One Horse Wagons

Published by: David Sneed, Wheels That Won The West® Archives, LLC
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The first one-horse wagon I owned was a John Deere.  With single sideboards, petite hubs, a condensed box size and high, narrow wheels, it wasn’t just a well-balanced and light weight piece of functional art but an equally strong vehicle - ready to take on a host of jobs from the farm, ranch or business it would have supported during the first part of the twentieth century. 

Built on a smaller scale, one horse wagons like this and even their smaller ‘pony wagon’ cousins share a similar look and design structure with full-size farm wagons.  That said, they’re typically a less common sight and, as such, it’s harder to locate and review survivors from the thousands of brands built during the 18 and 1900’s.  Recently, we received several images of a Mitchell brand one-horse wagon. 
With roots dating to the early 1830’s, Mitchell carries a strong western heritage.  The founder, Henry Mitchell, was born in Scotland and immigrated to America in 1834.  Almost immediately after his arrival in the U.S., Mr. Mitchell began building vehicles.  From emigrants traveling the plains and early farming on the frontier to the storied work of chuck wagons and heavy western freighters, the Mitchell name carries a legendary legacy. 
This single box (one set of sideboards) Mitchell wagon still retains remnants of the original logo and paint on the box as well as the original brake assembly and shafts.  Likely dating to the early 1900’s, the wagon’s completeness, condition and brand, itself, make it a unique surviving piece.  (More details on traits that impact values of early wagons and western vehicles can be found in Volume One of the “Borrowed Time” book series)
Likewise, the Montgomery Ward pony wagon shown immediately above and below is also a rare and seldom-seen piece.  While it doesn’t carry as much age as the Mitchell mentioned in this post, there are other features of significant importance, not the least of which is its overall quality and condition as well as the vehicle type and originality levels.  Our thanks to Bill Nigg for sharing this exceptional example from his collection.  According to his measurements, the wheels of the wagon stand at 34 inches (front) and 36 inches (rear).  The box specs out at 7 feet in length by 30 inches in width with the bottom sideboard depth stretching 8 inches and the top board being 5.25 inches. 
Each of these wagons is a great surviving example from America’s first transportation industry.  A period so intense with competition that the lessons learned then still have relevance today.  Thank you to the Woodfords and Bill Nigg for sharing these two vehicles from their collections. 
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