Sunday, March 22, 2020

Stage Coach History: Caswell County, North Carolina

Stage Coach History: Caswell County, NC


The history of stagecoach lines and routes is Caswell County, North Carolina, is incomplete. Few records are known. Here we share what has been found. Research continues.

New Stage Line - 1857

The public are respectfully informed that a new line of tri-weekly stages is now running from Hillsboro, N.C., to Ringold's depot on the R. and D.R.R., via Cedar Grove, Prospect Hill, Leasburg and Milton. This line leaves Hillsboro every Monday, Wednesday and Fridays, at 12 1/2 o'clock P.M., after the arrival of the cars, and arrives at Milton same evening to supper, and at Barksdales depot next morning in time for passengers to take cars, either for Richmond or Danville, as both trains meet at this point.

Returning stages leave Barksdales depot every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 1 P.M., lodges at Milton and arrive at Hillsboro Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays in time for passengers to take cars on either train. This line runs daily from Barksdales depot to Milton. Fare through from Hillsboro to Barksdales depot $4.

P. Flagg, Agent
For the Proprietor.

Source: The Milton Chronicle (Milton, North Carolina), 12 February 1857, Thursday, Page 4.

New Stage Line - 1858

From Danville via Yanceyville to Haw River Depot -- (N.C. Central Rail Road)

The public are respectfully informed that a New Line of Tri-weekly Stages is now running from Danville, Va., to Haw River Depot on the N.C.R.R., via. Yanceyville and Anderson's Store.

This Line leaves Danville every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, at 2 1/2 o'clock. P.M., after arrival of the Cars from Richmond, and arrives at Haw River Depot at 12 o'clock, same night in time for passengers to take the cars either going East or South, -- returning, leaves Haw River every Wednesday, Friday & Sunday at 2 1/2 o'clock P.M., after the arrival of the cars from Charlotte & Goldsboro, and arrives at Danville at 11 o'clock same evening.

P. Flagg, Ag't for the Pro.

July 1st, 1857.

Source: The Milton Chronicle (Milton, North Carolina), 8 January 1858, Friday, Page 4.

The number of carriage makers, painters, and allied craftsmen recorded in the census returns for Caswell County suggests that travel by carriage was not uncommon. Regular stage routes were also maintained. James W. Jeffreys,1 planter and manufacturer in the Red House community, apparently had a contract to carry the mail three days a week for some time before the day in January, 1832, when he sought aid from Senator Willie P. Mangum to enlarge the service. Jeffreys sought Mangum's aid in connection with a recent petition sent to the Post Office Department urging the establishment of a two-horse stage between Milton and Hillsborough to carry the mail apparently on a daily basis.

Jeffreys, of course, wanted the contract, and he said it would open communication between his section of the state and Raleigh and the seaboard towns of Fayetteville, New Bern, and Wilmington. Jeffreys also sought the contract to carry the mail from Oxford to Hillsborough.

Just a year later Editor Nathaniel J. Palmer 2 of the Milton Spectator urged Mangum to support a stage route between Milton and Hillsborough. "One of the largest mails which I send from my office goes on that route," he wrote, "and I have reason to believe that if it was made a stage route there would be a good deal of travelling on it. Mr. Alexander Anderson the present contractor of the route would undertake to carry a two horse stage or hack on the route on very low terms. If the thousand dollars per annum which has been give by the Department to Mr. Jeffreys to carry the mail on his route three times a week which is little or no benefit to us [had?] been give or expected on the Hillsborough route it would have been a great deal better for Milton."

What the outcome was of the competition between Anderson and Jeffreys is not known, but various stage lines did operate in the county over a long period of time. The guardians of Samuel P. Hill, for example, reported to the January, 1841, county court, that a stage fare of $3.50 had been paid on his behalf when he left for Greensboro to attend school.3

An agreement made in the summer of 1841 between John Poteat, Sr., and William Long concerning some land and slaves describes a certain field as being "on the west side of the stage road."

The Jones Hotel in Yanceyville advertised in 1854 that it was on the daily stage route from Milton to Greensboro.

The Milton Chronicle at various times late in 1857 and early the next year advertised a new stage line from Danville by way of Yanceyville and Anderson's store to the Haw River Depot on the North Carolina Central Rail Road. It operated three days a week, leaving Danville every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday at 2:30 in the afternoon after the arrival of the cars from Richmond. It arrived at the Haw River Depot at midnight, "in time for passengers to take the cars going east or west." The returning stage left Haw River on Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday at 2:30 P.M., after the arrival of the trains from Charlotte and Goldsboro, and reached Danville at 11 o'clock the same night.

Source: Powell, William S. When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977. Durham: Moore Publishing Company, 1977. pp. 497-498.

Agnes Wilson Glenn was married February 22, 1822, to the Honorable James W. Jeffreys of The Red House, Caswell County, a member of one of the oldest families. James W. and Agnes Glenn Jeffreys made their home at The Red House, where they are buried. An extensive estate, it included the mansion with its outbuildings and quarters, a tavern, a Presbyterian church founded in 1760, a classical school incorporated in 1804 as Hyco Academy, a blacksmith shop, a wheelwright shop and a store. Lord Cornwallis captured The Red House in January, 1781, used it as his headquarters and left it in ashes. Thomas, the father of James, built the new house.

Source: "The Original Bloomsburg-1797" (Article in The Record-Advertiser, 15 June 1972, by Kenneth H. Cook).

2 Nathaniel Jones Palmer (c.1805-1854).

3 Samuel P. Hill (c.1824-1874).


Prospect Hill in the extreme southeastern corner of Caswell County is named for the Warren family plantation. A post office by that name has served the community since 1822 and recently occupied a new building. The two-story store there was built about 1856 and is still serving the community. At one time it was also a stagecoach stop and later a bus stop, but buses no longer pass that way.

Source: Powell, William S. When the Past Refused to Die: A History of Caswell County North Carolina 1777-1977. Durham: Moore Publishing Company, 1977. p. 336.


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