Jump to: navigation, search

Covered wagon


File:Covered wagon at the High Desert Museum Outside.jpg
A covered wagon replica at the High Desert Museum

The covered wagon, also known as a Prairie schooner, is an icon of the American Old West.

Although covered wagons were commonly used for shorter moves within the United States, in the mid-nineteenth century thousands of Americans took them across the Great Plains to Oregon and California. Overland immigrants typically used farm wagons, fitting them with five or six wooden bows that arched from side to side across the wagon bed, then stretching canvas or some other sturdy cloth over the bows, creating the cylindrical cover.

Covered wagons were primarily used to transport goods. Small children, the elderly, and the sick or injured rode in them, but since the wagons had no suspension and the roads were rough, many people preferred to walk, unless they had horses to ride.

While covered wagons traveling short distances on good roads could be drawn by horses, those crossing the plains were usually drawn by a team of two or more pairs of oxen. These were driven by a teamster or drover, who walked at the left side of the team and directed the oxen with verbal commands and whipcracks. Mules were also used; they were harnessed and driven by someone sitting in the wagon seat holding the reins.

One covered wagon generally represented five people. A well-to-do family might have two or three wagons, or a group of single men traveling together might share a wagon. While crossing the plains, emigrants banded together to form wagon trains for mutual assistance and occasionally defense. The covered wagons and wagon trains were retired late before the era of cars and planes.

Prairie schooner is a fanciful name for the covered wagon; the white canvas covers of the wagons crossing the prairies reminded some writers of the sails of a ship at sea.[1]

See also

References


External links



Share

Premier Equine Classifieds

Subscribe

Subscribe to our newsletter and keep abreast of the latest news, articles and information delivered directly to your inbox.

Did You Know?

Modern horse breeds developed in response to a need for "form to function", the necessity to develop certain physical characteristics in order to perform a certain type of work... More...


The Gypsy Cob was originally bred to be a wagon horse and pulled wagons or caravans known as Vardos; a type of covered wagon that people lived in... More...


Archaeological evidence indicates that the Arabian horse bloodline dates back 4,500 years. Throughout history, Arabian horses spread around the world by both war and trade.... More...


That the term "Sporthorse" is a term used to describe a type of horse rather than any particular breed... More...