What was advertised in a colonial American newspaper 250 years ago today?
“The Hartford Stage-Coach, will be in New-Haven … on its Way to New York.”
In the early 1770s, Jonathan Brown and Nicholas Brown envisioned a stagecoach route that connected New York and Boston. They placed advertisements seeking investors in the Connecticut Courant, published in Hartford, and the Connecticut Journal, published in New Haven. Such an enterprise, they argued, would benefit residents and entrepreneurs in a colony that travelers often bypassed when they chose to sail between New York and Providence and then continue to Boston via stage. In the summer of 1772, the Browns inserted an advertisement in the New-York Journal to announce a trial run for their service between New York and Boston.
At the same time that they sought passengers from New York and its hinterlands, the Browns placed new notices in the Connecticut Courant and the Connecticut Journal. For instance, Jonathan advertised that the “Hartford Stage-Coach, will be in New-Haven … on its Way to New York” in the June 26, 1772, edition of the Connecticut Journal. He stated that “any Gentlemen or Ladies that may want a Conveyance there, or to any Place on the Road, between this Town and that City, may be accommodated in said Coach.” In an advertisement that appeared in the Connecticut Courant on June 16, Jonathan declared that he “furnished himself with a convenient Coach and suitable horses” to provide service between Hartford and New York.” In the same issue, Nicholas declared that he “purposes to have a Stage Coach going from this Place to Boston every Fortnight during the Summer.” The success of the larger venture depended not only on passengers who made the journey between Boston and New York but also on other customers who paid fares to travel shorter distances. In their efforts to attract those customers, the Browns marketed their service in several newspapers that circulated in Connecticut even as they sought passengers from beyond New England via notices in the New-York Journal.