I wrote yesterday about some of the transportation options available to people in nineteenth-century Wellington, and I mentioned the Wellington hack. “Hack” was a shortening of the word “hackney,” a type of sturdy, horse-drawn coach that served as a taxi and mail delivery vehicle in that period. Anyone who has read a Jane Austen novel is likely familiar with the term.
Today as I was conducting research I ran across this wonderful notice in The Wellington Enterprise. It had apparently been a hard winter in early 1880, and the ground was deeply rutted and frozen solid, making travel difficult. The newspaper wryly observed, “The Oberlin Hack, with four horses came toiling in at a toirtoise [sic] pace, at 11 a. m., Monday, the horses wearing a martyr-like expression, as though they wished a mail route had never been thought of.”
A nearby timetable helpfully indicates that the hack line from Oberlin and Pittsfield was supposed to arrive at nine o’clock in the morning on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, returning at one o’clock the same afternoon. Why this particular hack arrived on a Monday is not recorded, but perhaps the weather conditions necessitated a change of schedule.
The paper also noted, “The rain on Thursday night softened up the mud and made the going much better, as the increased number of teams in town Friday indicated.” Another mention in the same edition described the “mud embargo” on goods in the town, in other words, a slight reduction in the variety and selection of materials for sale because of the temporarily impassable roads (3-11-1880, pg. 3).
This is a great photo, the second one. What could that platform be in the middle? I have seen something like that in other old pictures.
That is a great question. I don’t know definitely, but my assumption has always been that it was some sort of loading/unloading platform for carriages and wagons. If anyone knows for certain I would love to hear.
The picture I am thinking of had a similar platform in the middle of the town’s square so I wondered if it was for any speaker to climb up on.
Reblogged this on Susana Rebon and commented:
As historian and translator English to Spanish, this article has been very useful for me. Thanks.
Glad to hear it!