Thamesville-Ridgetown Stage Coach

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By Mrs. M. Thompson / Mrs. C. DeCook

A celebrated institution of history was the Thamesville Ridgetown Stage. Following the construction of the Great Western Railway, this stage mail route was established in 1864. The first driver was Mr. Ostrander who kept a store at Selton, midway between Ridgetown and Morpeth. He was succeeded as stage driver by Mr. Robinson and son. In 1872, Duncan Campbell took over. In 1878 Wm. McDonald took over and drove for 12 years. Then Bob Walters drove for 4 years, then handed the contract over to "Gentleman Tom" Sheppy. Next Leon Poulin drove the stage for 15 years. Eventually in 1913, this, one of the last of the old stage routes, discontinued operating with the advent of rural mail delivery. The old time stage drivers had many tales to tell of snowdrifts, deep mud, especially spring freshets, when the Thames River rose above the bridge level, flooding the country for miles; when Thamesville stores were filled with water as high as the counters and people went around in boats.

For many years the stage stopped not merely at Selton Post-Office, but at the nearby Half-Way House to water the horses and permit thirsty travelers to clear their throats. Ultimately, the old tavern was cut in two and the sections moved in the opposite directions to form parts of farm houses.

When the store was closed, Selton Post-Office found varied other purposes, till at last, rural mail delivery and the Great Western Railway at Ridgetown put the stage coach and its activities off the route between Ridgetown and Morpeth.

Morpeth had the 2nd Post-Office in Kent County. 1st Fall Fair in 1854.

Mrs. M. Thompson / Mrs. C. DeCook

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Transcribed from the records of Mrs. Geo. S. Brien, Rural Ridgetown Women's Institute.
2004-11-01