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Bulloch History with Roger Allen: Stagecoaches arrive in Savannah, southeast 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.

In 1763, the Georgia Legislature authorized William Thompson and Thomas McCall to run a line of "stage carriages" between Savannah and Augusta for 10 years. The service wasn't successful.

Then, the Georgia Legislature gave Nathaniel Twining, Thomas Davis and Joseph Grant a license for a stagecoach line between Savannah and Augusta for 10 years starting in 1796. They were, apparently, successful.

Records show that these stagecoaches were pulled by four horses, and carried up to nine passengers. The driver sat on a seat up front, and on top of the coach was a luggage rack. On the back of the coach was another larger trunk platform.

According to the "Columbia Museum and Savannah Advertiser," Twinning's "Savannah and Augusta Stage," as it was known, started from Major Brown's Boarding House in Savannah and started at Mrs. McLaw's Boarding House in Augusta.

The Savannah to Augusta fares were $8 per passenger, and 14 pounds of luggage included. There was a surcharge of 3 ½ cents per extra pound of extra luggage assessed. "Way Passengers," or those riding in between the two cities, were charged 4 cents per mile.

As they passed through the Savannah River countryside, the first two roads they traveled on were the Old Augusta Road, also known as "The Great Road," and the Old Louisville Road, which stopped at what was for a while Georgia's capital.

According to the Columbia Museum and Savannah Advertiser, the stage would leave Major Brown's Boarding House (in Savannah) every Tuesday at 9 a.m., and would leave Mrs. McLaw's Boarding House (in Augusta) every Saturday at 5 a.m.

Then in 1800, the paper announced a new ownership of the stage line, which would now be run by William and Joseph Grant.

Renamed the "Savannah and Augusta Line of Stages," the fares were raised to $9 per person, and the extra luggage surcharge was raised to 7 cents per extra pound.
The schedule changed as well: the stage departed Savannah at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, and the stage left Augusta in the early morning on Monday.


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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