Note: The following is one of a series of columns looking at the first road systems in Georgia and Bulloch County.
Over time, many additional southeastern Georgia stagecoach mail routes were established, including route No. 2352, which journeyed from Augusta to Milledgeville.
Many contracts had curious stipulations. Some stated, “the mail shall invariably be carried in a secure dry boot, under the driver's feet, or in the box which constitutes the driver's seat, under a penalty of $50 for each omission.”
Furthermore, these contracts required that “when it is carried on horseback, or in a vehicle other than a stage, it shall be covered securely with an oil cloth or bear-skin, against rain or snow, under a penalty of $20.”
In the official Reports of the...Committee of the Senate on the Post Office and Post Roads” (1835), there were discussions of troubles on stagecoach route No. 2353 which ran from Savannah to Augusta.
Set up to be run “three times a week, Mr. Halliday had offered to carry the mail in two-horse stages. After contractors William Shannon and Hugh Knox failed to fulfill their contract, the route was rebid.
This time “a contract was made with Mr. Fuller and James Reeside, who agreed to convey the mail three times a week in two-horse coaches (but) the department...insisted...the mail (was) to be carried daily.”
Then, there were routes No. 2359, from Savannah to Macon; route No. 2360, from Ogeechee to Louisville; route No. 2361, from Birdsville to Waynesboro; and route No. 2394, from Dublin to Darien.
The new long-distance stagecoach mail contract(from Virginia to Georgia), route No. 1901 was drawn up in 1830. The operators included “Edwin Porter, James Reeside, John H. Avery, Isaac Tompkins, D. A. Saltmarsh, O. Saltmarsh, Charles P. Mallett, John McLean, and Sidney Porter.”
A letter from Postmaster General Wickliffe, dated 1843, included in the “Post Office Department Contracts” listed contracts for new postal routes in Georgia signed in 1842.
They included routes No. 2392, from Eden, through Statesboro, Swainsboro, Waterboro and Birdville, ending up in Bark Camp, which was to be run once a week.
Then there was route No. 2317, which went from Milledgeville, though Bond’s Mill, Irwinton, Rain’s Store, Marion, Tarversville, Barkwell, ending up in Hawkinsville, to be run twice a week.
And finally, there was route No. 5214, which ran from Waynesboro through Sorby, Smith’s Fork, ending up in Savannah, to be run once a week.
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look each week at the area's past. Email Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org,