old drivers would think of the modern whip with its bow top, which fashion indicates shall be grasped something like a foot and half from the butt.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Nellis Tavern at St. Johnsville

The Nellis Tavern along Route 5 at St. Johnsville, Montgomery County, New York,  is a historic inn and tavern built about 1750 as a farmhouse and expanded about 1790 to its present form. It is a two-story, five-by-two-bay frame residence constructed atop a coursed rubblestone foundation. After the coming of the railroad in 1836 the tavern business along the old Mohawk Turnpike declined and the building became a private residence. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1990. It was restored and is owned and operated as a museum by the Palatine Settlement Society. For further information go to www.palatinesettlementsociety.org and threerivershms.com/nellistavern2.htm

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Stagecoach Driver with Prostate Problem

Geneva (N.Y) Gazette
June 20, 1884

              The Stage Driver's Story
How General Scott's Life was Saved and
  How His Driver Twice Escaped Death
   The traveler of the present day, as he is hurried by the lightning express, in its buffet cars and palace sleepers, seldom reverts in thought to the time when the stagecoach and packet were the only means of communication between distant points. It is rare that one of the real old-time stage drivers is met with now-a-days and when the writer recently ran across Fayette Haskell, of Lockport, N.Y.,  he felt like a bibliographer over the discovery of some volume of "forgotten lore."
    Mr. Haskell, although one of the pioneers in stage driving (he formerly ran from Lewiston to Niagara Falls and Buffalo), is hale and hearty and bids fair to live man yearsy. The strange stories of his early adventures would fill a volume. At one time when going down a mountain near Lewiston with no less of a personage than General Winfield as a passenger, the brakes gave way and the coach came on the heels of the wheel horses. The only remedy was to whip the leaders to a gallop. 
    Gaining additional momentum with each revolution of the wheels the coach swayed and pitched down the mountain side into the streets of Lewiston. Straight ahead at the foot of the steep hill flowed the Niagara river, towards which the four horses dashed, apparently to certain death. Yet the firm hand never relaxed its hold nor the clear brain its conception of what must be done in the emergency.
   On dashed the horses until the narrow dock was reached on the river bank, when by a masterly exhibition of nerve and daring , the coach was turned in scarce its own length and the horses brought to a stand still before the pale lookers-on could realize what had occurred. A purse was raised by General Scott and presented to Mr. Haskell with high compliments for his skill and bravery.
   Notwithstanding all his strength and his robust constitution the strain of continuous work and exposure proved too much for Mr. Haskell's constitution. The constant jolting of the coach and the necessarily cramped position in which he was obliged to sit, contributed to this end, and at times he was obliged to abandon driving altogether.
   Speaking of this period he said:
    "I found it almost impossible to sleep at night; my appetite left me entirely and I had a tired feeling which I never knew before and could not account for."
   "Did you give up driving entirely?"
   "No. I tried to keep up but it as only with the greatest effort. This state of things continued for nearly twenty years until last October when I went all to pieces."
   "In what way?"
   "Oh, I doubled all up; could not walk without a cane and was incapable of any effort or exertion. I had a constant desire to urinate both day and night and although I felt like passing a gallon every ten minutes only a few drops would escape and they thick with sediment. Finally it ceased to flow entirely and I thought death was very near."
   "What did you do then?"
   "What I should have done before: listen to my wife. Under her advice I began a new treatment."
   "And with what result?"
   "Wonderful. It unstopped the closed passages and what was still more wonderful regulated the flow. The sediment vanished; my appetite returned and I am now well and good for twenty more years wholly through the aid of Warner's Safe Cure that has done wonders for me as well as for many others."
   Mr. Haskell's experience is repeated every day in the lives of American men and women. An unknown evil is undermining the existence of an innumerable number who do not realize the danger they are in until health has entirely departed and death perhaps stares them in the face. To neglect such important matters is like drifting in the current of Niagara above the Falls.

Eagle Hotel, Batavia

Stagecoach Sign for Batavia

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Stage-Driver

Naples (N.Y.) Record
January 11, 1873

    There is a magic in the calling of a stage-driver. Everybody knows and aspires to know the stage-driver; everybody is known by, and is proud to be known by, the stage-driver.  The little boys remember it a month. if the stage-driver speaks to them. There is a particular satisfaction to be able to distinguish among drivers, and say it was Winkle, or it was Nason, or it was Mitchell.
    The stage-driver is prince of a peculiar realm; and that realm consists of the yellow coach he drives and the high seat he occupies, and his four mettlesome horses, and forty miles of country road, and the heart of several principal roads, not to speak of ten thousand little matters of interest and pleasure, business and profit, news and gossip, with which he is connected. Hence he, like a prince, is held in reverence of the populace.
    Of all the people on the earth, he is the one who rolls by on a gilded coach; he is the one who rides through his immense estate with the most lordly and consequential air, and all the rest of us seem to be but poor tenants and gaping boors. It is something to speak to a stage-driver. It is a great thing to be recommended by the stage-driver. To be perchance known by one who knows nobody, is nothing. To be known, to be pointed out, to have your name whispered in a bystander's ear, bygone who knows everybody, affects you as if Omniscience were speaking of were speaking about you.  The stage-driver differs from a steamboat captain, in that the latter is not seen to be so immediately connected with his craft as the former. We meat the captain at the breakfast-table; he is nobody; he is no more than we; we can eat as well as he can. But who dare touch the stage-driver's ribbons? Who dare swing his whip?
    How rapidly and securely he drives down one hill and up the next - and that with fifteen passengers and half a ton of baggage! Then how majestically he rounds to, at the door of the tavern! What delicate pomp in the movement of the four handsome horses! In what style the cloud of dust, that has served as an outrider all the way, passes off when the coach stops! How the villagers - the blacksmith, the shoemaker, the thoughtful politician, and the boozy loafers that fill the stoop - grin and stare, and make their criticism!
    How he flings the reins and the horses to the stable-boy, who presently returns with a splendid relay! How he accepts those from the boy with that sort of air with which a king might be supposed to take his armor from the hands of a valet! There are his gloves, withal; he always wears gloves, as  Saratoga fine lady, and would no sooner touch anything without gloves than such a lady would a glass of Congress water.
    There is, moreover, a mystery attached to the stage-driver - a mystery deeper than the question why the carcasses of elephants are found imbedded in the ice-mountains of the Arctics - even this. Why- the stage-driver is not frozen to death in our winters? His punctuality has something preternatural in it. How, in the coldest weather, in the severest storm, in fogs, in sleet, in hail, in lightning, in mud, when nobody else is abroad, the stage-driver appears rounding the corner, just as regular as just as quiet as the old clock in the kitchen!

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Great Western Turnpike

by Jeptha R. Simms
(From: The Frontiersmen of New York,Volume I, Page 359.Published in Albany, 1883)
  The Great Western Turnpike.-- Alonzo Crosby assured the writer in 1851, that he entered the employ of the Great Western Turnpike Company in 1812, and continued the superintendence of the road from Albany to Cherry Valley for 36 years. Of course, he became familiar with every rod of ground in the 52 miles. On the road, at any early period, were the following in-keepers, whom he remembered from Albany westward: Two miles out was a Capron; in Guilderland, two miles further, a McGown, well known; half a mile above were George Brown and Frederick Follock; three miles above Brown were a Sloan and a Batterman, the latter at the Glass House, eight miles from Albany.     Next came another Sloan, John F. Schoolcraft, Russel Case, and within two miles of Case were two taverns, names now forgotten. Then came Charles Traver, ____ Boyer, ____Sharpe, _____Waldron, _______Sharpe, _____Relyea, John Winne, Peter German. In a corner of Princetown, 16 miles from Albany was Calvin Cheesman, celebrated as a shin plaster banker.
In Duanesburgh were George Young, Warren Fuller, ____Post, ____Baldwin, John Humphrey, ____Thompson, ____Vedder, _____Holliday, ____Thornton, Maj. Cyrus Marsh, ____Downer, ____Gibson--the latter at the bridge opposite Esperance, while in that place and above were ____Isham, Calvin Wright, ____Peck, Daniel House, John Brown, at Sloansville, Reuben Sloan, James Brown; in Carlisle, Henry Brown, Lucas Woodbeck, Danile Tucker, Philip Cromwell, Elijah Huntington, ___Sturgeon, ____Sloan, ____Doolittle, Siloin Parkinson; in Sharon, Zachariah Keyes, noted among the craft for his good flip and punch, ____Dockstader, ____Van Alstine, ____Cowden, ____Tinkham, ____Moyer, Madison Otis, ____Crysler; in Cherry Valley, Thomas Swift, ____ Burch, ____Coon (Village), Thomas Whitaker, ____Walton, Ezekiel Johnson; while in Springfield above were a Cook, A Fitch, a Cotes and others. Said Isaac Crosby, a brother of Alonzo, also familiar with the Western turnpike, at one time there were 62 taverns in the 52 miles between Albany and Cherry Valley.
Among the teamsters of those large wagons, remembered on the Great Western Turnpike, were Rosekrans, three; Lloyd, two; Artcher, four. Michael Artcher, afterwards a merchant in Albany, and sheriff or the county, John now living in Albany, aged 82 years. Humphrey, three. At this period John Humphrey kept tavern in Washington street, where, Loucks, a successor, kept for many years. 
This old house was torn down in 1851. Robert Hunter, called Bob, was a well known teamster. Waite and Loren Chapin, brothers, Jess and Henry Greene, brothers, and Daniel Clark, all lived in the town of Winfield, and drove their own teams, consisting of from five to eight horses each. They usually carried through freight between Albany and Buffalo. The Chapins, as also others on the road, had tight boxes, in which wheat could be carried in bulk, the freight on which, it is believed, was at one time one dollar a bushel. Another well known teamster on this road was Peter P. Fiero. Tom, a clever black fellow, who usually drove six large black horses, was also well remembered. 
He had the misfortune to kill two men at different times, by his whiffle-trees catching and upsetting their wagons; the first in Duanesburgh, and the other in Guilderland. When the second accident happened, Tom, who thought a strange fatality attended his avocation, quit the business, but no blame attached to him. From two to ten of those large wagons were sometimes seen in company, and some of them carrying from three to four tons. The horses were usually fat.
 Some carried a jackscrew for raising an axle to take off a wheel; but this was seldom done, as a hole for pouring in tar or grease was made for the purpose. In ascending hills the wagon was blocked at intervals with a stone, carried by the teamster behind it. After those mammoth wagons were supplanted by the Erie canal, several of them might have been seen about the old Loucks tavern, as also at Paul Clark's inn, in the southwest part of Albany, where some of them rotted down.
Many interesting events transpired on this turnpike. Here is one of them: One Wilbur, a stage driver, above Cook's tavern in Springfield, had the misfortune to ride over and kill a deaf man, who kept in the road until stricken down. The driver was probably not to blame, but the matter affected him so seriously that he quit staging forever. This happened about 1820.
On the Mohawk Turnpike.-- As remembered by Andrew A. Fink, George Wagner and others, were the following inn-keepers from Herkimer, 79 miles from Albany, descending the valley. They may not be named in just the order in which they stood. John Rasback, John Potter, ____Heacock; across W. C. (West Canada) Creek, Nathaniel Etheridge, ____ Upham, James Artcher, a teamster married one of his daughters. This inn had a peculiar sign. On one side was painted a gentleman richly clad and elegantly mounted on horseback with the motto--I am going to law. On the reverse side was a very dilapidated man on a horse, the very picture of poverty saying, I have been to law; John McCombs, Warner Dygert; at Little Falls, John Shelden, ____Carr, ____Harris, Major Morgan; below the Falls, A. A. Fink. From Fink's to E. C. (East Canada) Creek it was five miles, and in that distance were 13 dwelling, 12 of which were taverns occupied as follows: ____Bauder, William Smith, his sign had on it an Indian chief; John Petrie, Henry Shults, James Van Valkenburgh, Lawrence Timmerman, John Wagner, ____Owens, Nathan Christie, Esq., David Richtmyer, Frederick Getman, James and Luther Pardee; below E. Creek, John Stauring, ____ Van Dreser, James Billington, John Backer, Michael U. Bauder, ____ Yates, Jacob Failing, a favorite place for large wagons; ____Zimmerman, Joseph Klock, Christian Klock, Daniel C. Nellis, John C. Nellis, ____ Brown, Gen. Peter C. Fox, at Pal. Church; George Fox, John C. Lipe, Geroge Wagner, Charles Walrath, ____ Harris, ____ Weaver, Richard Bortle, Nicholas Gros, Samuel Fenner, an old sea captain, who spun his skipper yarns to customers; Jacob Hees, who also had a boat and lumber landing on the river at Palatine Bridge; Josiah Shepard, a stage house; ____ Weatherby, Jost Spraker, John DeWandler, now Schenk place below the Nose; Frederick Dockstader, kept many large wagons; ____Connelly, Fred Dockstader, 2d, who had a run of double teams; Gen. Henry Fonda, at now village of Fonda; Giles Fonda, ____Pride, ____Hardenburgh, ____Conyne,____Lepper; on Tribes Hill, ____Kline, ____Putman, ____Wilson; Guy Park, a favorable place for large wagons, kept at one time by ____McGerk, Col. William Shuler, at Amsterdam; below were ____Crane, of Cranesville; Lewis Groat, Swart, and other on this part of the route not remembered. At Schenectada are recalled: ____ Tucker, Jacob Wagner, ____ Sheilds, while the names of two others are forgotten; one of them had a house in "Frog Alley" which was burned by the slacking of lime. Between Schenectada and Albany were: ____ Havely, ____ Brooks, ____Vielie; the Half-way house was a stage house, and kept by Leavitt Kingsbury, which became noted for its delicious coffee.
In the period of wagon transport, when hay was $20.00 a ton, inn-keepers had a $1.00 a span for keeping horses overnight; and when $10.00 a ton they had 50 cents a span, or one shilling a pound for hay. In spring and fall it was a common sight to see 10 or 15 horses drawing a single wagon from its fastness in the mud. The first load of hemp from the west, said Fink, was a five horse load from Wadsworth's flats in the Genesee valley.
Teamsters remembered on the Mohawk Turnpike, were four Artcher brothers, James, Edward, Michael, and John; James Humphrey, Robert and James Hunter, Fred Getman, Samuel and Nathan Brown, eight horse teams; ____ Rice, who drove one of Brown's teams; two Haverlys, one owning a brick tavern between Albany and Schenectada; two Hitchcock brothers, Justley Simmons, of Rochester, of good repute; ____Van Epps, George Kellogg, Chauncey Ingraham, Jo. Burton, three Cheenys; ____Glasby, ____ Higby, ____Armstrong, Ruben Taff, Jerome Barhydt, and a brother, and a Vielie, of Schenectada; Theodore Faxton, of Utica; Ezra Smith, George Keller, Kit Richardson, Isaac Burlingham, ____ Sage, a heavy contractor; James Harris, ____ Best, Solomon Norton, ____McNeil, a bully; George Allenborugh, Jack Schell, a black fellow who owned a fine six horse team and usually went with Allenboro'; John and Henry Parker, brothers of good repute; James Istell, ____ Spellman, Heacox, ____ Petrie, who had a horse stolen, and Archibald Patten, who, much in debt, stepped out. Some of the teamsters were at different times on both turnpikes. Robert Hunter was celebrated as a hay contractor, and was very successful in obtaining freight. ____Sherman, of Utica, owned several teams driven by others, as also did the Doxes, of Geneva, and ____ Wadsworth, of Geneseo. Freight from Albany to Buffalo was at first $5.00 per hundred weight, but competition at one time brought it down to $1.25. The teamsters on those turnpikes were as jovial and accommodating a set of men, as ever engaged in any avocation, seldom having any feuds or lasting difficulties.
While on this subject, said Mr. Fink, in 1905-06, when India and adjoining counties were receiving many of their pioneer settlers, New England people came prospecting on horseback, with well filled saddle-bags and portmanteaus, and he often had 30 or 40 in a single night to entertain at his house below Little Falls.
A Serious Accident.-- When the moving of those large wagons came the following incident: Major Andrew Find, a well informed and very patriotic officer of the Revolution, late in life, and when somewhat inform, was seriously hurt in the following novel manner: He had been to the village of Little Falls, and was going to his home below the falls at the time. Very many Revolutionary men who had been served with liquor as a military ration continued to use it in after life. Maj. Find was not an exception to this rule, and on the day in question, he had sufficiently imbibed to elevate his ideas. He was by nature a proud and spirited man, and at this time, somewhat overbearing. Meeting a teamster named Van Derlip with a three or four horse team, he kept in the road and ordered the former to turn out and give him the half of it. Looking at the matter as a practical joke, for who would think that a footman would make so unreasonable a demand, the teamster, after twice leading him out of the road, did not attempt to give the room demanded. The consequence was, that Maj. Fink maintained the position until struck by the team or a wheel, and was knocked down and seriously bruised. Tradition says that Van Derlip, who had the reputation of an accommodating teamster, did what he could to alleviate Mr. Find's suffering, which he had thus heedlessly brought upon himself. Doctor Joshua Webster, of Fort Plain, as appears by his day book, visited Major Fink, October 20, 21, and 25, 1802, to dress his wounds, etc. It is said the injuries he thus sustained shortened his days. It seems a pity that a man who had maintained so honorable and commanding a position as did Maj. Fink during the Revolution, for no American officer on the frontiers of New York won a more enviable reputation, should so unwisely have brought upon himself such a fate.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Oswego and Rochester Stage

Oswego Free Press

Tuesday, November 6, 1833

                               OSWEGO AND ROCHESTER
   NEW LINE OF MAIL STAGES. - The Stage for Rochester will leave Oswego every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings. They will also leave, the same days, for Pulaski, intersecting the Watertown and Sacketts Harbour Stages. - The above line is furnished with first rate Horses and Coaches, Stage sleighs, &c. For SEATS, apply at the Welland House. - All Baggage at the risk of the owners.
                                                                     L. SICKELS, AGENT
   Oswego, Feb. 20, 1833

Oswego County Whig
June 5, 1844

   SUMMER ARRANGEMENTS FOR 1844 - Rochester & Oswego Mail Stage through three times a week. - Leaving the General Stage Office, under the Welland Houe, Oswego, every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning, at 6 o'clock, passing through the villages of Little Sodus, Red Creek, Wolcott, Huron, Port Glasgow, Alton, Big Sodus, Williamson, Ontario, Webster and West Penfield, arriving at Rochester at 9 the same day. Leave the Stage Office, under the Eagle Hotel, at Rochester, every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday morning at 6 o'clock and arrives at Oswego at 9 the same day.
    The subscribers, having become proprietors of the above route, have procured  First Rate teams, and fitted up entirely new and First Rate Coaches, and are prepared to carry passengers over this road with safety and the utmost despatch, and pledge themselves that no attention will be wanting on their part the comfort and convenience of those who may favor them with their patronage.
WEST & MERRILL, Proprietors, Wolcott.
Wolcott, May 1, 1844.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The old Tollgate

The tollgate lightened a traveler's pocket by a few cents every 10 miles. The term "turnpike"  is derived from the simple poles or pikes that were swung aside.

Getting the "drift" of Winter Travel

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Turnpike Corporations in New York State

"Here's mud in your eye" - No paved roads in those days!

Name of Turnpike Charter Date Length (where known) Location

Albany & Schenectady April 1, 1797 14 miles Albany - Schenectady
Western April 4, 1798 Watervliet - Cherry Valley
First Great Western March 15, 1799 52 miles Albany - Cherry Valley
Columbia March 29, 1799 20 miles Hudson - Claverack
Eastern April 1, 1799 40 miles Nassau - Berlin, Mass.
Northern April 1, 1799 79 miles Lansingburgh, N.Y. - Rupert, Vt.
Seneca April 1, 1800 160 miles Utica - Canandaigua and branches
Susquehanna April 1, 1800 79 miles Conn. Border - Wattle's Ferry
Orange April 4, 1800 25 miles Orange County
Mohawk April 4, 1800 25 miles Orange County
Westchester April 7, 1800 10 miles East Chester - Ct. line
Newburgh & Cohecton April 7, 1800 10 miles Newburgh, NY - Cohecton, Pa.
Flushing & Newtown March 21, 1801 5 miles Brooklyn - Maspeth
Chenango March 30, 1801 65 miles Wattle's Ferry - Oxford
Oneida March 30, 1801 65 miles Vernon - Peterboro - Cazenovia
Union Marcy 31, 1801 25 miles Hudson - Claverack
Stephentown April 3, 1801 30 miles Rensselaer county
New Windsor & Blooming Grove April 3, 1801 10 miles
Second Great Western April 3, 1801 10 miles Cherry Valley - Sherburne
Quaker Hill April 4, 1801 45 miles Fishkill Landing - Conn. Line
Troy & Schenectady March 30, 1802 10 miles
Ulster & Delaware April 2, 1802 14 miles Bainbridge - Conn. Line
Dutchess April 2, 1802 125 miles Poughkeepsie - Pine Plains
Canandaigua & Bath April 5, 1802 35 miles
Third Great Western April 2, 1803 48 miles Cherry Valley - Manlius
Ancram April 2, 1803 90 miles Livingston, NY - Salisbury, Conn
Susquehanna & Bath March 24, 1804 100 miles Jericho - Bath
Albany & Bethlehem April 7, 1804 10 miles
Fall Hill April 9, 1804 10 miles Little Falls
Chatham April 10, 1804 10 miles Chatham - Canaan
Coxsackie March 2, 1805 25 miles Coxsackie - Freehold
Albany & Delaware March 2, 1805 75 miles Albany - Bristol
Flushing & Newtown March 2, 1805 5 miles
Little Delaware March 16, 1805 60 miles Catskill Landing - Delhi
Lake Erie March 28, 1805 130 miles Bath - Portland - (Lake Erie)
Fourth Great Western March 28, 1805 30 miles Sherburne - Homer
Hillsdale & Chatham April 2, 1805 20 miles Hillsdale - Albany
Cayuga April 2, 1805 120 miles Burlington - Cayuga Bridge
Ontario & Genesee April 2, 1805 90 miles Canandaigua - Black Rock
Onondaga Salt Springs April 4, 1805 55 miles Oxford - Salina
Great Northern April 4, 1805 130 miles Kingsbury - Canadian border
Delaware April 6, 1805 50 miles Delaware River - Walton
Newburgh & Chenango April 6, 1805 80 miles Newburgh - Oxford
Neversink April 6, 1805 80 miles Oxford - Kingston
Popacton Road & Bridge April 6, 1805 90 miles Kingston - Walton
Plattsburgh & Chateauguay April 8, 1805 40 miles
Utica April 10, 1805 30 miles Utica - Trenton
Rome April 10, 1805 10 miles Rome - Oneida Castle
Greenfield March 14, 1806 20 miles Greenfield - Rensselaerville
Farmer's March 14, 1806 35 miles Troy - Hudson
Waterford & Whitehall March 28, 1806 60 miles Waterford - West Haven
Newburgh & New Windsor April 2, 1806 5 miles
Unadilla April 2, 1806 40 miles Otego - Chenango Point
Jamaica & Rockaway April 2, 1806 20 miles
Schenectady, Ballston & Mohawk Bridge April 2, 1806 5 miles Eel Plaet's Rift - Ballston
Canajoharie & Charlestown April 2, 1806 20 miles Canajoharie - Duanesburgh
Hamilton & Skaneateles April 2, 1806 70 miles Richfield Springs - Skaneateles
Highland April 2, 1806 110 miles Hudson - Poughkeepsie
New Baltimore & Rensselaerville April 4, 1806 15 miles
Albany & Greene April 7, 1806 35 miles
Greenfield May 4, 1806 20 miles
Schoharie March 13, 1807 Athens - Schoharie
Essex April 3, 1807 Grog Harbor - Willsborough
Lake George April 6, 1807 Lake George - Fort Ann
Otsego & Broome April 6, 1807
Owego & Ithaca April 6, 1807 35 miles
Rensselaer & Durham March 4, 1808
Traveller's March 25, 1808 Kinderhook - Claverack
Schoharie & Duanesburgh March 25, 1808
Bristol & Renselaerville March 25, 1808
Stamford April 1, 1808
Windham April 1, 1808
Beekman & Pawlings April 1, 1808 6 miles
Catskill Ferry April 1, 1808
Military April 6, 1808 44 miles Ithaca - Oxford
Middletown April 6, 1808
Oneida & Jefferson April 8, 1808 Rome - Putnam's Ferry
Norwich & Preston April 8, 1808 5.8 miles
Aurora April 8, 1808 40 miles Montezuma - Ithaca
Green River April 11, 1808 Hudson - Mass. Line
Jericho & Norwich April 11, 1808 16 miles Bainbridge - Norwich
Sherburne & Lebanon Salt Spring April 11, 1808 10 miles Sherburne - Lebanon
Cook-House & Jericho April 11, 1808
Ulster & Orange Branch April 11, 1809 Minisink - Montgomery
Woodstock Branch Feb. 11, 1809
Mountain March 11, 1809
Charlotte River, Windham & Durham March 17, 1809
Brooklyn, Jamaica & Flatbush March 17, 1809 Brooklyn - Jamaica
Athens March 24, 1809 Athens - Susquehanna Tnpke
Utica & Minden March 24, 1809
Rockland March 27, 1809
Dunderbergh & Clove March 27, 1809
Clove March 27, 1809
Goshen & Minisink March 27, 1809
Eastern Union March 27, 1809
New Windsor & Cornwall March 30, 1809
Owego March 30, 1809 Owego - Milford, Pa.
Angelica & Allegany Feb. 8, 1810 Angelica - Allegany River
Bedford Feb. 17, 1810 Bedford, NY - Ridgefield, Ct.
Middle Patent Feb. 17, 1810 Bedford, NY - Greenwich, Ct.
Warwick & Minisink March 2, 1810 Shawangunk - NJ line
Westchester & Dutchess March 9, 1810 Cortlandt - Quaker Hill
Ulster & Delaware First Branch March 9, 1810 Hudson River to U&D Tnpke
Durham & Broome March 23, 1810 Prink Street - Mountain Tnpke
Walton & Franklin March 23, 1810
Paris & Bridgewater March 23, 1810 Litchfield - Westmoreland
Newburgh & Sullivan March 30, 1810 Newburgh - Neversink Falls
Little Falls & Fairfield March 23, 1810
Whitehall & Granville April 2, 1810 15 miles
St. Lawrence April 2, 1810 Great Bend - Malone
Newburgh & Platteskill April 2, 1810
Bath & Geneva April 5, 1810 50 miles
Mohawk & Black River April 5, 1810 35 miles Rome - Turin
Hadley, Luzerne & Marlborough Feb. 16, 1811 Carpenter's Ferry - Plattekill
Southern Westchester March 22, 1811 Westchester County
Washington & Saratoga March 30, 1811 Saratoga - Arlington, Vt.
Black River March 30, 1811 Black River - Sackets Harbor
Croton April 8, 1811 Croton - Ct. state line
Portage April 8, 1811 Lake Erie - Chautauqua Lake
Spencer & Seneca April 8, 1811 Candor - Watkins Glen
Madison County April 8, 1811 Morrisville - Peterboro
Lebanon April 8, 1811 Lebanon - DeRuyter
Great Bend & Union April 8, 1811
Ballston & Saratoga Springs April 8, 1811 Ballston Lake - Saratoga Springs
Lewis April 8, 1811 Boonville - Lowville
Narrowsburgh & Sullivan April 9, 1811 Narrowburgh - Bethel
Manlius & Truxton April 9, 1811
DeRuyter & Eaton April 9, 1811
Bethel Branch April 9, 1811 Big Eddy - Neversink
Bridgewater & Litchfield April 9, 1811
Canandaigua, Palmyra & Pultneyville April 9, 1811
Tioga April 9, 1811 Jericho & Bath Tpke - Owego & Ithaca Tpke
LeRay & Cape Vincent Feb. 21, 1812 Waertown - Cape Vincent
Hempstead March 20, 1812 Jamaica & Hempstead
Union May 25, 1812
Goshen & West Town June 1, 1812
Ogdensburg June 8, 1812 Ogdensburg - Indian River
Mount Hope & Lumberland June 8, 1812 Sullivan County
Merritt's Island June 8, 1812 Sullivan County
Cazenovia & German June 10, 1812
Cayuga & Susquehanna June 10, 1812 Ithaca - Owego
Hamilton June 12, 1812 Hamilton - Madrid
Newburgh & Plattekill June 12, 1812
Cortland & Seneca June 12, 1812 Homer - Ithaca
Delaware June 12, 1812 Narrowsburgh - Snook's Ridge
Cairo & East Kill June 15, 1812 Cairo - Windham
Eagle Village June 15, 1812 Manlius - Cazenovia
Sacandaga June 15, 1812 Fish House - Scotia
Nelson & DeRuyter June 15, 1812
Whitehall & Granville June 19, 1812
Peekskill June 19, 1812 Peekskill - York
Potsdam & Hopkinton Feb. 5, 1813
Parishville Feb. 5, 1813 Potsdam - Ogdensburg
Jericho March 20, 1813 Oyster Bay - Jamaica
Great Island April 9, 1813 Goshen - Florida
Dutchess Union April 9, 1813 Beekman - Conn. Line
New Paltz & Plattekill April 9, 1813
Scaghticoke April 12, 1813 Northern Tpke - Viele's Bridge
Blue Mountain March 11, 1814 Greenland - Saugerties
Williamsburgh & Turnpike Bridge March 11, 1814 Kings County
Fifth Great Western March 25, 1814 Homer - Genoa
Newtown March 25, 1814 Elmira - Watkins Glen
Roxbury, Bleheim & Broome March 25, 1814
Newton & Bushwick March 25, 1814 Brooklyn
New Antrim & Waynesburgh April 1, 1814
Princetown April 6, 1814 Burton's Bridge - Schenectady
Montgomery April 9, 1814 Fort Montgomery - Monroe
Kaaterskill April 14, 1814 Catskill - Cairo
Merritt's Island & West Town April 14, 1814
Homer & Cayuga April 15, 1814 Homer - Cortland
Monticello April 15, 1814
New Hamburgh March 24, 1815 Dutchess County
Snake Hill March 24, 1815 Newburgh - Windsor
Rochester March 31, 1815 Rochester - Canandaigua
Cape Vincent March 31, 1815 Cape Vincent - Brownville
Montezuma March 31, 1815 Elbridge - Palmyra
Richmond March 31, 1815 Staten Island
Junius April 7, 1815 Cayuga Bridge - Phelps
Throopsville April 7, 1815 Skaneateles - Throopsville
Phillipstown April 14, 1815 Cold Spring Landing - Patterson
Boonville April 17, 1815 Boonville - Leyden
Salt & Gypsum April 17, 1815 Oxford - Salina
Johnstown April 18, 1815 Tribe's Hill - Johnstown
Cazenovia & Truxton April 18, 1815
Troy & Sand Lake Feb. 20, 1816
Greenbush & Nassau March 22, 1816
Oriskany April 5, 1816
Spencer & Candor April 12, 1816
Catharine & Spencer April 12, 1816
Malta & Saratoga April 12, 1816 Half Moon - Malta
Ithaca & Hamburgh April 12, 1816 Ithaca - Hamburgh
Homer & Genoa April 12, 1816
Chenango & Onondaga Aprl 12, 1816 Salina - Binghamton
Junius & Hector April 17, 1816 Seneca Falls - Hector
Nelson April 17, 1816 Eaton - Cazenovia
Nyack April 17, 1816 Nyack Landing - Hempstead
Blooming Grove & Greycourt April 17, 1816
Madison County South Branch April 17. 1816 Lebanon - Peterboro
Ithaca & Ludlowville Feb. 21, 1817
Niagara & Chautauqua Feb. 28, 1817
Long Island Feb. 28, 1817 Hempstead - Sag Harbor
Block House & Glasgow March 10, 1817 Clyde - Port Glasgow
Oswego Falls & Sodus Bay March 14, 1817 Fulton - Port Glasgow
Fishkill Mountain March 31, 1817 Dutchess County
Homer & Elbridge March 28, 1817
Oswego & Sodus Bay Branch March 28, 1817 Auburn - Sterling
Westchester & Pelham April 5, 1817 Putnam County
Albany & Schoharie April 5, 1817
South Oyster Bay April 7, 1817
Huntington & Smithtown April 15, 1817
Pawlings & Beekman April 3, 1817
Westmoreland & Sodus Bay April 10, 1818 Hampton - Sodus Bay
Buffalo & Manchester April 10, 1818
Florida & White Oak Island April 10, 1818
DeRuyter & Cazenovia April 10, 1818
Hamilton & Columbus April 10, 1818 Morrisville - Griffin's Mills
German & Cincinnatus April 10, 1818
Cazenovia & Chittenango April 10, 1818
Blenheim & Jefferson April 10, 1818
Jefferson April 10, 1818 Schoharie County
Benton & Wayne April 17, 1818 Yates County
Saugerties Branch April 17, 1818 Saugerties - Plattekill
Otsego Lake April 17, 1818 Riddle's Bay - Springfield
Oxford Turnpike & Unadilla Bridge April 20, 1818 Oxford - Unadilla
Dunkirk & Moscow April 20, 1818 Dunkirk - Leicester
Stamford & Middletown April 21, 1818
Otego April 21, 1818 New Berlin - Charlotte River
Gardner's Island April 21, 1818 Orange County
Warsaw & Lake Erie April 21, 1818 Leicester - Hamburgh
Brookfield & Sherburne March 12, 1819
Turin & Leyden March 26, 1819
Clove April 2, 1819
Corinth & Tully April 9, 1819 Syracuse - Tully
Delhi & Franklin April 9, 1819 Delaware County
McDonough April 9, 1819 Oxford - Cincinnatus
Franklin April 9, 1819 Manlius - Fabius
Geneganslet April 12, 1819 Chenango Point - Smithville
Cortland & Owego April 13, 1819
Fort George April 13, 1819
Little Falls & Oldenbarneveld April 12, 1819
Niagara, Cattaraugus & Chatauqua April 12, 1819 Buffalo - Fredonia
Oxford & Butternuts April 12, 1819 Oxford - McDonald's Bridge
Plattekill April 12, 1819 Plattekill - Hunter
Rome April 12, 1819 Rome - road to Oneida
Wawarsing & Traps April 7, 1820 Ulster County
Hampton & Whitehall April 11, 1820 Norton's Mills - Whitehall
Kent & Carmel March 23, 1821 Putnam County
Petersburgh Feb. 8, 1822 Troy - Mass. Line
Troy & Sand Lake Feb. 12, 1822
Bainbridge & Deposit March 20, 1822
Sandford March 22, 1822 Deposit - Pa. line
Charlotte April 12, 1822 McDonald's Bridge - Harpersfield
Hunter April 12, 1822 Hunter - Saugerties
Canal Feb. 28, 1823 Lee - Turin
Long Causeway April 7, 1823 Hartland, Niagara County
Spring April 10, 1823 Waterford - Whitehall
Goshen & Munroe April 12, 1823 Orange County
Hector & Catharine April 15, 1823
Ulster & Delaware Western April 19, 1823 Esopus Creek - Middletown
Sand Lake & Nassau April 23, 1823
Monroe & Haverstraw March 10, 1824
Batavia & Newport March 27, 1824
Oxford & Windsor April 3, 1824
Harpersfield, Jefferson & Blenheim April 6, 1824
Buffalo April 10, 1824 Buffalo Creek - Lake Erie
Nassau April 10, 1824 Nassau - Sand Lake
Onondaga & Cortland April 10, 1824
Whitehall & Fairhaven April 10, 1824
Port Kent & Malone March 29, 1825
Auburn & Port Byron April 13, 1825 Auburn - Mosquito Point
Saugerties & Woodstock April 14, 1825
Hemlock Lake April 15, 1825
Broome & Tioga April 20, 1825 Binghamton - Caroline
Rochester Portage April 20, 1825 Gates - Handford's Landing
Bath & Sparta April 12, 1826 Liberty Corners - Dansville
Buffalo & Hamburg April 13, 1826
Flushing & Huntington Northern April 13, 1826
Greenbush & Troy April 14, 1826
Cherry Valley & Canajoharie April 17, 1826
Parishville March 23, 1827 St. Lawrence County
Catskill & Mountain April 6, 1827 Greene County
Eastern Branch April 7, 1827 Troy - Berlin
Putnam & Dutchess April 11, 1827 Somers - Pawlings
Stephentown & Nassau April14, 1827
Tully & Syracuse April 16, 1827
Wallabocht & Bedford April 16, 1827 Brooklyn - Bedford
Otisville Feb. 19, 1828 Calhoun - D&H Canal
Lansingburgh March 28, 1828 Lansingburgh - Hudson River
Spencer & Danby March 31, 1828
Watervliet March 31, 1828 Albany - Troy
Hudson River & Delaware April 15, 1828 Ulster County
Dover & Union Vale April 19, 1828 Dutchess County
Chateaugay, Franklin & St. Lawrence April 21, 1828 Military Road - Malone
Greene & Delaware April 21, 1828 Hunter - Middletown
Painted Post April 21, 1828 Chimney Narrows - Irwin
Saugerties & Woodstock April 21, 1828
Canajoharie& Sharon Feb. 9, 1829
Ithaca & Havana March 28, 1829
Flushing & Huntington April 14, 1829
Rome & New London April 17, 1829
Saratoga County April 18, 1829 Waterford - Ballston Spa
Rome & Vienna April 23, 1829
Bethpage April 23, 1829 Hempstead - Babylon
Deep Hollow Branch April 27, 1829
Cooperstown, Schoharie & Durham April 30, 1829 Cooperstown - Durham
East Kill May 1, 1829 Lexington - Windham
Buffalo & Hamburg Jan. 8, 1830
Ellenville & Shawangunk April 17, 1830 Ellenville - Sam's Point
Delaware & Meredith April 20, 1830 Delhi - Meredith
Kingston & Middletown Feb. 17, 1831
New Paltz April 9, 1831
Liberty & Bethel Branch April 21, 1831
Oneonta & Franklin April 22, 1831
Syracuse & Pulaski April 23, 1831
Tully & Syracuse April 25, 1831
Blenheim, Jefferson & Harpursville April 3, 1833
Highland April 8, 1833
East Salem April 19, 1833 Washington County
Salina & Oswego April 24, 1833 (via Phoenix & Fulton)
Sag Harbor & Bull's Head April 29, 1833
Troy & Schenectady McAdam April 30, 1833
Moira April 30, 1833 Moira - Cedar Point
Chemung March 25, 1834 Elmira
Utica & New Berlin McAdam March 26, 1834
Rensselaer & Berkshire Tunneling March 29, 1834
Butternuts & Oxford April 16, 1834
New Paltz & Liberty April 22, 1824
East Creek April 24, 1824 Manheim - East Canada Creek
Plattekill April 28, 1824
Binghamton & Harpursville May 2, 1824
Oneida & Jefferson May3, 1824 Rome - Sackets Harbor
Gowanus, Fort Hamilton & Bath May 6, 1834
Oneonta & Franklin April 13, 1835
Oxford & Cortlandville April 13, 1835
Petersburgh, Grafton & Brunswick April 20, 1835
Kingston Turnpike & Railroad April 23, 1835
Bath & Coney Island April 23, 1835
Bushwick & Dover Union April 23, 1835
Bainbridge & Oxford May 2, 1835
North Hempstead & Flushing May 4, 1835
LeRoy & Brockport McAdam May 4, 1835
Gilboa & Jefferson May 4, 1835
Sweden McAdam May 11, 1835 Brockport - Lake Ontario
Bethel & Lumberland May 11, 1835
Butternuts & Sherburne April 9, 1836
Westfield & Nettle Hill April 11, 1836 Chautauqua County
Newtown Bridge April 26, 1836
Buffalo & Williamsville McAdam May 3, 1836
New Rochelle & Harlaem April 20, 1836
Norwich & Mt. Upton May 13, 1836
Norwich & New Berlin May 13, 1836
Unadilla & Deposit May 18, 1836
Ninevah & Oxford May 18, 1836
Port Byron & Conquest May 25, 1836
Deerfield McAdam May 25, 1836
Florida & Duanesburgh May 25, 1836
Norwich & Ithaca May 25, 1836
White Creek May 25, 1836 Eagle Bridge - Vermont line
Fort Plain & Otsego April 4, 1837 Fort Plain - Springfield
Lenox Basin & Chenango Canal April 24, 1837
Neatmoose April 28, 1837 Eagle Bridge - Pittstown
Clinton & Utica McAdam May 5, 1837
Steele Creek May 6, 1837 German Flatts - Winfield
Canajoharie & Sharon May 9, 1837
Fallsburgh March 29, 1838 Ellenville - Fallsburgh
Fort Ann & West Granville Apil 6, 1838
Smithville & Willett April 12, 1838
Napanock April 14, 1838 Old Paltz - Napanock
Catskill & Ulster April 14, 1838 12 miles
Falls Branch April 14, 1838 Neversink Creek - Windham
Ellenville, Ravenswood, Hallett's
Cove, & Williamsburgh April 18, 1838
South Durham March 27, 1839 Greene County
Masonville April 4, 1839 Masonville - Deposit
Deerfield McAdam April 20, 1839 Utica - Deerfield
West Troy & Cohoes April 20, 1839
Summit & Fulton May 4, 1839 Schoharie County
Unadilla & Butternuts April 10, 1840 Gilbertsville - Unadilla
Delhi & Meredith April 13, 1840
Astoria & Flushing May 11, 1840
Meredith May 14, 1840 Delhi - Davenport
Middletown & Delhi May 14, 1840 Pine Hill - Delhi
Addison May 10, 1841 Addison - Pa. line
Hurley & Woodstock May 12, 1841 D&H Canal - Bethel
Deep Park & Minisink May 26, 1841
Lumberland & Bethel May 26, 1841 D&H Canal - Bethel
Olive & New Paltz May 26, 1841
Schaghticoke & Lansingburgh March 19, 1842
Gilboa & Jefferson March 28, 1842
Gilboa & Patterson's Hollow April 8, 1842 Schoharie County
Hamburgh April 17, 1843 Hamburgh - Abbott's Corners
Otisville & Westbrookville April 17, 1843
Roxbury March 29, 1844 Roxbury - Delaware River
Northern April 8, 1844 Cambridge - Oak Hill
East Hampton April 23, 1844 East Hampton - Sag Harbor
Lexington May 1, 1844
Rome & Oswego May 7, 1844
Lackawach & Neverskink May 17, 1844
Delaware April 8, 1845 Blenheim - Harpersfield
Rosendale & New Paltz April 15, 1845
Unadilla & Norwich April 19, 1845
Fallsburgh & Liberty May 10, 1845
Greenville & Potter's Hollow May 13, 1845
Prattsville & Gilboa May 13, 1845 Conesville - Gilboa
Port Byron & Savannah May 14, 1845
Northern April 21, 1846 Washington County
Verona & Vernon April 12, 1863
Woodbourne & Liberty May 2, 1863
Middletown & Bovina Feb. 2, 1865
Wappinger's Falls Turnpike
& Navigation Co. April 22, 1867 Fishkill
Platteville Clove April 11, 1868 Saugerties - Hunter
Herkimer & Middleville Stone April 6, 1874
Kaaterskill May 28, 1881


DeWitt, Benjamin. A Sketch of Turnpikes in the State of New York (1807) published in Transactions of the Promotion of the Useful Arts, New York (1807) Vol. 2, pp.190-204 which also gives mileages and amount of capital stock.
The Revised Statutes of the State of New-York, Volume III, 1829, pp. 587-624
Laws of the State of New-York, 1797-1904
History of Greene County, New York, J.B. Beers & Co. 1884, Chapter X
Ellis, Franklin. History of Columbia County, New York, 1878, Chapter XIV

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Old time advertisement

Rochester Album
September 5, 1826

Save the Mileposts!

Oswego Palladium Times
March 28, 1931

Oswego, N.Y., March 27, 1931
Editor, Palladium-Times
Sir - Passing along the highway between Oswego and Mexico I noticed that two of the stone monuments marking the original one and Oswego Plank road had been uprooted and cast aside. I assume this was done during the reconstruction of the state highway, known as Route 3 last summer. Probably whoever did it was unaware of the historic value of these markers. I have spoken of this matter to many persons and find many who were not aware that these monuments were placed along the road. It is true that many of the markers are barely visible because of being hidden by brush and weeds.
Some people, myself included, have noticed these low stone monuments for many years, and we deplore their destruction or impairment. To me it smacks of vandalism. I hope that proper authorities will give this matter their attention and and protect these historical markers.
My information is that the markers were placed about 1847 by Charles Cross, engineer of that time, one of the pioneers of that great profession which has done so much in the matter of road improvement. My history tells me that the Rome and Oswego plank road was a private enterprise and was capitalized at $100,000. J.L. McWhorter of Oswego was president, and Henry Matthews, secretary, treasurer and superintendent. Directors were the two officers named, and Moses Merrick, Oswego; E. Bruce, New Haven; Hiram Towsley, Williamstown; Alvin Lawrence, James S. Chandler, Solomon Matthew and Myron Everts, Mexico.
The markers were placed one mile apart with the initials R and O and the distance marked on. These old mileposts are accurate to the foot. For the purpose of testing this accuracy I have several time measured the distance by the speedometer of my car and have found the posts spaced just a mile apart.
Destruction of ancient landmarks and historic sites has become all too prevalent in this age of material progress. I hope that these mile posts will be saved from such a fate.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Some of the Old Stage Drivers

Catskill Examiner

June 17, 1917

Of course none of us remember back to the time when the first stagecoach ran between Catskill and Otsego counties. However, among the older inhabitants there may be some whose memory will take them back to the early '50s when men, nearly all of whom have passed to the great beyond, drove stagecoaches between this village and Delhi or made the longer trip to Ithaca.

The earliest stage routes of which any knowledge is known, ran from Albany to New Jersey in 1803. By an act of the Legislature passed February 26, 1803, seven men were granted the exclusive right of running stages between the above points for a sum of seven years. These men were permitted to charge five cents a mile for each passenger, the latter being allowed to carry fourteen pounds of baggage free. A fine of $500 was decreed as a penalty for interference in any way the stage owners' rights. The line began running October 1, 1803, passing through Catskill in other direction every Tuesday and Friday.

During the winter of 1804 some men residing in Greene, Delaware, Schoharie and Otsego counties felt that a stage should be run between Catskill Landing and Unadilla, to take care of the business over the territory which the line would touch.

On March 28, 1805, the monopoly of running the stage line between the two points above named places was granted to David Bostwick, Stephen Benton, Lemuel Hotchkiss and Terrence Donnelly, for seven years. The legislature fixed a penalty of $50 for any infringement of this right. It also specified the two wagons on sleigh with a sufficient number of horses should be kept on the line. This grant was renewed by Terrence Donnelly, June 8, 1812, for an additional term of seven years.

The stages were required to make the round trip as often as once in eight days. The fare for passengers was fixed at five cents per mile. The stage leaving Catskill on Wednesday morning would arrive in Unadilla Friday evening, and leaving that point Sunday morning would arrive in Catskill on Tuesday.

These stages passed through Cairo, Windham, Prattsville, Roxbury, Stamford, Kortwright, Meredith, Frankford, Unadilla, and a few years later through Oxford, Greene and Lisle to Ithaca. As soon as the stage lines began to branch out, the fare was reduced to four cents a mile.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Plank Roads

Madison Observer, Morrisville

Oct. 31, 1848

Success of Plank Roads. - The people of this section are now reaping the benefit of the plank roads which have been constructed within the past year. For the past week the weather has been rainy, and traveling on the ordinary roads has become considerably obstructed by the mud, but on the plank roads the passage is as smooth and rapid as in midsummer.

We have now extending from this city four district lines of plank roads - one extending to Boonville, on the north, a distance of 32 miles, one to Bridgewater, about 20 miles to the south, and soon to be extended 20 miles farther, another to Waterville, 20 miles southwest, and to be extended 15 miles more, to Hamilton, and the fourth extending westward to Rome, 16 miles, and forming by junction with others at Rome an uninterrupted plank road communication with the northern parts of Oneida and Lewis counties, and Lake Ontario and Salmon river in Oswego county.

There are also several direct and lateral extensions of this line now in progress and in contemplation, which, when completed, will link the extreme Northern with the extreme Southern counties of the State, and open an easy and rapid communication between suctions which have hitherto enjoyed but little intercourse with the other.

All the plank roads that have been put in operation in this State, are doing a prosperous and profitable business. The roads in tis section are all reaping a rich havest of toll. -Utica Morning Herald.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Old Time Toll Gate Keeper Remembered

By Dave Dorpfeld,
Greene County Historian
Recently Tommy Hobart of Coxsackie passed on a 1955 obituary for William T. Haswell. Mr. Haswell owned the last major operating toll road in Greene County – the Coxsackie-Greenville Turnpike, formally incorporated as the Coxsackie Turnpike-Road.
What has always interested me is that portions of the turnpike continued to operate as a privately owned venture up until 1909, a time when some motorized vehicles were likely using the route.
Fortunately we know a lot about the old toll road thanks to Raymond Beecher’s book “Out to Greenville.” The first two chapters deal exclusively with the turnpike.
The early part of the 19th century was a period of great road building. Turnpikes were authorized by the New York Legislature and built throughout Greene County. The most famous was the Susquehanna Turnpike which started in Salisbury, Connecticut, ran through Catskill, out through the Durham Valley and ended in Unadilla on the Susquehanna River. The Coxsackie Turnpike was a smaller venture built with the intent of giving Coxsackie and adjoining areas access to the Susquehanna Turnpike in Durham.
The act establishing the Coxsackie Turnpike was signed into law by Governor Morgan Lewis on March 21, 1806. The charter required that the road lead out of the village of Coxsackie “…and running westwardly in the most direct and convenient route so as to intersect the Susquehanna Turnpike between the twenty-first and twenty-second milestones in the town of Freehold” (now Durham). Stock subscriptions totaling $25,000 were sold to pay for the road. The corporation was granted the right of eminent domain to acquire property it deemed necessary to complete the work. The turnpike was completed in slightly more than two years and the first tollhouse was eventually placed in Climax about where the Thruway intersects Route 81.
Tolls were authorized for the passage to every conceivable type of conveyance and animal. There were some exceptions. The company was forbidden to collect tolls from persons attending public worship, voting, or securing the services of a physician or midwife, while attending as a juror or witness legally summoned by any court, and particularly when participating in militia training. There were also certain exceptions for those people living near tollgates.
The Coxsackie Turnpike was never a big moneymaker for the stockholders and the expense to keep the road in good order was considerable. The corporation would usually contract in the spring of each year with someone or some group of men to get the road in shape for another season. There were often complaints that the road was not in good shape and in his book Beecher says there were often cries of “fix the road or leave the gates open.” In 1872, William’s father, David Haswell bought the controlling interest in the road and moved his family to the Climax tollhouse. In his book Beecher also says that Hattie Thorne (niece of David Haswell) of Coxsackie could remember visiting at the tollhouse and a family member rushing to the window to collect a traveler’s toll.
Under William’s ownership the turnpike ceased to collect tolls in 1909 – over 100 years after its opening. In 1910 it was sold to the towns of Coxsackie and New Baltimore. The age of the toll road had ended in Greene County.
William Haswell was born in Berne, New York in 1869 and he had an interesting life. Besides spending many years working on the turnpike, he was a Mason for over 50 years, a volunteer fireman for over 50 years, a trustee of the Village of Coxsackie, Supervisor for the town of Coxsackie and Justice of the Peace.
What impressed me was the report that he served three years in the Sixth United States Cavalry, the traditional rival to the famed Seventh Cavalry commanded by General George Armstrong Custer of the Battle of Little Big Horn fame.
The Sixth Cavalry was formed during the Civil War. After the war, the cavalry moved west spending more than thirty years policing the frontier and participating in 10 Indian war campaigns facing many hostile tribes including the Comanches and Apaches. This led to many cavalry troopers receiving Medals of Honor – the nation’s highest award for bravery.
According to his obituary, Haswell at age 20 “was active in the last Sioux uprising in North Dakota in 1889, serving at Fort Mead and Rapids City. He served an entire winter at the later encampment, where the Cavalry scouting corps consisted of 25 Cheyenne Indians under William “Buffalo Bill” Cody.” It could be argued that the Indian Wars that followed the Civil War were not our nation’s finest honor. I agree that it was not, but at the same time, I would have liked to have heard some of the stories Haswell had to tell about that and all his other experiences.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Mexico Hotel Destroyed by fire

Mexico House in the early 1900s. Mexico Historical Society.

Mexico Independent
Thursday, November 4, 1937

Fire Destroys Old Landmark
Built in 1823, Mexico Hotel
Important Building in
Town's History
One of the most famous Mexico landmarks was destroyed when fire of undetermined origin gutted the interior of the Sinclair Oil company at Main and Church streets Sunday morning and threatened a large area of the southwest residential section as a high north wind hurled flames and burning embers high into the air.
Flames were already eating rapidly through the second floor of the old painted brick building, formerly the Mexico Hotel, when Jesse Horton, proprietor of a restaurant across the street, discovered the fire at 6:40 a.m.
The fire gave Mexico volunteer firemen a stiff three-hour battle and it was only the capable work on the part of Chief Orson Pond and members of the Volunteer Corps which kept the flames from reaching the two-story home of Newton Parsons, about 20 feet south of the building.
At no time was the fire out of control, only danger of its spreading was by the wind which carried smoke and burning cinders over the southern part of Mexico.
No cause can be given for the fire which started, Chief Pond said, on the second floor, probably in the northwest corner. Sinclair Oil company officials said there were no fires burning in the building over night.
The brick walls of he old structure confined the heat and flames to its interior. The Town Hall, approximately 50 feet from the burning building was protected by fire proof walls and roof.
Four lines of hose, totally 2,00 get, were connected from a hydrant in front of the building and from a pumper connection on the Niagara Hudson Power company office in Main street. Two hoses were played on the blaze from Church street, another from Main street and a fourth from the rear of the building.
Mrs. Fred Ruth, Mrs. Clifford Ruth and Mrs. Glenn Walton thoughtfully furnished sandwiches and coffee to the firemen fighting the fire.
The building was 100 feet long on Church street and 60 feet on Main street. The second floor where the flames re alleged to have broke out has been unoccupied for some time, two families formerly making their home there. Part of the building had been used as a garage several years ago and another part for storage.
Damage was estimated at $4.000, partially covered by insurance.
One of the oldest buildings in the Mexico business section, the old hotel has had an interesting and varied career. The following history of the building, up to the period of 1870, has been submitted by Mrs. Frank Munson and Mis Ida Patten.
"The first regular hotel in Mexico village was erected on the site of the Mexico House by Mathias Whitney in 1823, and was succeeded by a better building which was burned July 22, 1864, while being conducted by Albin Meyers.
At the peak of its glory during days of stage coaches, Mexico hotel was one of the principal stopping places on the Watertown - Oswego post road. Mail carriers between the two villages would dash up to the hotel on horse back, change horses and clatter off again down the road.
Previous to Albin Meyers, the landlords were A.S. Chamberlain and Robbins, and J.B. Taylor. The hotel was rebuilt in 1865 and reopened by Ira Biddlecome, who in 1866 was followed by J.B. Davis. In January 1867 it passed into the hands of C.S. Mayo, whose name it bore for several years.
The appearance of the hotel was much different in those days, long covered porches running around both the upper and lower stories."
Landlords changed rapidly after Mayor left the hotel and some of their names have been forgotten in the long years which have followed.
Mr. William Sherman recalls that James "Jim" Sullivan was proprietor of the hotel during its most prosperous period, 52 years ago. The Mexico Fire Company had just been reorganized at the time and had bought a new steamer engine. Because Sullivan contributed to the fund raised by the firemen, one of the hoses was named after him.
The livery stables which once stood between the Hotel and the Town Hall have been torn down for 20 or more years.
Benjamin Nobles bought out Sullivan after the latter had operated the hotel for 15 years. Gantley sold the business to Ward See, the most recent proprietor of the much bought-and-sold hostelry. The building has not been operated as a hotel for the past 15 or 20 years.
For the past 10 years the building has been operated as a filling station, formerly by Anson McNett, manager for Fay C. Adams. The Sinclair Oil Refining company bought the building in 1931 from Fay Adams and leased it to Harold Fish. Recently the station has been in charge of Charles Vault.

New Service to Sacket's Harbor

Geneva Gazette

June 30, 1819

A line of stage coaches has recently been established between Utica and Sacket's Harbor, by way of Rome, Redfield and Adams. It goes through in one day, leaving Utica every Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, and returning on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. The old line to Sacket's Harbor, by way of Trenton, Martinsburgh and Watertown, leaves this village very Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and returns on Tuesday, and Saturday.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Oswego to Auburn - the Long Way

Oswego Times

April 29, 1859

New Proprietor: - New Coaches. - S.W. Cox Esq. of the Express Office has purchased the Oswego and Auburn and Sterling and Wolcott line of stages. A coach will leave Oswego at 8 A.M. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, arriving at Auburn in the afternoon of the same day. A coach will leave Auburn on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday of each week, at 8 A.M. The line runs through the following places:

South West Oswego, North Sterling, Pelham, Sterling Centre, Fair Haven, Red Creek, Wolcott, Martville, Town Line, Victory, Conquest, Port Byron to Auburn. Mr. Cox has placed nothing but the best and most comfortable coaches on the line, with good teams under the charge of experienced drivers. It also makes a very convenient Express line, and everything entrusted to Mr. Cox for delivery in any of these places will promptly be delivered. Nothing is wanting to make the line a public convenience.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Jason C. Woodruff: From Rags to Riches

The second Syracuse House built in 1830,
on the east side of today's Clinton Square.

Jason Cooper Woodruff (Born March 11, 1800
in New Haven, Conn. Died July 16, 1878
in Syracuse, N.Y. Buried in Oakwood

By Richard Palmer
When Jason C. Woodruff made his first trip as a stagecoach driver between Utica and Syracuse he only had eight cents in his pocket. By the time railroads came into vogue, he was owner of part owner of a vast stagecoach network in central New York, with headquarters in Syracuse. Woodruff was born in New Haven, Conn., in 1800 in humble circumstances. He was left fatherless when he was only two years old. One of several children, his mother struggled to maintain a home the best she could.
At the age of nine, Jason found a job herding sheep which he did for four years. Then he was employed by the same firm, Prescott & Sherman of New Haven, unloading salt, which he did for two years. At the age of 15 he went to work in a tannery with the idea of learning that trade until one day he accidentally fell into a vat. Then he decided farming was less dangerous. The following winter he attended a district school. Being now nearly 17, he then decided to become a blacksmith - an occupation he followed for five years in Great Barrington, Mass.
At the end of his apprenticeship, his only assets were a thorough knowledge of the business, a limited wardrobe, and eight cents. But he had the urged to go west and seek his fortune, which he did, and eventually he found himself in Utica in the fall of 1822. Having a fund of knowledge of horses, in 1824 he became a stagecoach driver for an opposition line to the long established "Old Line Mail" proprietors. He spent the next four years driving stage to Canandaigua.
When, for the first time, he, with so much pride, wheeled up his coach-and-four in front of the Syracuse House door, he had little thought that the dismal swamp through which he had passed would be the heart of a city; that the road-bed of logs would give place to paved streets lined with spacious mansions, and, most all, that he would become mayor of Syracuse. In the parlor of the second Syracuse in 1852 he would introduce to the citizens of the city General Winfield Scott, the hero of many battles of the Mexican War.
Mr. Woodruff was the epitome the poor boy from humble circumstances could rising from poverty to the position of much authority and responsibility.
On his early travels he could see how central New York was rapidly developing and eventually made Syracuse his home. He purchased a livery business from Philo Rust in 1826 and developed his own stagecoach business, primarily on the north and south routes out of Syracuse, which he operated until superseded by railroads.
From 1831 to 1837 he was manager of the United States Banking system and in 1852 was elected mayor of Syracuse. He was twice president of the Onondaga County Agricultural Society and also served as vice president of the New York State Agricultural Society. He also was one of the oldest members of First Presbyterian Church.
In 1826 he married Amanda Johnson, a native of Lee, Mass. They had eight children. An example of his extensive stagecoach business is found in this advertisement in the Syracuse Gazette & General Advertiser of June 4, 1828:
Syracuse, Homer and Ithaca Line of Stages.
A Line of Stages for the above places will leave the general Stage Office in this village every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, which goes through to Ithaca in one day, and returns every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Jason C. Woodruff, Syracuse
Oliver W. Brewster, Onondaga Hollow.
A Line of Stages will will also leave the Stage office for Oswego and Watertown by the way of Central Square and Mexico, every day, Sundays excepted.
For the above line of Stages a share of public patronage is solicited, as good horses, carriages and drivers will be provided, and every exertion made to accommodate travelers.
J.C. Woodruff, Syracuse,
W. Green, Salina,
H. Curtis, Central Square,
A. Russel, Adams,
Hungerford & Co., Watertown
Mr. Woodruff went on to become a prominent local businessman and erected a flour mill at a cost of $30,000 which was a fortune in those time.
Woodruff, and John Butterfield of Utica, decided to give the fledgling Syracuse & Utica Railroad, opened 1839, some competition. Accordingly they established a line of daily except Sunday stages between the two cities. They intended to perform the distance in as good time as the trains, and occasionally beat them. They traveled by daylight only. The editor of the Oneida Whig on January 7, 1840 noted: "We hope the enterprising proprietors will not be left by the traveling public to pocket the loss."
But the stage proprietors soon realized that they could not compete with trains. Woodruff's stages continued to operate for several more years on routes where there were no railroads. We find this advertisement in the Syracuse Standard dated September 6, 1851:
Two Lines of Stages are now running on the Homer and Cortland Road, leaving the Stage Office at the Syracuse House, at 8 o'clock in the morning and 2 in the afternoon; leaving Cortland every morning for Binghamton. The proprietors have great confidence in presenting their Stages to the public; having withdrawn all the old stock on the road and replaced it with entirely new, and will run in as good time as any road in the State.
P.S. Stages leave every morning at 8 o'clock for the North, intersecting the Cars at Sandy Creek.
The last hold out was on the route south. This advertisement in the Syracuse Standard dated April 22, 1854 indicates Woodruff's desire to get out of the stagecoach business. By that time the Syracuse & Binghamton Railroad was under construction:

The subscriber having sold his Livery and disposed of his interest in the Northern Stages, is desirous of selling his Stock in the
HOMER AND CORTLAND Road, Consisting of Twenty First Class Road Horses and Harness, Five Post Coaches, Three Stage Wagons and Three Sleighs, now running as per the following schedule:
Going South
Mail leaves Syracuse at 8 o'clock A.M.
Accommodation leaves Syracuse at 2 o'clock P.M.
Express leaves Syracuse at 3 o'clock P.M.
Making three daily runs to Tully and two to Cortland.
The Mail and Express leave Cortland and Homer every morning, (Sunday excepted,) at from 6 to 7 o'clock. The accommodation will leave Tully at 6 in the morning, and will arrive early in the day, providing the President of the Plank Road Co. will discharge his duty to the public with that energy of character for which he has so favorably distinguished himself in subserving his own private interests.
Syracuse, April 14, 1854

Clayton, W.W., History of Onondaga County, N.Y., 1878
Hand, M.C., From a Forest to a City, Syracuse, N.Y., 1889
Obituary in the Syracuse Daily Journal, July 16, 1878