Tuesday, April 13, 2021

19th Century Commuting by Kimberly Grist

19th Century Commuting - Stagecoach travel was no picnic!

While researching life in the 19th century, I ran across some interesting information about Stagecoach travel. 

Credit...Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment

A Stagecoach traveled an average speed of about five miles per hour, covering approximately sixty to seventy miles per day. 

A stage could hold nine passengers inside and more on the roof. In good weather, the position next to the driver was preferred by most male passengers. This seat was not on a first-come, first-serve basis, but rather permission could only be granted by the stagecoach driver. 

Types of Service
Some companies had three classes of service
  • First Class rode all the way.
  • Second Class had to get out and walk on steep slopes.
  • Third Class had to walk and push. 

Mind Your Manners- Stagecoach Etiquette
Here are just a few suggestions as noted in the Omaha Herald in 1877.
  • Don't imagine for a moment, you are going on a picnic, expect annoyance, discomfort and some hardship.  If you are disappointed, thank heaven.  
  • When the driver asks you to get off and walk, do so without grumbling. He will not request it unless it is 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. 
Stage Stops

There were two types of stations - "swing" and "home." 

The "swing" stations were smaller, consisting of little more than a small cabinet and a barn or corral. There, the coach would stop only about ten minutes from changing the team and allowing passengers to stretch before the coach was on its way once more.

The larger "home" stations were typically situated fifty miles apart and included a stable where the horses could be changed and, often, a blacksmith and repair shop in addition to a telegraph station. Here drivers were usually switched. 

As the stage driver neared the station, he or she would blow a bugle or trumpet to alert the station staff of the impending arrival. Prior to my research, I don't recall learning of a bugle announcing the arrival of the stage, but I could certainly imagine the excitement of a small town, anxious to receive mail, supplies, or perhaps a visitor. The photo below is from the musical, "The Music Man," as the town welcomes The Wells Fargo Wagon.  

The Music Man-1962-motion-picture

According to the late Mr. Walter Oatts of Austin, whose father was the postmaster at Brushy, the driver of the stage would blow his horn when the stage was about a mile away. When the horn sounded almost everyone in the vicinity would trudge up the hill to the Inn to be on hand when the stage came into town. Mr. Oatts also mentioned that "the arrival of the stage was heralded by the honks from a large flock of geese owned by the inn." The inn boasted every bedroom had its own feather beds. 

Please pardon the pun, but after reading this post, my imagination took flight. What better way to greet my shy bride, than a reluctant groom and a gaggle of geese?  My upcoming release is book six in the Mail-Order Mama Series, where brides travel by stagecoach in answer to an ad, unaware that a well-meaning family member or friend has initiated the connection instead of the groom. 

Now Available for Pre-Order

A debutante with a stammer, a compulsive widowed blacksmith with two young daughters. Will they find a way to coexist or even better, forge a romantic partnership? 


Ada Pike longs to leave the life of a socialite and use her skills as a baker to love and nurture a family. A move to the country will perfectly suit her first steps into life on her own.  

Barrett Montgomery rejects the idea of a mail-order bride. What he needs is a housekeeper- someone he can fire if things don't work out the way he likes. Can a matchmaking agency work miracles to bring two people with opposing goals together? Will they find a way to coexist or even better, forge a romantic partnership?   

About Kimberly Grist:

Kim has enjoyed writing since she was a young girl. However, she began writing her first novel in 2017, "
I wear so many hats working inside and outside the home. I work hard, try harder, and then begin again the next day. Despite my best efforts, sometimes life just stinks. Bad things happen. I need and want an outlet, an opportunity to relax and escape to a place where obstacles are met and overcome." 
Fans of historical romance set in the late 19th -century will enjoy stories combining, History, Humor, and Romance, emphasizing Faith, Friends, and Good Clean Fun. 

Connect with Kimberly:

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/kimberly-grist
Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/FaithFunandFriends/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/GristKimberly
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Kimberly-Grist/e/B07H2NTJ71



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