REMINISCENCES OF OLD TIMES
The Stage Coaches
Egle's Notes and Queries of Pennsylvania
Third Series, Vol.II, p.161
Peter Pancake, who died in 1860, at an advanced age, was one of the early stage drivers in Harrisburg. He delighted in telling of his experience in staging, when turnpikes were unknown, especially west of Lancaster. The stage had straight bodies, with three seats, hung on the old time braces: trunks were little used then, leather saddle bags instead, containing the travelers wardrobes, these being hung over the sides or placed on the floor. Only two horses were used to draw the coach. Mr. P. said that in the spring when the roads were bad and the mud deep, it would take from the time of starting which was four o'clock in the morning until ten o'clock at night , to go from Harrisburg to Lancaster, or from Lancaster to Harrisburg. He said he had frequently stalled in the streets of Lancaster, the mud being almost up to the axle; he said it was more like wagoning than staging.
Elizabethtown was the dining place, being midway. On one occasion the passengers were all of the legal fraternity going to Lancaster to attend the Supreme Court. While Mr. Pancake was eating his dinner (having to change his horses while the passengers dined). Judge______,
I have forgotten his name, took the driver's place and drove away, leaving the driver behind, as a joke, while Mr. P. had to run after to overtake the stage.
The direct and only road to Lancester previous to the making of the turnpike was what is now Second street extended below Paxtang street, west of the canal bank, called the mill road to what is at present the Lochhiel mill. The writer will state a circumstance which occurred at this old stone mill. Peter Pancake's father-in-law, Mr. Mahan, lived as a tenant and farmer of the now Lochiel farm, General Cameron's. Peter had married Miss Mahan contrary to the wishes of her father. The former went to the mill soon after the marriage, when the father-in-law came with a loaded gun to shoot him. The late Robert Dickey was there also, and to prevent the shooting, inserted slyly a cask nail into the touchhole of the lock, which prevented the gun from discharging and Peter of being shot. Mr. Pancake was quite poor when he married, commencing housekeeping with only two old chairs and two knives and forks. These they contained during their lives as momentoes. but by industry and economy they accumulated considerable, and at their decease left the Mahan family in good circumstances.
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