Old Settler Remembers

Old Settler Sees Mail Routes Shift From Road to Rail to Air. Weather conditions which prevented the opening of airmail service on the St. Paul-Winnipeg route Monday brought keen disappointment to Charles Colosky of Manvel, whose father’s stage coaches once made the trip from Grand Forks to Pembina in 17 hours with the United States mail. Mr. Colosky who has seen the mail in the Red river valley change from the stage to train came to Grand Forks to view the shift to airmail, which would reduce the running time to 50 minutes over practically the same route on which his father’s coaches rumbled along for 17 hours. While waiting for the “mail to come,” Mr. Colosky reviewed the changed he had witnessed. His father, William Colosky, had operated stages for several years, when the railroad began operations in 1881 and the mail was speeded up to four or five hours between Grand Forks and the border.

He said the coach left Grand Forks at 3 A. M. and the first driver went as far as Biggerstaffs, where a second driver mounted the box and took the mail into Pembina at (?) P. M. when it was on time. Horses were changed every 12 or 15 miles. Still a boy, Mr. Colosky recalls hearing his uncle, William Colosky, a stage driver, tell his mother the trip that day would be the last one for the stages. The next day he went with his father to see the first train come into Manvel. That was in 1881. The railroad had been in Grand Forks for some time previous to that, and the tracks to Grafton had been built the year before but had not been used except by work trains because the bridge across the Turtle river had not been completed. There was not much of a celebration, Mr. Colosky said, but it took the mail contract away from his father. “Now,” he added “the railroad is too slow and they have cut the mail time between Grand Forks and the border from hours to minutes.” (Grand Forks Herald, Tuesday, February 3, 1931, Volume 50, Number 81, Page 2)

Share Button