Sunday, September 21, 2008

Stage Coaches in the Coal Region 1839

Stage Coach on the Route.

In this blog I want to take a look at the stage coach lines that ran through out the coal region back in 1839-1845 time period. It is hard to find out what type of stage coaches were used on these lines. Pictures or drawings of the coaches on the ads seemed to fit the Concord style of coach. The heavy Concord Stagecoach was first manufactured in Concord, NH, by the Abbot Downing Co. in 1827. The key to the Concord's success was its 'thorough braces' or multiple leather straps, on which the body of the coach rocked.

There was s a certain romantic feature to riding on the old stages, the outside of the coach was usually painted on bright colors, while the inside was very plush with soft material for the passengers comfort. There were usually three seats, heavily cushioned and three people could ride on each seat. There was also another seat beside the driver, which was a favorite of passengers in good weather. Also if management allowed it in nice weather passengers could ride on the top. The capacity of the stage was usually 6 to nine people but sometimes there were as many as fifteen riding in and on the stage. There were no springs on these coaches, the suspension method was by heavy leather straps called through braces which were spread between the front and rear axels. This gave the coach a gentile swing back and forth for the passengers comfort.

The horses were specially picked for the job, they were mostly North Star, Windflower or Hickory breed. Breed s which are now basically extinct but were popular back then. The were picked for their beauty and speed, actually the stage made about 10 mph on the road.

While driving along the route the horses were exchanged at different stops, so that they had fresh and steady horses for the run. The drivers carried long whips which they could use on the horses to keep the speed up or get their attention. The drivers never attended their teams, but he certainly made sure they were well taken care off. The average pay for a stage driver was about 13 to 15 dollars a month depending upon the line. The driver had a language and mannerisms peculiar to them. He was given great considerations along the route. Women looked up to him as a man of great trust and dependence.

Most of the stages were pulled by four horses. There were no hand or foot brakes on these coaches. Their purpose was served by a skid, or drag shoe, which was put under the near hind wheel going downhill.
They say that the stage coach schedules were excellent , but the Mail coaches were magnificent, they actually set clocks by the schedule of the mail coach.




MARCH 30, 1839

So the headline reads in the Pottsville Democrat.
On Monday next the undersigned will commence running a daily line of stages between Pottsville and Reading to connect with the rail road to Philadelphia, and the lines of Stages running from Reading to Harrisburg, Lancaster, Easton &c.
This line will leave Pottsville every morning at 7 o’clock and arrive at reading in time to dine at Herr’s Hotel, and take the cars for Philadelphia. Returning it will leave the White Swan in Philadelphia at 5 o’clock A.M. and after the arrival of the cars leave Herr’s Hotel at Reading..dine at Walkers Hotel Port Clinton, and arrive in Pottsville at an early hour in the afternoon.
Weaver and Son’s line will be more speedy and run at lower rates than any other line on the route. Not excepting Ben Pott’s Anti-bet paying Line, which is got up n the money which he refuses to paying to the winners who bet with him on the result of the last election.
The teams are fast and well trained, the coaches commodious and well trimmed for the comfort of the passengers, none but sober and attentive drivers are employed and with many years experience as stage proprietors, we will defy competition in rendering satisfaction to passengers by a safe, speedy, and cheap conveyance, and without danger of being suffocated with the dust raised by an opposition stage.


Offer greater inducements than any other line, as is the only line by which passengers can secure seats through from Philadelphia to Northumberland, Danville and Catawissa.


From Pottsville to Northumberland and Milton, levees Pottsville every morning at 4 o’clock and at Milton the same evening, connecting with the Williamsport Stages at the latter place. Returning leaves Milton every morning at 5 o’clock and Northumberland at 9 o’clock, and arrives at Pottsville the same evening.
The Danville and Muncy Line leaves Pottsville every Monday, Wednesday and Friday morning at 4 o’clock and returns to Pottsville on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday.
All Baggage at the risk of the passenger..
John Weaver and Joseph H. Weaver.

Also in the newspaper was an article for the:



Run this line on their own hook, and must run the contract out should all the other lines go to smash. The line leaves the White Swan Hotel Philadelphia at 5 o’clock A.M. and the exchange Hotel and Pennsylvania Hall, Pottsville at 6 o’clock A.M. daily without having connection with any other line.

One way passenger will be carried at the following reduced rates of fares…..

From Orwigsburg to Reading……..$1.25
From Port Clinton to Reading……..$1.00
From Hamburg to Reading……….. $ .75

Passengers will be taken to and from any stopping places and every attenti0n paid to afford a cheap and easy conveyance to travelers, and WITHOUT RACING.

April 13, 1839

Jacob Peters
|Felix Beisel


May 4, 1839

On Thursday last one of Pott, Schoener & Co. stages was capsized near Hamburg, and the passengers more or less injured. No blame can be attached to the driver; but the proprietors, whoever they may be should be indicted for thus knowingly endangering the lives of passengers. We say knowingly, for the accident was occasioned by a wheel running off……the same wheel which ran off several times last week; and which the owners know must happen frequently, if they continue using cast iron burrs. The community ought to be thankful that there are proprietors of stages on the same route who understand their business, who guarantee a safe conveyance to passengers.

1 comment:

Sandy said...

Hello, My 4 g grandfathr was a famious 4 horse stagecoach driver from Lewistown to Bellefonte,Pa Is there any way i can find info on him??He was b.1785 and lived most of his life in Potter Twp,Centre Co,Pa HELP
Thank You