Going To Town

This is a typical farm wagon.  Studebaker originated this design in St Louis in 1860s.  They made wagons long before they made cars.  These were the “Cadillac” freighting wagons of the time. The May family were well off farmers.

This team has a very light duty harness not meant for anything heavy.  It is minimalist in many ways. Not even “carriage-level”  In a way incongruous with obviously a draft team.

The wagon is a heavy duty smaller wagon–very common all-around use.

Heavy duty harness had more and heavier straps and always had breach straps over and around the horse’s rump in order to be able to back up, slow down, or stop, and help carry heavy traces.

I remember, in the 30s, going to town like this–before we had a car.  We tied up back behind the Creasey bldg, or in the coal yard when we went to New Plymouth. It is a long ride in wooden wheel wagons like this. There were worse rides–steel wheel wagons.  Both these types of wheels would jar your liver out on washboard roads.  Eventually they would be replaced with old car wheels gotten from auto wrecking yards–but that would not come for decades after this photo–not until the later 30s.

May Family Wagon 1898

May Family Wagon 1898


Back then, Saturday was the go-to-town day, and a must if you wanted to socialize with other farmers. Often there would be plays, caberarets, and other “professional” performances in Pioneer Building upper floor.  Outdoor dances like square dancing was held Saturday evening.  It was all over by Sunday. Back then many states had “blue laws” preventing merchants from conducting business on Sundays. I have no idea if Idaho had such laws. However Sunday merchanting didn’t arrive in our area until well after WWII.

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