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Bulloch History with Roger Allen: First stagecoach mail routes approved for Georgia
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Roger Allen

Note: The following is one of a series of columns looking at the first road systems in Georgia and Bulloch County.

According to the "American State Papers... of the United States, Volume 7" (1834), a letter was sent out detailing the remarks of the Postmaster General to the assembled Congress on Jan. 20, 1790.

He had informed them, "The existing ordinance for regulating the Post Office...has not probably ever been put fully in execution... (And) as to the revenue of the Post Office... (the) so few letters written...operate powerfully against the productiveness of the Post Office."

Then, he listed his other major concerns: ship letters may not have been properly attended to, and stagecoach drivers and private post riders were carrying letters which belonged in the U.S. mail.

There was listed one Georgia stagecoach mail contract listed for 1790. It was in Savannah, operated by John Betts and Company over a distance of 119 miles, and was run twice a week in summer and once a week in winter.

There was also a long-distance Georgia stagecoach mail contract listed in 1791, operated by John Hoomes, between Suffolk, Virginia and Savannah.

In the Annex in the same document t, the Report of the Postmaster General (W.T. Barry), dated Nov. 30, 1833, includes a letter written to the president of the United States.

He declared, "The present length of mail roads in the United States amounts to 119,916 miles, over which the mail traveled 17,693,839 miles in stages, 628,737 miles on steamboats, 8,531,909 on horse-back and Sulkies, and overall, 26,854,485 miles."

Of these, Georgia (had) 5,274 miles of roads on which the mail was carried...on which the mail traveled 368,012 miles in stages, 498,626 in horse-back and Sulkies, for a total of 866,638 miles.

Postmaster W.T. Barry's report stated, "William Smith is contractor for carrying the mail in coaches...most of those constituting the line from Washington city to Milledgeville (Georgia)."

"Contracted to run (these routes) three times a week, in four-horse post coaches," Smith suggested establishing a shorter route "to South Carolina and Georgia (which) would require two additional teams."

Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. Email Roger at rwasr1953@gmail.com.

 

 

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