Special Collections and University Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Berlin, Bolton, Feltonville Stage Coach Line Ledger
Scope and Contents of the Collection
This account book for January 1854 to April 1867 documents the expenses of running the Berlin, Bolton, and Feltonville (Hudson) stage coach line to and from Boston, Massachusetts carrying passengers and mail.
Typical expenses include harness repairs, drivers' wages, annual office rent and board in Boston, blacksmiths' charges, bags of meal, bushels of oats, pounds of straw, revenue tax, wagon rent, horse keeping, jars of neat's-foot oil, a trunk for the sleigh rack, and the occasional "cup of tea for old Jim". Passenger fares were recorded elsewhere; only the charges for carrying mail and for some rent are noted here as income.
The proprietor of the Berlin stage line from 1837 to 1865 was Amos Sawyer, Jr., according to William H. Houghton's History of the Town of Berlin. Vital Records of Berlin for the time period lists Sawyer's death date as August 15, 1866, which corresponds with a change in handwriting in the last records of the stage coach line's accounts as they had been recorded since 1854. The business seems to have been carried on by L. Arnold for two years following Sawyer's death. Lorren Arnold was Sawyer's son-in-law.
The last several pages of accounts are for individuals' purchases of groceries, dry goods, and other supplies. Among the named are CA Sawyer, Mrs. H.D. Coburn, Fred Wheelock, Thomas Hale, and J.D. Southwick, most of whom can be identified as residents of Berlin. The accounts, for the most part, are for a two-month period, year unknown.
Filed with the account book are photocopies of passages about the stage coach lines from the histories of Berlin and Bolton to be found in Du Bois Library's circulating book collection. This includes a poem written by Phebe A. Halder when the Berlin coach line folded in 1894.