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A Look Back at buggies

Two days before Christmas 1900, many Hartselle young men would be wishing for new buggies they could go courting in.   

Even though developments that would be important in the future manufacture and sale of motorized vehicles were going on in 1900, it would be about a decade before they would make their appearance on Hartselle streets.   

All of the following news items except one deal with the final years in which the buggy would be the dominant mode of transportation. At times more exciting things happened than “courting” while the occupants were in their buggies.  

Like autos, which would come to Hartselle in large numbers in the 1920s, the purchaser of a buggy had several optional features from which he could choose to enhance its appearance and usefulness. Even into the 1920s, men were investing a lot of their money in new buggies – and as with autos, the potential for frequently fatal accidents was ever present. 

Dec. 27, 1888The Enquirer published the advertisement of S. W. Shackleford:  “Undertaker and Buggy Repairer.” 

June 23, 1902While many were out driving this Sunday afternoon, a horse being driven by Prof. J. H. Riddle became frightened and, in a very few jumps, threw Mr. Riddle and Mr. Rogers out of the buggy and came down the street with lightning speed, running into the buggy occupied by Dr. W. A. Barclift, knocking him and his little 5-year-old son some 20 feet. The doctor received several severe fresh wounds, which are not regarded as dangerous, but the extent of the injury to the little boy is not yet known, his jaw being broken. He was otherwise bruised, but the doctors say his injuries are not fatal. 

Aug. 28, 1902—Charles Wells has in times past been one of the attendants at several wedding parties.  Last Wednesday, he was the principal actor in a similar scene. He drove over to Brindlee Mountain for his fair bride, and at Guntersville they joined a party of young couples in new buggies from several communities. Probate clerk John Carter performed the ceremony, and pretty soon Mollie Cordell became Mrs. Charles Wells. 

Sept. 11, 1902—Ring the wedding bells! That was the exclamation uttered by several stalwart young men and smiled by as many rosycheeked lassies as a procession of new single buggies drawn by well-fed horses stopped on the town square on the 3rd. The laughter and blushes and jollity all proclaimed the mission of young couples from this vicinity. It was a wedding party! Probate clerk John Carter officiated, and Dovie Jordan was made Mrs. R. S. Cobb. 

May 12, 1903—M. P. Stewart, a drummer from Atlanta, while out driving south of Hartselle one day last week, was painfully injured by the horse running away and throwing him out of the buggy. He received two severe cuts on the head, and two or three ribs were fractured. 

May 10, 1906Gussie Walden died this afternoon at the home of her parents in West Decatur. Her death was due to an injury she received this past summer by being thrown from a buggy. Miss Walden was a daughter of Hon. Dan Walden, a member of the state legislature from this county, and was a most charming young lady. 

June 12, 1906A young man giving his name as F. F. Dickens is in the county jail, charged with stealing a horse and buggy. He drove into C. C. Schueing’s livery stable yesterday afternoon and wanted to sell a nice horse and buggy for $125. Schueing was suspicious and wanted to know something of his whereabouts. The young man stated he was from Hartselle and gave the names of several well-known men there as references. Schueing went to Hartselle with him, and the gentlemen did not know him.   

He claimed to have a brother living in the country and drove with Schueing and city marshal Rogers, of Hartselle, to a man’s house whom he claimed as brother, but the man proved he was no kin.   

Dickens was then taken back to Hartselle and placed in jail.   

About 3 o’clock this morning he sent for Schueing and Rogers and said he met a young man at Florence last week who proposed they get a buggy and go to Tuscumbia for some whiskey.  The other man, so Dickens claims, got the buggy and horse from some livery stable in Florence, and they started out.   

After drinking in several saloons in Tuscumbia, the young man left him, and he woke up the next morning in the buggy. He drove to Cullman without trying to find the owner of the turnout and tried to sell it.