Physicians often made house calls to care for their patients. Since many physicians traveled by horseback, these saddlebags allowed doctors to transport their medicines and equipment safely. The saddlebags are made of leather and could be put over the back of a horse or over the doctor’s shoulder.
Baskets like this one were often used to gather and transport small items like eggs, peas, and beans. Children were often give the chores of collecting eggs and picking vegetables in the garden. This basket is made of thin pieces of wood, called splints, which have been woven together.
In the early nineteenth century, turnpikes, also known as toll roads, crossed New York State. These roads were much different than modern paved highways. They were little more than dirt roads. These roads gave farmers a route to bring their goods to market. Farmers, and other travelers, had to pay a toll to travel on the roads. The term “neat cattle” refers to cows, bulls, and oxen.
The taverns that were visited most frequently were those that were near a major intersection on land or on water. Steamboat travel up and down the rivers, including the Hudson River, was important to the waterfront businesses. Barge transportation brought many people through central New York during the mid-nineteenth century.
Winter allowed farmers time to travel and socialize. The first stop of many village sleigh rides was often the tavern. People would fill themselves with mulled cider for warmth and eat a deliciously tasty meal.
Railroad companies competed for business, including shipping freight. Farmers relied on the railroads to carry their agricultural products to customers in other parts of the state, as well as other states in the country.
Farmers transported their goods to markets and customers in a variety of ways. Shipping freight by train became very popular during the nineteenth century.
Cooperstown & Charlotte Valley R.R. Co. Freight Voucher, November 6, 1896. Fenimore Art Museum Library, Cooperstown, New York, Ephemera-transport-RR.
A trip into town for a farmer would usually be planned in advance. Farmers would bring goods to trade that had been made or grown on their farms. The porch at a general store served as a loading dock for goods they were purchasing, as well as a place to unload what they brought to trade.
Today, the porch on Todd’s General Store, here at the Farmer’s Museum, has a railing for the safety of visitors.
The tavern was often a stop on a stage coach route. It allowed the driver and the passengers to stop for a rest, a meal, or a drink. Travelers could also pay for a room and stay the night. During the mid-nineteenth century, people used many forms of transportation to travel including trains, steamboats, packet boats, various wheeled vehicles, and walking on foot.