Middleville & District Museum Photo
James Copeland in 1855 made the travelling world talk about the speed of his stage. Some people today have an idea that over a century ago that things moved very slowly in these parts.
In a way they did, but it must be remembered that in this old world everything is relative, and therefore while the spec of vehicles, for instance, may today be great, that specs may not be as great as that of the past.
For example a fast moving car may reach Perth in an hour from Ottawa over very fine roads yet a stage coach took all day to reach Perth over roads that were little more than a trail. In other words the stage that went to Perth in a day, stopping here and there to load and unload passengers and their luggage, was driven through the ruts and mud and over corduroy roads with a greater amount of determination than the auto of today.
The stage driver of years ago had to exert the will to win over all sorts of physical objects and obstructions which impeded his progress, while the auto driver of, today, has only to exert a trifle more gas which has his foot on the accelerator.
But to get back to the Ottawa-Perth stage, it is interesting to note that there was a fast trip made to Perth, as we find an advertisement in the Bytown Gazette of 1855 which stated that passengers who travelled by James Copeland stage line would be “taken clear through to Perth the same day”.
A couple of years earlier passengers had to stop over at Richmond or Franktown, and the trip was not made in one day. It was the same way with the stage to Montreal in the same era. Passengers stopped for the night at Hawkesbury. But In August, 1855, we find James Copeland starting something new, a new era of speed as he tells the world that passengers who leave Ottawa at 6.30 a.m. via his stage will be rushed “clear through to Perth the same day.” And all the world wondered and marvelled at the speed of the Perth coach…
- Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun and theSherbrooke Record and and Screamin’ Mamas (USACome and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place. Tales of Almonte and Arnprior Then and Now.