Today our travel mode mainly is by the privately owned car or truck. We take for granted paved roads with safety stripes, shoulders, good maintenance and periodic resurfacing.
Back in 1826 things differed for all travelers as the roads weren’t more than wagon trails barely sufficient for an ox team. People moved around via horse power, walking, or stage coach. Mud and ruts were constant hazards.
We have an ad from 1826 for the York House in Utica which appears at right. It advertises the Ithaca Stage from the York House leaving every Monday and passing through Clinton, Sangerfield, Madison, Log City, DeRuyter, Homer and Cortland ending in Ithaca. The distance was 96 miles. The ad does not list the fare.
The York House was owned by Elisha Cary, and the ad further described the place as having been “fitted up in the most commodious manner for the accommodation of travelers.” The exact location is not printed, but it was located in Utica near the Erie Canal, which had just opened a year earlier.
Plank roads came into fashion here in the late 1840s and one went through Clinton from Utica to Waterville. An ad in the December 10, 1849 Oneida Chief, the forerunner of the Clinton Courier, described the “Peoples’ Line” which left Utica at 2 PM “by plank road” daily except Sundays and traveled through New Hartford, Clinton, Deansville, Waterville, Sangerfield Center, North Brookfield, East Hamilton, Poolville, and Earlville.
The ad said the “route is run by a superior line of Omnibusses to Waterville, and Post Coaches the remainder of the route.”
The fare to Clinton was 25 cents and $1.00 to Earlville. P. Budlong’s Hotel in Clinton was where the stage stopped.
The plank road, basically along Route 12-B, ended in the early 1870s; the railroad came to Clinton in 1867 and autos around 1903 so eventually the stagecoach routes ended.
Information in this article is as correct and factually accurate as possible. If you notice a fact that you believe is incorrect, please let us know. Comments are always welcome.