Pioneer Wagons
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“Pioneer Wagons,” Friend, Sept. 1997, 11

Pioneer Wagons

Many of the pioneers who crossed the plains were from cities in the British Isles and Europe. Though they were familiar with carriages and buggies pulled by horses, they had never driven a covered wagon pulled by oxen. One pioneer, Mrs. Jean Rio Griffiths Baker, wrote in her diary, “I can just fancy how you would laugh, could you see us taking our first lesson in ox-driving and our cattle (oxen) taking every direction except a straight forward one.”

See if you can put the correct letter for each wagon part next to the numbers in the illustration.

Pioneer wagon

Illustrated by Mark Robison

a. Bolster (supported the wagon bed)

g. Jockey box (held tools)

b. Canvas cover

h. Reach (pole joining the rear
axle to the bolster)

c. Feed box (for horses, oxen)

i. Wagon box (held provisions)

d. Grease bucket (held grease for wheels)

j. Wagon bed

e. Iron tire, hub, spokes

k. Wagon tongue

f. Iron bow (held up canvas cover)


  • (1) f, (2) i, (3) g, (4) a, (5) k, (6) e, (7) h, (8) d, (9) c, (10) b, (11) j.