Tag Archives: Transportation

[Horses] February 1874

Horses were a topic. There were two runaways of horses with cutters but no damage was done. At the Elbow on the ice, John Brett’s “Billy Button” won three heats of four from H. C. Hall’s “Sure Thing.” The proprietor of H. C. Hall’s hotel added to his livery stables four fine horses, two barouche sleighs, and a first class single turn outs.

Doris B. Morton, Town Historian – The Whitehall Times – March 7, 1974 – Title Unknown

Horse Escapades – 1883

In 1883 there were runaways instead of automobile accidents. William Pardo’s young spirited horse was standing with a cart by John Murray’s coal yard on Canal
Street, probably where Ryan’s was later. A train approached and the horse took off up (Broadway) Canal as far as Cooke Street where he reversed and ran the other way down Canal which is now Main Street, Opposite Wilcox grocery store, called the Red Front, which I presume was above Saunders Street. The cart struck the wheel of Vannier’s cart which it overturned and broke. There the horse went onto the sidewalk and passed Quiglcy liquor store at the corner of Division Street, tearing down “Charlie’s” big sign post. At Pike’s store the sign in front was split to pieces. At Travis stove store in the Arcade building a $15 plow was smashed. O.A. Manville’s drug and paint store next had its pile of cans of paint scattered. At Wait’s corner store at Broad and Canal (“Myers” corner) the horse left the walk and ran down Broad Street to Yule’s Hotel at the south corner of Bellamy. He ran between the lamp post and the house and cut around the corner into Bellamy Street. The lamp was smashed but here the horse was stopped.

The horse had run on the sidewalk a full block but no one was injured, the pedestrians leaping out of the way. Nor was there much damage even though goods and
sign posts were plentiful. One never knew what a runaway horse would do. Other horse affairs occurred at this same time. The one attached to Renois and
Son’s bakery cart took fright from a thill dropping on its head and running down Canal and Broad streets collided with William Sinnott’s delivery wagon. Both horses were
severely cut and the wagons somewhat broken. Sinnott’s was at one time on Broad Street.

Richard Woollett shod 112 horses in seven days. One of the biggest shoeing feats on record at the line barn, in seven consecutive days, with only one Sunday out.
A sign of spring as the passage through the streets of a lot of mules strung like dried apples on a rope. ([Whitehall Times] Editor’s note: Hee! Haw! Mr. Wilkins, it was)
Herbert Case used to tell that the mules were brought in from pasture on the surrounding farms in lots of fourteen tied together.

J.R. Broughton’s horse, standing in front of the store, took fright at snow falling off the building and running towards home overturned the wagon. The carriage and harness were damaged.

Doris B. Morton, Town Historian – The Whitehall Times – April 28, 1983

Another Horse Experience – May 1884

Mr. and Mrs. Harvey Bartholomew nearly drowned while crossing the ford at East Bay on their way to North Whitehall. They got out of the ford and their wagon tipped
over. Mrs. Bartholomew was going down the second time when her husband caught her in the deep water and swam ashore with her, leaving the horse and wagon in the water.

He urged her to leave and go to friends for help. He then held the horse’s head above water, which he was able to do because the animal was checked up with a tight rein. He was clinging to a tree when help arrived and the horse and wagon were retrieved from the water. The editor of the paper added to the story: “Buoy out the line of the ferry, gentlemen, so you won’t get into hot water.”

Doris B. Morton, Town Historian – The Whitehall Times – May 19, 1983

Peanut, Dick, and the American Express

Who were Peanut and Dick? A beautiful large team of gentle horses, the memory of which lingers in the minds of some Whitehallers. These brown animals belonged to the express company. They drew the express wagon in all kinds of weather, in blinding rain, and in snow storms, faithfully and patiently starting and stopping on the delivery routes.The last drivers of the team were Henry and Howard Bruce. They had the full care of the team and the express wagon, feeding and grooming them in George Shattuck’s barn on Williams Street near the Rush residence. Claude Bruce remembers riding behind them as a small boy and George King recalls the beautiful pair they made. Other Whitehallers must have a recollection of them as they performed their duty.

In November 1926 the speed of Peanut and Dick was not in keeping with the demands of the times, so they were retired to be housed in George Chadwick’s barn, the second site south of the armory. Their place was taken by a Ford truck that took over the delivery of the express service.

Henry Bruce drove the truck until 1949, when he retired. After that, various agents took over the duty some of whom were Eugene and George Noonan, and Mr. Parker. The import of bread was an example of one product delivered by express. The loaves were brought in crates to the village on the morning train from the south. It was a perishable product. Monday morning was an especially critical time for weekends depleted the supply. A would be purchaser would often be told “We’re all out of bread. It will be in on the morning train.”

At the time of the retirement of Peanut and Dick, William Farrell related some history of the express company. He told that his father James Farrell was the first person to drive the delivery horse for the company in 1848 when the railroad came to Whitehall. From then until 1926 horse drawn vehicles were used for the delivery of freight. James Farrell was also the first person to have a contract to carry the mail from the post office and the train. He met with rough conditions as he had to wallow in the mud of unpaved streets and no street lights.

William Farrell himself entered the employ of the National Express Company in 1873 and worked in the office for three years. He then became an express messenger and was the oldest messenger in service in New York State and one of the best known men along the railroad between Albany and Whitehall in 1926. So great was the esteem in which he was held that he was never bonded.

Carrying the mail is brought to mind in this connection with carrying the express. The mail sacks were picked up at the post office and delivered to the mail car and the sacks for Whitehall taken from that car and on to the post office. Some names in the service were Paul Jasmin, Mr. Gallagher, and Mr. LaFleur. I’m sure other names and experiences can be given to the historian for both of these services, now no longer a part of Whitehall life.

Doris B. Morton, Town Historian – The Whitehall Independent – Wednesday, April 4, 1984

The Mule

Doris B. Morton, Town Historian – The Whitehall Times – February 10, 1983
Today it is often forgotten that the mule furnished the transportation power of the canal. But in earlier times it was a common sight around Whitehall to see mule barns near the locks, the bridge leading from the lower bridge to the tow path, the winter boarding of the animals by hundreds on nearby farms, and the sight in springtime when the mules were brought into the village hitched by fourteens to resume their work in hauling cargo boats.
The editor of The Whitehall Times once answered a toast thrown at him about mules.
The toast: “Mules, the backbone of the raging canal.” His reply: “I love a mule. I will stand to his back until his ears drop off, if you will only chain down his heels. For four years I once watched this noble beast hauling boats on the canal while I hauled in my salary as canal collector with promptness and dispatch.”
The mule has done more for commerce than any other animal in existence, even the American eagle. Like the ballet dancer, it carries its attractions in its heels and, – like the ballet dancer, the mule knows how to use them. A good mule is the concentrated essence of dynamite, nitroglycerine, and Susan B. Anthony’s tongue. A canal without a mule would be like Hamlet without a Booth, Joe Cook without a dictionary, Dennis Kearney without the Chinese, Bob Ingersol without Bob Butler, and a Chicago girl – without number eleven shoes.
When we need a good fresh’ joke, we saddle the mule.  When we want something with a hornet’s nest tied to it, we tickle the mule’s heels. When we realize the sublime jokes which fertile brains have evolved from the mule, is it any wonder the animal once in a while kicks back? His “heehaw” comes to us like angels whispering — when they have the croup.
But just pause; if I have said anything in favor of the mule, remember that I am only trying to do right by the animal that furnished the steam for every canaler’s team-boat, the salary for every canal official, the butt for every paragrapher’s joke. The mule is the most successfully abused creature that stands up, with the single exception of a newspaper editor.

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