Old Sue the Tug-Mule
by Robert Nelson Page
Harper's New Monthly Magazine, Vol 85, 1892, p 157
This very short story was published in the Editor's Drawer section of Harper's New Monthly Magazine in 1892 and included in later collections of stories by Thomas Nelson Page. While Page is noted for his use of Negro dialect, and this story is an example of that use, what was of interest to me was the vignette of Richmond, Virginia that this story gives. The action is centered on the intersection of 9th and Main Streets. Old Sue, a tug-mule, was hitched to streetcars making the turn to go up the hill on 9th to Broad Street. As I know the intersection of 9th and Broad well (the Library of Virginia is located there today), it was fascinating to get a glimpse of the past.
The narrator of the story tells us that he was able to see the intersection of 9th and Main from his office window. I know that Page practiced law in Richmond for a time, but I have no idea where his office was located. Nor do I know if this story is pure fiction or based on observations Page himself made. In either case, it is a fascinating vignette of Richmond in the late 19th century.