7 Year Tea Party Winners: Susan Craft's winner of her trilogy novels - The Chamomile, Laurel, and Cassia is: Lucy Reynolds, The winner of a copy of The Backcountry Brides is: Tammy Cordery, the winner of a silver quill charm is: Kathy Maher, Choice of one of three books by Carrie Fancett Pagels in paperback: Joy Ellis, A Bouquet of Brides Collection by Pegg Thomas winner is: Becky Smith, Janet Grunst's Selah-Award winning novel, A Heart Set Free, is: Sherry Moe.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Traveling by Horse in 17th Century New England

Ah, there ye are dear readers. I am blessed to see you visit my Rhode Island farm. God has been very gracious to me. I built it in 1654, nigh ten years ago.

Let me set my horse’s furniture, what ye call a saddle, on this fence rail. Now I can properly introduce myself to you. My name is Nathaniel Griffith.

My good wife and I have just returned from a trip to Lynn in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, nigh a five day ride home, including a ferry ride across the bay.

What is that, ye say? Why so long? Betwixt a narrow trail and many down trees from a storm a fortnight ago, the ride took much longer than anticipated. My wife, she’s a goodly woman and a fine rider, but her stirrup stockings require a broader path than what a single horse needs.

What are stirrup stockings, ye ask? Well, they be similar to my splatterdashes…but I see I have lost you there. These are loose thigh-high leggings to keep my clothes clean. Now stirrup stockings, they be as wide as the length of a large man’s arm. Yea, I agree. They are not very attractive. However, modesty must prevail and these stirrup stockings allow my good wife to ride astride without revealing more than a modest woman should.

Now about the distance. I have good steeds. At an easy trot, they can go six miles in an hour over a clear trail and in fine weather. The day my father took ill, I rode more than sixty miles to fetch Dr. Clarke. Verily, on a journey of several days I desire not to push my animals more than five and twenty miles with a rest every two or three hours. With a carriage, as my father had when we lived in Wales, we would need to travel even slower. However, here in New England we have not the roads for such vehicles.

Now Goodman Blythe and Goodman Coddington, they traveled last summer to Boston. They had but one horse between them. Had they asked, they could have used my black gelding, but that is another story. To spare the horse, they used the ride-and-tie method.

What is that, you ask? An effective method, some say, to spare horse and man. Goodman Blythe rode the first ten miles, and then he’d tie the horse to a tree. Goodman Coddington would walk that distance and by the time he’d reach the horse, the animal would be well rested and ready to go the next distance. Coddington would ride at a trot, passing Goodman Blythe, who was on foot. They’d alternate back and forth like this until they reached Boston.

In my opinion, such a method is an inconvenient form of traveling, and Goodman Holmes agrees. Of course, Goodman Holmes feels one is better just to walk and not fuss over a horse that needs resting. Hitherto, the man owns not a horse and appears to have a fierce dislike for them. That, I believe, is the reasoning behind his opinion.

Now if you will excuse me, I must rub down my animals and turn them loose. ‘Twas a pleasure to meet you, and I wish you Godspeed until we meet again.


  1. Stirrup stockings are new to me. Were they still worn by women in the late 18th century?

  2. Yes, and I wonder about during Rev War times. What a great detail! Love all the info in this post, Lynne, not to mention the style of writing. Fascinating stuff!

  3. To the best of my knowledge, women did not wear them in the late 18th century. While the wealthy or royalty might ride in a riding costume, most women would not have that luxury. By that time most women rode side saddle. They would then wear their everyday dresses. While side saddles were used in the 17th century, not many women in New England would have had access to them.

  4. Oh Lynn, to have your horse sense!! Thanks for sharing your knowledge here. It's just fascinating and helps so much with research and is just downright informative:) Bless you bunches.

  5. Twas a pleasure to meet you Yeoman Griffith. Thank you for sharing about your horse travel in olde New England. I learned a great many new things, such fascinating history.

  6. You know, I really enjoyed writing this. Nathaniel Griffith is a character from two of my wips. :) Perhaps he'll visit us again sometimes. :)

  7. Good information and a fun way to present it. I can't imagine riding in stirrup stockings... but then again... I can't imagine riding in a dress! I wonder what my trusty Trooper would think if he saw me swinging into the saddle with all that extra fabric. Perhaps I won't try it to find out. At my age, I don't need to hit the ground. ;)

  8. Pegg, a good sacking out and I bet Trooper would think nothing of it. :)

    I used to spend hours throwing all sorts of stuff at my horses to make them unflappable. I'd even drag a sheepskin around behind them. That could be quite an adventure at times. :)

  9. Sheep are no problem for Trooper, we have plenty of them running around the farm! After all... I have to get my spinning wool somewhere. :)

  10. I want to see pics of Pegg's farm, don't you Lynn?

  11. What a fun post! Thanks so much for sharing, Lynn, and for sharing in such a great voice. =)

  12. I love that they even had "share-a-ride" back then!

    Hey! I just saw that I won a quill pen! How exciting! I don't think I gave you all my address. Who do I send it to?

    Thank you so much,

    Stacie Gerathy

  13. I love this new blog! Though I don't write in this genre, I love reading it. So glad you gals have done this.

    By the way, I have an award for you from my blog. I call it "Sun Spots" and have "spotted" your blog in today's blog post. You can read the post here: Go Ahead and Wear the Purple
    Once there, just grab the award button from the left-hand column.

    I hope you'll accept it and link it back. :)

    Good job, ladies!

  14. Love the ride and tie method. :o)

  15. Carrie, you can visit the farm at www dot twinwillowsfarm dot com but excuse the mess, I'm overhauling the site so it's a construction zone. But there are photos! Check out the birth of a lamb... if you don't mind the graphic images. :)

  16. Pegg, love your farm. And you have sheep! How cool is that. I know nothing about sheep, however. :)

    Peggy Phifer, wow. Thank you. Carrie and Carla have done an excellent job with this blog.

    Stacie and Sheri, I thought it quite interesting too!

    Roseanna, thank you. I had fun writing it.


Thanks for commenting, please check back for our replies!