Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada

The Stagecoach Era in Yarmouth

Roland VanNorden started a stagecoach business between Tusket and Yarmouth sometime during 1865. The following year, he received the contract to carry Her Majesty's Royal Mail between these places daily, except Sundays. Sometime later, VanNorden added a Pubnico-to-Yarmouth route, with a stop to change horses in Tusket. Besides passengers, small freight could also be carried.

The two stagecoaches in the images below were owned and operated by William VanNorden during the mid-to-late 1800s.

The stagecoach on the left is believed to have been made locally. It carried six passengers inside and two, along with the driver, on the outside. It was donated by Mr. Arthur Hill. The middle image shows a reproduction of an original advertisement for the new Royal Mail service.

The stagecoach on the right was made by the Abbott-Downing Company of Concord, New Hampshire. Other Wells-Fargo "Concord Coaches" often seen in Western movies. It may have been used by other stagecoach services elsewhere in Nova Scotia. Pulled by four (or possibly six) horses, there was room for nine passengers inside and six outside. Three could sit on each bench with two or three more on the moveable seat in the centre. Those on the outside would sit beside the driver or on the front edge of the roof behind the driver's seat. Mailbags were carried in the space between the driver's legs and on the rear baggage rack.

Rowland, and after him his son William, continued to provide stagecoach service between Pubnico and Yarmouth until 1897. By this time, the railway had arrived and was running a service between Yarmouth and Pubnico. Thirty-one years after its inaugural trip, the era of stagecoach travel had come to an end.