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was no ice before February and many a green
Christmas is recorded. In other years the season I would be one of prolonged cold, the winter of 1771–
1772 having nineteen "plentiful effusions of snow.” * Checkley records a frost in Boston on June 14, 1735,
and a snowstorm on the 30th of October in the same year. In December, 1752, the temperature in Charleston dropped from 70° to 24° in a single day, and there were many winters in the South when frost injured the crops and killed the orange blossoms. Once, in the winter of 1738, no mail reached Williamsburg for six weeks on account of the bad weather. Mrs. Manigault of Charleston notes in her diary that the burial of her daughter in February had to be postponed on account of the deep snow.
Rivers were crossed at fords whenever possible, but ferries were introduced from the first on the main lines of travel. All sorts of craft were utilized for crossing: canoes for passengers, flatboats and scows for horses and carriages, and sailing vessels, chiefly sloops, where the crossings were longer and therefore more dangerous. Rope ferries were necessary wherever the current was swift, though they were always an annoying obstruction on navigable rivers. At much traveled places two boats were frequently required, one on each bank. The ferryman was summoned usually by hallooing, by ringing a bell, or by building a fire in the marshes. Licenses for ferries were issued and rates were fixed by the Assembly in the North and the county court in the South. Passage was ordinarily free to the postrider and to public officials, and in Connecticut to children going to school, worshipers going to church, and sometimes to militia men on their way to musters. 1 Bridges over small streams were built before the
* New England. “Feb. 12, 1703. Summer weather, no winter yet." Green's Diary. Yet on the 28th of September following there were two inches of snow. Preston in his diary says of the winter of 1754-1755: “This winter was open, no sledding at all." Essex Institute, Historical Collections, vol. VIII, p. 222; vol. XI, p. 258, note.
end of the seventeenth century, but those over the larger rivers were late in construction, because as a rule the difficulties involved were too great for the colonial builders to cope with. Many of these bridges were the result of private enterprise, and toll was taken by permission of Assembly or court. First they were always built of timbers, in the form of "geometry work,” with causeways. The raising of a bridge in New England was a public event, at which the people of the surrounding country
appeared to offer their services. Bridges constructed over such swift rivers as the Quinebaug in Connecticut had to be renewed many times, as they were frequently carried away by ice or freshets. Stone bridges could be built only where the distances were short and the water was comparatively shallow. Peter Kalm mentions two stone bridges on the way from Trenton to Philadelphia.' There was a very good wooden bridge over the Charles River between Boston and Cambridge, and others were built over the Mystic, the Quinnipiac, the Harlem, the Brandywine, Christiana Creek, and
* One of these is described by another traveler as follows: “Sd Bridge stands on two pillars of stone and arched over makes three arches. The middlemost is something largest and is about 20 foot wide. The river was low it having been a very dry time. I rid through under the bridge up streem to view the under side. I counted the stones that go round the mouth of one arch and there is sixty. One arch bath eighty stones round the mouth of it. They seem all of a size and seem to be about 18 inches long and 2 broad and six inches thick. The lower end of each stone is much less than the upper end and laid in lyme (as all the bridge is) and it looks in the shape of an ovens mouth. The bridge is about 20 rod in length and gradually rounding, the stones covered over on the top with earth and wide enough for 2 or 3 carts to pass a breast. On each side is a stone wall built up about 3 foot and an half, a flat hewn stone on the top about 4 foot in length and 12 or 14 inches wide and about 4 inches thick and an iron staple let in to each joynt, one part of said staple in one stone and the other part of said staple in the other stone, and 80 stones covers the wall on one side which I counted and the other I suppose the same. The bridge is much wider at each end than the midle and was built at the cost of the publick for the benefitt of travelers,"
many of the upper waters and smaller streams in the South. * In the early days riding on horseback was the chief mode of traveling on land, but in the seventeenth century wheeled vehicles appeared in Virginia and to a limited extent in the North, though for the purpose of carting rather than for driving. Hadley in Massachusetts had only five chaises in the town before 1795.' The usual styles were the two-wheeled and four-wheeled chaises with or without tops, the riding chair, sulky, and solo chair, which were little more than chaise bodies without tops, the curricle, phaeton, gig, calash, coach, and chariot. Sedan chairs could be hired by the hour in Charleston, and stagecoaches were in use in all the colonies. Four-wheeled chaises drawn by two horses could be transformed into one-horse chairs by taking off the front wheels, but coaches and chariots were generally drawn by four, six, and even eight horses. Chaises, curricles, and phaetons were the rule in the North, and coaches and chariots in Virginia and South Carolina; yet chairs and chaises were common enough in the South, and
Hempstead, though mentioning a few chaises and chairs in New London, makes it clear in his diary that he never rode in one himself. He traveled always on horseback.