TRAVELING ON THE “OVERLAND STAGECOACH”
Mud Wagon – Ft. Bridger, 1860,s
1. The best seat inside a stagecoach is the one next to the driver. You will get less than half the bumps and jars than on any other seat. When any old “sly Elph”, who traveled thousands of miles on coaches, offers through sympathy to exchange his back or middle seat with you, don’t do it.
2. Never ride in cold weather with tight boots or shoes, or close-fitting gloves. Bathe your feet before starting in cold water, and wear loose overshoes and gloves two or three sizes too large.
3. When the driver asks you to get off and walk, do it without grumbling. He will not request it unless absolutely necessary. If a team runs away, sit still and take your chances; if you jump, nine times out of ten you will be hurt.
4. In very cold weather, abstain entirely from liquor while on the road; a man will freeze twice as quick while under its influence.
5. Don’t growl at food stations; stage companies generally provide the best they can get. Don’t keep the stage waiting; many a virtuous man has lost his character by so doing.
6. Don’t smoke a strong pipe inside especially early in the morning. Spit on the leeward side of the coach. If you have anything to take in a bottle, pass it around; a man who drinks by himself in such a case is lost to all human feeling. Provide stimulants before starting; ranch whisky is not always nectar.
7. Don’t swear, nor lop over on your neighbor when sleeping. Don’t ask how far it is to the next station until you get there.
8. Never attempt to fire a gun or pistol while on the road, it may frighten the team; and the careless handling and cocking of the weapon makes nervous people nervous. Don’t discuss politics or religion, nor point out places on the road where horrible murders have been committed.
9. Don’t linger too long at the pewter washbasin at the station. Don’t grease your hair before starting or dust will stick there in sufficient quantities to make a respectable “tater” patch. Tie a silk handkerchief around your neck to keep out dust and prevent sunburns. A little glycerin is good in case of chapped hands.
10. Traveling by Stagecoach is not for the faint-hearted! Don’t imagine for a moment you are going on a picnic; expect annoyance, discomfort and some hardships. If you are disappointed, thank heaven.
Click on pictures to enlarge.
During the mid to late 1800’s, the stagecoach was the primary mode of transportation throughout the state, carrying both people and mail. Barre was the center of travel going North and South, with stage lines running from Worcester through Paxton, Rutland, Oakham, Coldbrook to Barre and on to Petersham and Athol. Later, coach lines ran to Greenfield and into Vermont and New Hampshire.
Ad for stage coach, 1849