Note: The following is one of a series of columns looking at the first road systems in Georgia and Bulloch County.
In the “Reports of the Majority and Minority of the Committee of the Senate on the Post Office and Post Roads” (1835), it was revealed that “between April 1, 1829, and Sept. 1, 1834, there had been 1,340 postmasters removed from office.”
In addition, many stagecoach mail contractors also failed to deliver the services they had agreed to provide, as promised, if at all. One such contractor was contractor James Reeside, whose stage lines ran many routes, including several Georgia routes.
Reeside's contract for the Philadelphia to New York run stated that he had “offered to carry the mail... twice a day...the principal mail to go from office to office...(from) 7 p.m. (to) 8 a.m., for $19,000.”
The bid also read that, “He was to deliver the mail at the post office... and convey it...across the river...guarded with suitable fire arms, and during the night always attended with double guards, at my own expense."
Mr. Reeside's account (showed) the following allowance...Passage of mail guards...between Philadelphia and New York city...making 732 passages (at a cost of) $2,196."
Thus...in violation of the express terms of the contract itself, Mr. Reeside was, on Jan. 1, 1833, paid this large sum of money.
In addition, Reeside requested, “for the morning mail (Expresses) during the winter $1,500 (extra) in addition to the $19,000 for the principal mail.”
Mr. Reeside in his bid engages and binds himself thus: "whenever Government expresses shall be required, I will convey them in the shortest time practicable without any expense to the department..."
“When the contract was made, and it embraced all the mail, not merely letters, but newspapers, pamphlets, public documents, &c, &c, and was to be carried for 86,000 per year...”
“The...Assistant Postmaster General (statement described) the mails (as) "the great mail; “the city line; “the slow line for bulky matter; (and the) “way line, through Pennsylvania and Jersey towns."
The same statement stated the times were: “the great mail line" in 15 hours; "the city line" (on steamboats) in 12 hours; "the express line" in 12 hours.
His report concluded, “Payments...made to James Reeside...for services which he did not render, and the excess of pay ... according to the best estimate which your committee can make...exceed $100,000.”
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. Email Roger at email@example.com.