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Epinetus continued his story regarding the Katskill to Susquehanna River Turnpike.


“As the family and livestock moved along the turnpike there were several tolls to be paid. The tolls varied but father told me that typically they were.”


Once again Epinetus rattled around in his trunk of treasures. He held up a receipt for George to read.


Toll Fees



Epinetus then told a little story about his grandfather. George noticed the twinkle in his eye that said he was proud of his grandfather’s actions.


“Grandfather grumbled about the tolls to each of the collectors but once he was out of earshot he would admit that the turnpike was much better than bush-wacking through the forest and attempting to ford the bigger rivers.”


Epinetus continued for quite some time with his description of the turnpike. George was genuinely impressed with its description and took some notes.


“Even with the turnpike there were dangers lurking under each mud hole. Sometimes it would appear that the path was through a mud puddle; and that would simply be the case. At other times mud two feet deep would be hiding under the water. The Birdsalls would then use hefty poles to lever the wagon into the air and coax the horses onward. The oxcart would never become stuck. Those mighty beasts could continue plodding forward without even a deep breath.”


Epinetus became quiet while he thought about the oxen and cart.


Oxen and cart


George cleared his throat with a  slight “Ahem” and Epinetus came back to the story.


“It soon became apparent to the Birdsall men that if they saw a mud hole or puddle with discarded poles by the side it was a sure sign of difficulty. There were other signs that also spelled trouble. One of those signs would be a fork in the road with clear indication that one path was the turnpike but the other path was more trodden. The first time Grandfather saw this he was perplexed and took some time to decide which path to take. He decided on the clearly marked turnpike path.”


© wtomosky