Monday, June 30, 2008

"Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night ..."

Looking for information on my 4G grandfather Seneca Hubbard, I was quite surprised when a search pulled up some Executive Documents published by the 35th Congress House of Representatives. I'm always on the lookout for connections to former presidents but so far have only made one connection (unverified by myself) as the 12th cousin of George Washington. When I finally found out why my grandfather Seneca was listed, I knew there wouldn't be a presidential connection this time but I thought it pretty interesting just the same. I have posted it below in its entirety:

Contracts for Carrying the Mails

Route No. 1288

From Perry to East Aurora, 36 miles, and back, six times a week to Warsaw, and tri-weekly the residue.

Bidders' Names/Sum per annum
Andrews & Keeney…$1095, two-horse carriage to Warsaw; horse residue.
Artemas B. Walker…$1050
Orville J. Crawford…$974
Francis Warner…$950, one-horse carriage.
William L. Knapp….$950, two-horse carriage to Warsaw; residue horse.
Edwin G. Havens…$898, one-horse coach
Havens & Warner… $845, one horse, coach
Seneca Hubbard… $795, one-horse carriage. Accepted April 25, 1857.
Edwin G. Havens… $793, in lieu of former bid. No Guaranty.
John H. Hudson, (after time)… $789

Contract made with Seneca Hubbard, dated April 25, 1857, at $795 per annum. Leave Perry daily, except Sunday, at 6 a.m.; arrive at Warsaw by 8 a.m. Leave Warsaw Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, at 7 a.m.; arrive at East Aurora by 5 p.m. Leave East Aurora Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, at 6 a.m.; arrive at Warsaw by 4 p.m., and at Perry daily, except Sunday, by 6 p.m.

Executive Documents printed by order of the House of Representatives during the First Session of the Thirty-Fifth Congress, 1857-58.

At first glance, I thought of Illinois because all these towns exist there. Perry is close to Warsaw but Aurora was clear across the state and impossible to get to in ten hours back then by horse and carriage. Besides, what was he doing in Illinois when he spent his entire life (I thought) in the census records of the town of Wales in Erie County, New York? So I pulled up a map of New York and sure enough, East Aurora is in Erie County and Warsaw and Perry are in the neighboring county to the east within an easy days ride by horse and carriage.

The description of Seneca's route if taken literally doesn't make much sense but I'm guessing he would start off in Perry on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and end up that evening in East Aurora. The next days he would go the opposite direction ending up in Perry so that everyone along the route received mail every other day. I just can't figure out a way for him to be in Perry daily as stated.

So my 4G grandfather worked almost 70 hours a week not counting hitching up the horse or bedding it down for the night, six days a week, 52 weeks a year. It's a wonder he had any children.

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