Prairie Schooner

 

 

 

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By Dan Beard

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The First Spring Encampment
of the Boy Pioneers

Now that you are a full-fledged pioneer you must emigrate; all the pioneers emigrated and continued to emigrate until they hit the broad trail across The Great Divide, where all pony tracks point one way, and in all their emigrations but the last one they used a wagon which was later called

A Prairie Schooner

in which to "tote" their duffle, plunder, or dunnage (as they were wont to call their belongings) from the settlements to the backwoods.  With us the "backwoods" must be the nearest open space, common, field, wood, or park, but we must have real canvas-covered wagons for our use such as the old pioneers used in their wanderings. 

If you are only playing pioneer for a little side fun, or belong to one of the clubs called a Fort of the Sons of Daniel Boone, it is all one and the same thing--your crowd, gang, or club must have its leaders--so, before you start on the first excursion, decide upon one boy for Daniel Boone, one for Simon Kenton, one for Davy Crockett, another for Kit Carson, and one more for Johnny Appleseed.  For the first spring camp the boys must select an afternoon or a Saturday on which to cook their first meal out-of-doors.

If the country is too far a field they can use some vacant lot or the back yard of some fellow-scout.  Johnny Appleseed must get his mother or some one to teach him how to cook eggs, bacon, or some simple sort of dishes suitable to the occasion, and also how to make a pot of tea, coffee, or other warm drink, so that he may act as cook.  Simon Kenton's duty is to build the camp-fire. Crockett and Kit Carson must see that there is an ample supply of wood, Audubon may act as cook's assistant, while Boons arranges the wagons and taken general charge of the camp, keeping a careful lookout that no savages surprise the scouts and rob them of their dinner.

 

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Figures 37, 37A, 38
The Body of the Prairie Schooner

Take two pieces of two-by-one-inch wood, each four feet two inches long (F and F, Fig. 37), and of the same material, two pieces, J and O, each fourteen inches long; nail J and O to the two ends of the F pieces, as shown by Fig. 37; then cut the piece N so that it will just fit between the F side pieces, and nail it in place, one foot from the outside of O.  Next take a piece of plank, H, for a

Reach-Board

and nail it securely to N and O across their centers (Fig. 37A).  Bore a hole near the end of the reach-board for a king-bolt, and also a hole in the axle (IF, Fig. 37) to correspond to the hole in the reach-board. Nail the rear axle, M, to the bottom of the F F side pieces, placing it about one inch from the inside of J, as in Fig. 38.

Next a pair of

Baby-Carriage Wheels

must be secured for the front and a pair of larger wheels for the rear.  Fasten the axles which come with the wheels to the bottom of AV and M and you will have the framework (Fig. 38) of

A Coasting Cart

To use this there must be a seat of some kind for the coaster or steerer to sit upon, 

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Figs. 39 & 40
The Flushing Pusher in Its Two Positions

and Figs. 39 and 40 show how to make a push seat.   A is a board seat; E is another piece of board hinged with flat iron hinges to fl and strengthened by two battens at each edge; B is a stilt-block fastened by screws securely to the side of E; G is a cleat nailed to the F pieces, so that when the lid E is up, as in Fig. 40, the B blocks will rest on the G cleats.  The dotted lines in Fig. 39 show how the B blocks turn up with the lid E, and Fig. 40 shows them resting upon the G cleats.

The advantage of this push device is that when you come to go down a hill the boy who has been pushing can let E down, as in Fig. 39. It then becomes a coaster, and the boy jumps aboard and rides downhill, while the driver steers with the lines attached to the front axle.

To transform this wagon into a prairie schooner it is necessary to secure a number of hoops-that is, pieces of thin elastic wood which can be bent into loops from one side of the wagon to the other, and thus form a support for a cover made of unbleached muslin, old sheeting, or tent cloth (Fig. 41).  Fig. 42 shows how to fasten the hoops with pieces of tin.

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Figs. 41 & 42
On the way to Camp

As a coasting cart these wagons are of every-day use, and as a prairie schooner they are serviceable for parades, and for "toting of duffle" to and from the camp.

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 Fig. 43
Side View of Wagon

Fig. 43 shows a side view of a push-cart with a stationary pusher (Fig. 44) 

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Fig. 44 
Perspective of Pusher

nailed to the side bars F F, and Fig. 45 a push-cart under way.  For just an every-day pushcart or prairie schooner the last device is the best for the reason that it is very simply made.

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Fig 45: 
The Push-cart under Full Power

Movable Camp

The prairie schooner makes a good movable camp, and there is plenty of room for one boy to sleep under the canvas, upon a bed made of a couple of boards and some blankets.

If you or any of your friends are the proud possessors of a goat or big dog which can be trained to travel in harness,

Shafts

may be attached to the front of the wagon by means of four screw-eyes, as shown in Fig. 46. These shafts can be removed at any time and put away by simply unlashing the string or thong which holds them.

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Fig. 46: 
Showing How to Attach Shafts

While we are on the subject of wagons, we must not forget to build one of those weird wagons that are used with sails.  Here, then, is the Sam Houston Land Boat.

The Boy Pioneers

 

 

   

 

 


Additional Information:

Peer- Level Topic Links:
[ Prairie Schooner ] Houston Land Boat ]

Parent- Level Topic Links:
Foreword ] Daniel Boone ] Appleseed Johnny's Day ] Simon Kenton ] Simon Girty ] Audubon's Day ] Form a Boy's Club ] Initiation Boy Pioneers ]

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Last modified: July 03, 2013.