Horses in Nanticoke

Nanticoke Was Always More Than A One-Horse Town

  Before the advent of the automobile, there was no more important animal in America than the horse, which, for hundreds of years, had been utilized in every conceivable manner from transportation to commerce to the most mundane of daily chores.

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Horses competing for road space on Main Street, Glen Lyon

The days of horsepower were doomed when people began purchasing those “newfangled auto-mo-biles” after the turn of the century. And if you think the streets were safer in those days.............

On Thursday evening B.E. Robinson, outside foreman at the Harvey breaker, drove with his wife to Nanticoke. While returning to their home at 8PM, their horse became frightened by a locomotive near Anderson’s Store on Broadway. Mr. Robinson was thrown onto a pile of stones and received three bad scalp wounds. It was necessary to summon a doctor. Mrs. Robinson was uninjured. The horse ran up Main Street where it was caught by A.J. Search. There was no damage to horse or carriage. (WBR, Saturday, 6/4/1892)

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A trio of drunks was in town yesterday with a team of horses hitched to a buggy and made things quite lively by their fast driving and the manner in which they abused their animals. One of the horses fell down near the watering trough at the Hildreth & Company Store and it was quite an exciting time they had until they got the horse back on its feet. (WBR, Friday, 7/14/1893)

Mr. Chamberlin, manager of the Telephone Company of WB, and wife were driving down Main Street in Nanticoke when the horse became frightened by an approaching electric car and began running. They were dashed against a telegraph pole where the carriage was overturned. Mr. Chamberlin was thrown out and the horse continued down the street, dragging Mrs. Chamberlin. She eventually managed to extricate herself and was not very badly hurt. The hose was caught. (WBR, Wednesday, 8/1/1894)

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Horse racing was a popular sport and there was considerable betting (legal and illegal) going on, particularly those “long distance” competitions between the towns.

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  Miss Anna Christian of Hanover escaped serious injury during a runaway on Market Street. Miss Christian, a bridesmaid at a wedding in Wanamie, was exiting the Frankois Photo Studio on Market Street when she entered a cab owned by the Wolfe Bros. While waiting for her companions, the door came open and struck the wheel with considerable force, the rattling of the glass frightening the horses, which darted down Market at breakneck speed. The clatter of hooves and the screams of the woman attracted many people, all of them helpless to rescue the girl from her perilous position. At the end of the Market Street pave the horses failed to make the curve in the street and with the cab they dashed into the fence that encloses the Susquehanna Coal Company’s No. 5 colliery. The animals were thrown to the ground and freed the vehicle, which was badly damaged. Miss Christian was taken to Dr. Hughes's office where her injuries were dressed. There were no serious injuries, although the woman was badly frightened. (WBR, 7/25/1912)

A borough ordinance of 1912 forbade the custom of allowing horses to stand untied on the streets, which could result in some fatal accident following a runaway.

A team of horses delivering ice to homes began running down Prospect Street. At Main Street they were unable to turn and crashed through the front window of Vincent Groblewski’s Saloon, one landing in the window and the other in a hallway leading to an upper story. Mr. Groblewski and his patrons were badly frightened but otherwise unhurt. Miraculously, both horses sustained only bruises and minor cuts. The wagon was only slightly damaged. The force of impact was lessened when the wheels collided with the stone curbing. (WBR, 5/12/1913)

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The price of shoeing a horse was advanced to $2 in 1914.

A nine-years-old horse, harness and buggy went for $65 in 1919, which seems like a pretty cheap price for all that equipment. Maybe it just signaled the decline of value of the animal as the automobile took its place.

By the 1930’s, the former mainstay of transportation and commerce had become a curiosity, rather than a necessity.

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