[ Post a Response | Close Window | Print ]

PA Bicentennial Wagon Train
Posted by Mike in MI at 2006-11-03 09:29:20
Going through my deceased folks stuff, I found an "Official Souvenir Program" of the Bicentennial Wagon Train Pilgrimage. It's interesting reading about the program in 1995-96 to have a Conestoga wagon or Prairie Schooner from each of the 50 states cross the country on historic trails, ending up at Valley Forge on July 3rd.

The program is all I have. Wondering if 1) Anyone heard of how successful it was and 2) If anyone here took part and what their experience was like.

Thanks, Mike
Response by JWM at 2006-11-03 21:57:25
I was a kid back when the 1976 wagon train camped within a few miles of our place the day before it reached Valley Forge. I rode down to scope it out, but had to be back before dark, given I was on horseback. I was too shy at the time to mingle with the participants, but recall seeing folks gathered around campfires, appeared to be having fun.

The area where this camp was held has sprouted a heckuva lotta houses, the traffic today would make riding down there treacherous.

Response by Carl Byerly at 2006-11-04 16:32:50
Mike, I hope someone will help me out with this one, as I have temporarily (I hope) forgotten the exact facts, but this might give a clue. Isn't that when the gentleman from Kinsers, Pennsylvania, the one who hosted a HPD at his farm, I can't recall his name, drove a Conestoga from point A to point B using only a jerk line. Seems like I have more senior moments than I used to have. LOL
Response by wheat in louisiana at 2006-11-05 10:16:28
We have the wagon from Louisiana here at the RURAL LIFE MUSEUM in BATON ROUGE, LA, that took the journey. Also know of a few weddings that took place along some of our towns that were done via the wagon train.
Response by Smitty at 2006-11-05 20:26:55
Carl, sounds like you might be referring to Elmer Lapp.
Response by Carl Byerly at 2006-11-06 13:30:12
Smitty, you're right. Carl
Response by Daniel J. Gelinas at 2009-08-29 21:36:38
I was aboard the Maine State wagon as it crossed the Tapansie Bridge in N.Y. And my dad rode our horse from Maine to Valley Forge. When I speak of this historical event it seems no one has any knowledge of it.
Response by Phil Darling at 2009-09-03 13:13:52
I was with the Michigan wagon that left Lansing, MI on May 5th of 1976, and reached Valley Forge, PA on July 4th, 1976. The Michigan gang had so much fun that we formed a club in 1977 and had annual week long wagon trains for many years. The Michigan wagon was the lead wagon on Michigan's Ses-quitrain in 1987 celebrating 150 yrs. for Michigan. Sadly the wagon train club disbanded a few years ago. Most that took part in 1976 have passed on now.
Response by garland doran at 2009-09-24 10:25:26
i left alabama on march 3 with the alabama wagon we reached vally forge and circled the wagons on july 3 1976 i saw presadent ford fly in on helacopter july 4 he went stright to the mishigan wagon without looking at any others. big fireworks that night people had already started destroying the wagons by then they would cut pieces off them for souveners.
Response by Ron McKelvey at 2009-11-07 08:00:51
I was with the Michigan wagon. Started as an outrider and in Ohio went on the State wagon. It was our Belgian draft horses that pulled the Michigan wagon to PA. As I was 17 at the time I have great memories of this, the encampments along the way. Even President Ford giveing his speech on July 4th and then making his way to the Michigan wagon for photos.
Response by Christopher Elmquist at 2010-06-20 19:33:18
I was 3 years old when the train started and 4 when we reached Valley Forge. Yes My family and I were on the wagon train. As far as I can remember and from the stories that have been told to me, it was a great time that will live in my memory forever. There is actually a picture of me and my father and mother in the 1775 - 1775 american bicentennial book that was given to people on the train. we had a wagon on the train also. It was the Michigan wagon and my mother worked in the chuck wagon, which was a big blue bus. What memories that were made. If there is anyone out there that was also on the train please find a way to contact me as I am looking for a way to get another bicentennial book.
Response by Edward "Chip" Brown at 2010-07-25 01:28:01
I rode the wagon from Louisiana to Vally Forge. I was 15 years old and got a leave from highschool. I slept in that same wagon that is now at the Rural Life Museum for six months. It was a great trip.... had a little adjusting when I got home. I just wanted to keep riding.
Response by Tim O'Toole at 2010-08-04 09:34:01
Although I only rode on Route 6 about 20 miles from Troy to Towanda Pennsylvania it was a great adventure. I was 13 years old and loved horses and dreamed of the old west. I rode our old appaloosa by the name of Hondo along with 2 other people from the town. On many of my rides, including this one, Hondo would close his eyes and just go where you stirred him. On a few occasions, where we were close to a steep hill, during our trek from Troy to Towanda big trucks flew past us and scarred him and me pretty good drumming up the excitement a little.
Response by Carole Brocher at 2010-08-29 16:42:00
Hello, My stepfather was the official blacksmith on the leg of the wagon train that left Maine to meet up with the train coming from the west. I had the opportunity to spend weekends some of the way. It was a blast, I was eleven. My stepfather went the whole distance and never made it into the book that came out. I was pictured in the back holding up a plate waiting to get feed. I looked like a refugee. It rained about the whole time we were in Valley Forge.
Response by Chris May at 2010-09-17 03:43:25
My grandfather Bud Brown was the wagon master for Arizona. I rode with him from Yuma to Gila Bend, about a week on the road as I recall. I was 11. Still remember some of the songs the troupe of college kids sang.
Response by Lashawnda Smith-Grant, AL at 2010-10-06 23:08:42
My husband's father was part of the Alabama wagon. He was killed less than ten years later, before his death there was a house fire leaving them with very few pictures....4 to be exact. If any one happens to have any please let me know....I can be found in the phone book. Thanks!!
Response by Kvasnicka at 2010-11-01 10:34:15
My fathers family was the wagon from minnesota, my father, Robert Kvasnicka was the youngest out rider and he has many great stories of it. my favorite was when i went to see the Ringling Brothers circus and turns out the Ring leader was a guy dad had rode out with. we have coins, belts, and a ton of family memories from the wagon train.
Response by Shirley Peterson at 2010-11-16 23:29:01
I was with the Alaska Wagon, my Husband Pete was the
Alaska Rep for the State of Alaska- Kodiak Island.
we and our three boys Shane, Shawn and Terry did the whole trip from Fort Larami, Wy to Valley Forge - We had no team for the wagon untill a friend
Zavan Green agreed to pull our wagon with his two roan Belgins Shirley & Bess.We had come down from Kodiak with our QH Mare Lady, and met the Train in
fort Larami. We are both in our 70's and have a lot of great memories and a few pictures. Would love to meet up with other Wagoneers of the Oregon train. We are in Leeds Ut, at the moment.
Response by Jonathan at 2010-12-09 08:29:20
As a spectator's perspective, I was 12 years old at the time. My house, then and now, is no more than 2 miles away from Valley Forge. I remember this being one of the greatest moments with my family, and unfortunately, I was not able to have many of those moments therefter this event, but will last with me forever. I am grateful for all the wagons and those participated. My family stayed all night to hear the stories told by all of you with the campfies at night. WOW, the nicest group of people we ever met from afar. Home 8mm movies of the wagon trains entering the park, plates, record LP and listening to that group sing, a brochure...and it goes on. Would love to hear those songs again.
Response by R. Emmett at 2010-12-12 20:56:20
I rode in the train in Virginia, from Chesterfield Court House to the State Fairgrounds, a one day ride. I was pregnant at the time, and got a little tired, so swapped with an Alabaman for a seat in his wagon. The wagon was very uncomfortable so after a short distance I got back on my horse. It was a beautiful day and the ride was very exciting. Slow--at a walk, with one scary moment passing over train tracks. It was wonderful to meet so many people from so many places. I wished I could have camped with them. A very special way to celebrate the Bicentennial of my country.
Response by Linda Birrell at 2011-01-03 12:46:19
I rode with the NY Wagon Train from Carmel, NY to Valley Forge. I was 17, and traveled with my parents John & Betty Jane Birrell, my older sister Becky and a friend Jack Hicks. My mom recently passed away, and I found a hanging (I am not sure what to call it) which list the names, city and states of everyone she met on the wagon train. I would like to post it to this site. I just need some time to jot it all down.

This was an experience of a life time for me, and my horse King George (the ugliest horse you ever knew and one of the best horses we ever owned).
Response by Tracy Simmons Stillwater at 2011-01-19 22:54:18
Hello! I rode with the California train to Independence, then started with the Maine train as an outrider for Lyle Strickland, the teamster for the state wagon. Rode with you across the Tappan Zee, Daniel! And, Chris, I remember your grandfather, grandmother, and the mules very well. Anybody wanna go again?! P.S. We're hoping to have a reunion for the 35th anniversary this summer, here in So.Calif. Pls get in touch if you want more info:
Response by Randall kerr at 2011-01-22 19:39:28
Hey mike,
Helped a girlfriend move to Cody from dc area. She worked on the documentary for PBS. We had five days with our own horses and actually rode in the back of a prairie schooner.god knows how they did it. The train got bogged down at bridgers pass.I left for Yellowstone and Jackson hole.I have photos
Response by Gordon Turnbull at 2011-02-08 23:12:07
I, my wife and 3 kids joined the Great Lakes Wagon Train when it arrived in Illinois after it spent the winter in Laramie, WY. My oldest daughter and I rode our horses as outriders as it traveled thru Illinois. We stayed in Illinois a couple weeks to let our kids finish school; then, along with 3 other local families, loaded up our horses and rejoined the wagon train at the OH/PA border. We rode with the train across the mountains of PA to Valley Forge, where on July 3rd, we met up with the 5 other arriving wagon trains from around the country. Part way across PA, our train got so large from all those joining, that the train was broken into two sections and rerouted to Valley Forge. We will never forget the unbelievable experience of sharing life (hardship & happiness) with a traveling community of wonderful proud people dedicated to reliving the history of our country and their ancestors...yes, there were births, marriages and deaths along the way. We have lots of pictures, clippings and a 30 minute video made from home 8MM movie film. Would like to hear from others who participated in that fantastic event 35 years ago.

Response by Francis Turpin at 2011-05-11 14:53:28
The Athens, MI saddle club dressed as Indians, scouted the train for a day, and raided it, taking the "captives" to the planned overnight camp. TV station sent a cameraman who arrived after it was over. He wanted them to restage it. Didn't happen. Never heard of any other "raids" on the train. (by a spectator)
Response by Laura Crownover at 2011-05-18 19:00:16
There is a "Bicentennial Wagon Train Pilgimage to PA 1976" group on Facebook.

Response by Charles Graham at 2011-05-19 02:22:49
I was on the New England train and what impressed me the most were the people we met along the way. While doing our laundry a lady from the town listened to our story and insisted on giving the two of us $5.00 each. A restaurant owner in one town picked up the tab for 8 of us who had dinner at his place. He even talked the train manager into re-routing the train to his other restaurant to have an outdoor buffet lunch...on him. There were many others like these who really went out of their way to be a part of this great venture. It exemplified the spirit the wagon train instilled in so many people. God bless America!
Response by Vesta, Richarrd and Dwight Bower and Jean Ruhl and Christine Scott at 2011-06-04 13:47:47
June 3, 2011 - Had a call last evening from Ken Ward. In 1976 Ken and family lived in Missouri and drove the Missouri "Wagon Train" covered wagon into Valley Forge - about 3 miles from our home in Devon Pa. Having our niece, Christine Scott from Blue Eye, Missouri visiting with us we made a point of finding the Missouri Wagon - and its loving family (Husband, Wife, four children) and became instant friends. An unplanned dinner for eleven, a few hours later, somehow flowed from my wife's kitchen and guitar music and trail song singing erupted in our den. What a glorius way to celebrate the bi-centenial. July 4th 2011 will be an equally wonderful date, when we again get to meet and great with the Wards here in Lewisburg following their 2011 get to-gether with fellow Wagon Trainers at Valley Forge earlier that week.Happy Trails to all.
Dick Bower
Response by Mike Hoover at 2011-06-11 11:25:24
My father and mother represented the State of WV on the Wagon Train. I was in the Air Force at the time and could not be with them. I am currently trying to obtain as many pictures, and as much information as possible concerning this event. Anyone with information may contact me at . I have learned that a company in PA built all 51 conestoga wagons. One for each state and for D.C. too. I don't know which company it was. Does anyone know? I have pictures of my father, the wagon and horses. Perhaps we can share stories. Thanks....
Response by Doni Clark at 2011-06-22 22:44:15
My dad Donald Clark rode in the 1976 wagon train he was called an out rider he rode a single horse along side the wagons. I have pictures, brocures, and a book with everyone who participated in the wagon train
Response by Rich Biss at 2011-07-05 08:17:30
I remember going to Wysox Pa to see the wagon train, they stopped at the Wysox Drive-in.
Response by Andy at 2011-07-18 08:48:41
we spent seven weekends with the private wagon from WA. it was a life time experince. I was an out rider one day and learned to drive a 3 horse hitch. My friends from WA were Faye and Jesse.
Response by Phil Parent at 2011-07-23 17:47:02
I was a scout for the "Maine Train", from Augusta to New Hampshire. Some of the most memorable days of riding in my life. Couldn't ride the whole way, due to family commitments, but was there for the "BIG" entrance into Valley Forge at the end.
Response by Leslie E Pitman at 2011-07-26 14:04:45
I was the owner and publisher of the "MAINE TRAIN" Record album with Dick Curless on one side and the Kennebec Valley Boys On the other side. The album cover is a reproduction of an original Painting that I Commisioned Ray Clark (also known as (Yodeling Slim Clark)
Response by Sandi at 2011-08-01 19:08:12
I was 8 when my brother and I got to ride in the Wagon Train for two days across Wisconsin. My mom made me a red and white dress and bonnet, and I spent most of the trip under the bench of the wagon, waving to people as we passed. My parents drove out to Valley Forge to bring back some friends' horses. They were sleeping in a camper truck when there was a knock on the door. Dad opened the door in his underwear and found himself eye to eye with members of the Secret Service. They asked (well, okay, "told") him to move the trailer so President Ford's helicopter could land.
Response by Michelle at 2011-08-08 16:48:31
I was 8 when the wagon train came through, we went to see it in Pottsgrove, PA, which had to be only a day or two before the arrival in Valley Forge. I thought that all 50 states were there when I saw it, but I could be wrong on that, I was only 8...what a great time in history!
Response by Linda at 2011-08-25 02:07:10
When I was 13 years old, my Mom let my sister and I take off school to ride in the Wagon Train through Wisconsin and Illinois, 1976. A very nice man and women let us ride with them on their wagon. It was an experience I will never forget. The people on in this group were some of the nicest people I have ever met. At the end of the ride everyone got around the camp fire and talked and there was music. Great memories!!!
Response by Stormie Rupe at 2011-09-03 00:41:26
My sister lived in Nyack NY and in honor of true history we dressed up as indians and met the wagon train. I was twelve and remember being so proud to be part of such a historical event. The cheif smoked a peace pipe with the wagon master and then they traded goods and if I remember correctly shared some food and then we joined the wagon train and walked for miles behind it. I remember riding on a wagon on the last leg of our walk. What an awesome memory!
Response by Amy Grissom Curee at 2011-09-10 22:45:31
I participated in the 1976 Wagon train with my parents and older brother. I was 9 years old. My dad planned for us to travel with the train for three weeks while they were passing through Tennessee. I remember attending an Easter sunrise service in my long dress and bonnet. When our three weeks were up, we rushed back to the farm, dad got his hay up and we took care of chores, and then drove to Natural Bridge, VA where we met up with our friends on the train again and went all the way to Valley Forge for the bicentennial celebration. We made great friends, especially some Oklahoma folks, that we kept in touch with until their deaths.
I remember playing with other kids on the train, My favorite outriders (Ned and his Pa), and strangers taking us into their homes along the route to let us have a hot shower and do laundry. Makes me think how much America has changed since then.
Response by Cathy P. at 2012-01-18 15:08:24
As a girl of 8, I attending the festivities at Valley Forge Park. I remember my parents buying my brother and I the same souvenier program that you referred to. I then ran around with my family and friends collecting signatures of all the people who had driven across the country. I remember the feeling of unity among all those who travelled. They may have come from 48 states - but we were all together in their dream of driving the wagons accross the United States.
Response by Glenda S. Cantrell at 2012-01-27 13:57:21
My now husband, Eddie R. Cantrell, was a Tennessee State Trooper who worked in Crossville, Tennessee during the passage of the wagon train through there.
Response by Robin at 2012-01-28 18:50:36
For Daniel J. Gelinas...I can't imagine anyone crossing the Tappan Zee Bridge. NY with horses. can you tell me more. Did you need permits, police escort, did they close the bridge to traffic. WOW.
1976 was the year my mother died, so I was involved in many things. I really don't remember much about this event. I am currently living in Orange County NY.
We cross the Tappan Zee Bridge several times a year. Would love to hear more. Will this ever happen again???? Anyone interested in starting a committee, etc???
Response by Jodi at 2012-02-13 20:52:51
I was 5 years old and rode from CT to PA on the Wagon Train with my family in covered wagons and on horseback, even over the Tappan Zee Bridge (there is a front page picture in one of the local papers of my mother and I from this)(still can't believe we got horses over that!). I would love to see a website or something put together where everyone can add photos. We didn't take the number of pictures back then like we do now! Does anyone know of something being put together for it? From the pictures I have seen through my family and my own recollection, it was an amazing and should be highlighted. RFD-TV should do a special on it!
Response by Helen Clark at 2012-02-23 21:34:17
My husband was a outrider on the wagon Train. his name was Donald Clark, he was on the wagon train for 6 mths or more i have his collection of pins cards. the book of the wagon train, my son has taken it to school many times to show his friends. it was a great experince for him and i also still has his cowboy hat he wore. and alot of photos of his horse Rambler he rode on the wagon train. it had to be a great experince. Thanks Helen
Response by Barb at 2012-03-01 08:55:05
I was on the NJ Wagon. I joined up with them in Englishtown NJ and road to Valley Fordge.I was 16 at the time. The best experience any child could have. The unfortunate part is all the pins, photos, and my book got ruined in a flood. I have a hand full of pictures only ! If anyone out there has any memories, would you be so kind to share? My e-mail is . Thanks and have a blessed day!
Response by Steve vaughan at 2012-03-02 15:38:59
I worked with Al Campalone he was a founder I drove out to Jonesburg ark to pick up an get parts for wagons also went to Stone mountain georga to repair one I drovE Penna wagons
Response by Lynda Yates (AKA on the wagon train, at 2012-03-09 16:03:09
I was on the Wagon Train that went through the southern United States and then up through West Virginia and into Pennsylvania. I have one picture of myself with Bob, I think he represented Texas. I also remember quite a few people that were on it with me... Unfortunately, I don't remember a lot of their last names. Jerry rode in a small buggy and he represented Florida. We also had the US Army Calvary represented from Texas. Their names were Cecil and Don, who's last name was either Don Wirthlin or Don Wirth. I was only 16 but they allowed me to be a member, with my Mom's approval and I joined it in Erwin, TN but when we got into West Virginia, they decided that I needed a guardian and the Small family agreed. I don't remember their first names, except their daughter, about my age, her name was Weesa Ahhawanna Small (not sure if the spelling is right). I drove a buggy for Colonel Toby, since he was the wagon master and always rode his horse. I also rode an amazing horse that belonged to a Knoxville, TN guy... can't remember his name but the horses name was Domino and he was an amazing ride. We also had a wagon representing Loretta Lynn, her husband Moony was pretty much always there and a few times the twins would fly in to visit with their father. I have more memories, if you would like to hear about them. I might remember your parents if they joined from the southeastern part of West Virginia.
Response by Kris Vollmer at 2012-03-25 10:54:12
I rode horse back on the Wagon Train from the start in Palm Springs, CA to when they put the wagons on barges in MO, then I rejoined them at Valley Forge, PA. everything I needed for the trip was on my horse, I had to change horses in Pawnee KS when Drifter came up lame, I have kept everything from that trip and some day will scan it to a PDF collection. I made some good friends on the trip, Ron & Marie Schofield, Nancy & Toni were my best memories, I know what happened with Ron & Marie, but lost track of Nancy & Toni....I wonder how their lives turned out.
Response by Sylvia Wallen (Haag) at 2012-03-30 08:28:03
My whole family was in the Michigan group that went to Valley Forge. I think my parents still have some things left over. We have several pics of our trip. It was a hard trip, but the most fun I have ever had!
Response by Helen Seiser at 2012-03-31 19:59:33
We went to see the encampment in or around Park Forest,Il in 1976. It was great experience and it looked like a lot of fun.
Response by Patty (Langer) Gordon at 2012-04-10 12:04:41
I was an outrider with the Wagon Train Pilgrimage in 1976. My 4-H horse club leader convinced me to come along at least through Minnesota. We left Minneapolis some time early April and arrived in Winona, Mn. on my April 16th, just in time for my 21st birthday. A nun from Immaculate Heart of Mary Convent presented me with a cake as I rode into the city. I was so hooked, that when my family met me in La Crosse, Wisc. where they were supposed to pick us up and bring us home, I told them to sell my car and tell my boss I quit! I rode my good Paint gelding, Joe, most of the way to Valley Forge, except for a week off when he got sick, and then a brief stint when he was shake and bake broke to drive so he could replace a horse that broke down for the Jollo family. I think they were from Washington or Oregon. My 4-H leader and Great Lakes Wagon Master, Keith Kreykes, became the National Wagon Master when all the trains joined up. It was a wonderful time. I live in Virginia now, still have horses. I sure wish someone would organize a reunion. I'd love to see and visit with anyone who was on the train. I have a few pieces of memorabilia, but I don't think I have any photos, except the ones my mom took in La Crosse.
Response by Jeffery Boggs at 2012-05-11 02:44:52
Hi...I was with the vision quest wagon from Tucson as.....went the whole way to valley forge...via a couple of the trains....in fact my first wife and I were married on the train in Richfield oh....I remover bud brown, bud Pena, the scoff field....and many many more...one of the best experiences I have ever had!,,
Response by Gail Mitchell-Panella at 2012-05-12 22:04:49
We left Detroit, Michigan on May 1st to cover the original 13 colonies of our nation. We rode from Detroit to New York via Ontario, CANADA. We then took on the original 13 colonies. At the time, there were NOT MANY Female marathon bicyclists. In tribute to our Founders, I chose to duplicate the strength of the females that helped form our great country. I was part of a bicycling group called "TOUR AMERICA 76" that met the Bicentennial Wagon Train in 1976. We were followed by the Detroit radio station WJR. We were sponsored by Erik Stroh from Stroh's Brewery. We were given assigned spots to contact them for live broadcasts for a show on the Detroit Radio Station WJR in Detroit. We traveled by bicycle from Detroit, Michigan through the original 13 colonies. We met the Bicentennial Wagon Train at Valley Forge in Pennsylvania on July 3, 1976 to celebrate the 200th Anniversary of our nation on July 4, 1976! We were interviewed by WJR for that Historic Event!
Response by Cerelle Bolon at 2012-06-06 12:27:49
All of you who are interested in this might enjoy this little book I recently discovered written by Bud Brown, who was the teamster for the Arizona delegation.
It is named, You Won't Believe This, and tells of his experiences with horses, mules, tenderfeet, and critters of all kinds out in Arizona. He tells about driving the AZ wagon pulled by 6 black stocking-legged mini mules walking all the way three thousand miles except for the part on barges on the Ohio and Mississippi River, done the old way..without cheating. It took six months and was quite an adventure.
Response by Jeffery boggs at 2012-07-03 23:25:53
I will look for that book by bud brown......hey any wagon trainers from the California train....the Michigan train or others that remember the VISION QUEST wagon please write me at....jefferyboggs@msn.com"....
Response by Irv Cross at 2012-08-16 22:31:18
It is really exciting to read about the experiences people shared at the National Encampment of the Bicentennial Wagon Train Pilgramage to Pennsylvania at
Valley Forge in 1976. I was a member of the Bicentennial Commission of Pennsylvania and was given the honor of reading the "Declaration of Independence" prior to President Ford's arrival. I was a retired NFL player for the Philadelphia Eagles and LA Rams and was living in Philadelphia and working for CBS-TV network as an on air football analyst. I must confess to having had a lot of exciting and memorable moments in sports; but nothing could compare to how I felt during my reading of the "Declaration of Independence." There were about 75,000 people sitting along the hallowed Valley Forge hillsides, the President of the United States was waiting to have his helicopter land, the Pennsylvania political and business leadership were all in attendence and the thrill of seeing the wagons from each of the original colonies sealed for me what it means to be an American. I am not sure why I was asked to read the "Declaration of Independence" butI could not say no. It was my body,and my voice but I felt a deep connection with everyone at Valley Forge and throughout the Nation. I am glad you were there; I hope you felt the heartbeat of America driven by our "Declaration of Independence."
Irv Cross
Response by Debbie Balke-Lindner at 2012-08-25 11:35:55
I was a part of this wagon train... Probably with u and your Dad. I was with my school, the Long Island BOCES. We had a Conestoga wagon (loaned by a family in Old Westbury, NY) I was with my 2teachers and several of the other students whose grades were good.

Not much is written about our ride! I remember going over the Tappan Zee bridge!!!! My God was that great. I'm actually upset that they are talking about replacing the old bridge. I feel like that bridge still belongs to my classmates and my favorite horse, Budd. A beautiful Belgian gelding. Please e-mail me at Debbie.lindner@colorfullyyours.com. I would love to hear your stories.

This was written for Danial G. And Robin And anyone else that remembers those days. Love to piece together a book og memories
Response by Eric miller at 2012-10-01 07:49:57
My dad drove the wagon for Michigan
Response by Clark Erickson at 2012-11-19 19:06:00
My Mom Dad and brother "Gus" were in the lead wagon from Minnesota. Both parents have passed and Gus lives in Phoenix. I was with the Train when it went through Cleveland. The most patriotic few days in my life. I liked the comments by Irv Cross. I have a lot of slides of the MN Train and am trying to get them digitized. I live in Eden Prairie, MN
Response by Sharon Bird at 2012-12-28 18:16:00
I was 16yrs old and with my half Arab half Shetland pony named Pixie. I traveled on my own with the Great Lakes Train from DeForest Wis to Vally Forge. Many people on the train adopted Pixie and me for a short time, allowing me to work for them to help with feed for feed Pixie. Most of the time the communities feed the riders and teamsters. It is something that I carry with me always. Looking back at how many lives were touched I will be forever grateful to everyone and anyone who had a hand in helping me make it. Right now I wish to thank my mom... she has been gone since 1988 but she had to have real love for me to send me... it changed my life forever...
Response by Beth Bechdoldt at 2013-01-20 11:16:48
My daddy drove the chuck wagon on the southern route.
Response by Barry Smith at 2013-01-21 14:53:33
When it passed through Pennsylvania My family and I met it at the No Bar Riding Club in Columbus PA. I then rode with them to the Warren County Fair Grounds in Pittsfield. I was 10 years old at the time.
Response by Dorothy Gaydos at 2013-01-30 16:45:09
Our 4-H group from Rockland County met the wagon train after it crossed the Hudson River via the Tappan Zee Bridge. We escorted it on horseback into NJ. I think we may have ridden by the '76 House in Tappan, not far from where George Washington had camped. I remember riding with Jordan H from New City, and feeling very proud that we were part of such an historic event! I was 16 years old, riding my 20 year old American Quarter horse, Sundance. I lived in West Nyack, NY at the time.
Response by claire wallace at 2013-03-04 06:37:25
I also rode in the wagn train with my then 15 year old daughter which rode bareback all the way. If anyone wantsto get in touch with me please do so by . would love to hear from anyone from California to Maine. Met some wonderful people and woud love to get in contact with some of the remaining ones. I rode an appaloosa that led most of the parades. would love to have pictures if anyone has any. thanks claire wallace
Response by claire wallace at 2013-03-04 07:20:37
want to know how to get in touch with some of your responses. would love to reconnect with some of these hard working horse lovers. thank you for any response you can give me. e-mail me at . Thanks
Response by Tracey Ragsdale at 2013-05-02 09:36:42
I am looking for any one from the wagon train that remembers staying in Dwight Illinois @ the Lodge I was 11 yrs. old and I lived at the Lodge. I love hanging by the fires and meeting other kids my age. I would love to here anything..
Response by Tracy (Simmons) Stillwater at 2013-05-05 18:36:58
Hi, Jeffery, and everyone else who participated in the wagon train! I traveled on the Santa Fe Trail train from CA to MO, then several of us "kids" took our horses up to Maine & started out again with that train. I was an official outrider for the state wagons for Hawaii, then New Mexico, then Maine. I haven't read every post here, and this may be old news, but we do have an active Facebook page where all are welcome; I think you have to ask, but it only takes long enough for one of us to see the request. Again, perhaps old news, but I'm going to try to post a link there to this site. There are others among us who would enjoy these remembrances. Please join us on FB! (Bicentennial Wagon Train to Pennsylvania 1976) :)
Response by Theresa Cardamone at 2013-05-05 19:50:57
I enjoyed reading everyone's postings. I rode with the Santa Fe Trail segment starting in the Rose Parade on January 1, 1976. I rode my amazing purebred Arabian Candyman as one of the outriders for the lead Pennsylvania Bicentennial Wagon, driven by John Paula. He had a pair of bays, Buck and Duke, who would go where ever he pointed them. Occasionally, he hooked four, using Barney and Jack as wheelers. This trip was my Rite of Passage at 19-20. I rode with the New England train for the New Hampshire wagon from Augusta, Maine into Pennsylvania, and stayed over for the summer at Valley Forge. In the fall, Bill Gregory and I rode on down to Lynchburg, Va, headed for Florida. An injury to Bill's horse ended our adventures (cut on a freeway guardrail). What a year.
Response by Sheila Reynolds-Boothroyd at 2013-05-05 22:13:07
Hi All, My late husband LeGrand(Lee)Reynolds was the Official Teamster for the Rhode Island wagon. I was the Ast.Teamster and also rode as an "Out-rider"
We met the "Maine Train" at Uxbridge,Ma. and traveled over the road for five weeks with the "Train" and rode into Valley Forge on July 4th 1976 !! It was the journey of a lifetime.I still tell people about our time on the"Bicentennial Wagon Train".
Response by Kathy Stevens Krum at 2013-05-06 12:30:24
Our family was on the Michigan wagon train to Valley Forge. My dad, Bob Stevens, drove our wagon and I rode my black shetland pony, Licorice, who liked to kick and bite some people along the way. He loved me though but I do remember having to put a red ribbon on his tail and mane to warn people. My sister rode her Arabian named, Lady. My dad did take on a lot of disabled kids to ride along. I don't remember them or their names since I was only 11 yrs old. If anyone knows of them, let me know. Thanks. Kathy
Response by Carole at 2013-05-07 17:46:44
To Robin: Yes, there was a police escort across the Tappan Zee Bridge and they did shut down traffic and at rush hour. There were alot of very unhappy New Yorkers that morning! Took a couple hours to get the whole train across.
Response by Robin at 2013-05-07 18:37:29
Thanks for yoir reply. Do you have any photos?
Response by Karen Stauber The Southern Wagon Train and author of The Wagon Tongue Speak at 2013-05-07 20:04:54
The Southern Wagon Train had reunions for years and years at Loretta Lynn Dude ranch and other places. We had a website but now have a facebook for any and all Bicentennial Wagon Train participants. I have read so many of these responses and see familiar names listed with no email addresses. Please please contact facebook: Bicentennial Wagon Train. For those of you who have lost pictures there are numerous contacts who are glad to share and there is a Wagon Train book which is absolutely wonderful. or you can contact me:
Response by Geri Herbster(Stoumbelis) at 2013-05-08 09:29:58
I was the outrider for the CT wagon, which had a 4 hitch of beautiful blonde Belgiums.Eventually 2 went home. We had a trip of a life time. I still have friends from that experience even now 37 yrs later. Thank you Carol Tacey for all the pictures and GREAT memories (and the ride home). Sheila R, it was nice to see you in RI at Carol's place.I am in Maine now, and Lyle Srickland(the ME driver)passed away about 5 yrs ago.Contact: gerischroeder53@hotmail.com
Response by Paul Brooks at 2013-05-22 00:32:27
I was on the bicentennial planning commission,pa.equine couns.ast.wagonmaster on lead wagons on arrival at Valley Forge,met Gerald Ford,anchor rider for reenactment of paul Reveere's most important ride "delivering the Sufolks resolves"from Boston to Carpenders Hall in Phila.in 1975.I had no idea anyone even remembered let alone spoke of these historic events I possess some artifacts that I shall never loose but am willing to share and converse with my fellow colleages of those unforgettable miles and times contact me anytime #609-889-9179 or email rosevb@comcast.net
Response by Paul Brooks at 2013-05-22 00:47:02
re .last note: Oh!I almost forgot "TWO MORE MILES sss"! remember that?
Response by lawrence davis at 2013-05-26 15:19:05
Teamster on fla wagon all the way from fla/ala line to valley forge I have many great memories.It was a once in a lifetime experience.I made many friends and had my faith in the general goodness of people restored. I would not trade my experience for anything !
Response by Bonnie goss at 2013-06-05 20:42:34
My family was on the wagon train from Middletown Connecticut to valley forge. Dad drove a pair of percherons with our own wagon with valley forge or bust written on it. My sister and I rode our two Appaloosas as outriders. Our kids were with us as well as many family members . I would love to be I. Contact with tush turner of fully ny as she had a good camera and took many pictures. A wonderful experience that I am so glad I did. Bonnie gosshoss@midtel.net
Response by Barbara Royal at 2013-06-25 07:38:40
I was on the Maine Train and traveled from Maine to Penn.
Response by Walt Phillips at 2013-11-11 16:22:29
I owned the team that pull the Maryland wagon into Valley Forge. I spent about a week and a half on thr trip. Evening food was special. We started in Mary-Del
Response by Carol Chernowsky at 2014-01-19 23:53:27
My husband Joseph was one of the group of men that rode ahead of the train to make sure the way was clear. I am writing his memorial,and wanted to know how many wagons there were. So I looked on my computer, and I am so pleased that it was the adventure of a lifetime for him, and so many other wonderful people!
Response by Bonnie Ervin at 2014-02-05 19:36:17
Great memories! I love reading the posts. I was 15 at the time and left school in April to ride with an independent wagon train (does anyone remember the 'renegade' wagon train that also trekked to Valley Forge?) It was the T-Bar 6 Wagon Train originating from Lexington Texas. I rode from North Carolina to Valley Forge. It was an amazing adventure, life changing really. The patriotism shown along the route was incredible. Please contact me if you have any info or remember the T-Bar 6! God Bless Y'all
Response by beth thamann at 2014-02-20 12:57:34
I rode from tinkers creek ohio to valley forge on my "crazy" horse chico. he was afraid of wagons so I brought up the rear all the way. it was the greatest experience of my life. and will cherish all the memories.
Response by Ricky & Reva Jean Hight at 2014-02-23 18:46:57
Ricky & I met on the Texas Bar 6. He joined in March in Macon GA. & I joined in Va. We have been together ever since. We were a big traveling family. A wonderful experience. We traveled about 20 miles a day. Folks would come out to see us each night as we camped & cooked on the fire. I sang & played guitar & drove a wagon. Rick (Cracker) was a out rider & would shoe the horses & mules. Larry Watson (Boss) was the wagon master & father of our motley crew. We would love to hear from anyone that rode with us. We live in Forsyth GA. 478-974-0886
Response by KayeCurren at 2014-07-03 21:00:25
My husband and I took the New York to Philadelphia branch of the ride. He is gone and can't remember much. I want to write about it. Does anyone have clear memory of the train from Brewster NY south? We camped one or two nights and then had to return.

Does any one remember the route from near Albany to Brewster through New Jersey?
Response by Rick Allen at 2014-07-18 08:30:51
I did not ride with the Texas Bar 6 group but I remember them well, when they camped for a few days outside of Strasburg, PA. It was at Cripple Creek Campground along the Pequea Creek. The campground no longer exists. We live in Lancaster, PA and visited their campsite. Myself, my wife and a few others made sure they did not run out of beer ! I remember Larry Watson and his wife who had broken her leg and hobbled around on a crutch. I also remember a young lad nicknamed "Dudley", also Mac form North Carolina and the horseshoe guy named Dickey Dick. The trip was done right using traditional wagon wheels and not rubber wheels. Would like to know the whereabouts of the group after it disbanded the train. God Bless Texas !
Response by John and Marvin Holt at 2015-01-11 15:05:42
John and Marvin Holt along with their father Joe Holt, Johnny Dale Fleshman, Jim McNeely, Buddy Trotter, Helen & Bitsy Trotter, Alesha & Joey (Wright) Fleshman traveled cross country by horseback approximately 4-5 days from Harrison Arkansas (Boone County) to Clarksville Arkansas (Johnson County) to meet the 1976 Bicentennial Wagon Train Pilgrimage and delivered a Rededication Scroll on behalf of the people of Boone County, Arkansas. Sleeping on the ground, eating beans over a campfire, they were successful in their journey. We do have a few pictures that we will treasure from the experience. John & Marvin Holt, Harrison, AR
Response by BILL: RESPONSE TO STORMIE RUPP at 2015-01-30 09:31:50
Response by Remoa Ann Matson Jenkins at 2015-04-28 16:12:32
I found a brochure for the Wagon Train in my old files. We were remodling our home that summer in Oregon and could not participate. I began looking up information about it and read where the scrolls with the signatures were lost. Then I found this site with actural recollections which I think should be printed and put at Valley Forge maybe on an anniversary date. This is actual written history from people who were there.
Response by John Gooch at 2015-08-22 11:57:03
We joined the Wagon Train about a week before getting to Valley Forge. We were in two wagons from Michigan and were right behind president Ford's wagon that he was in. The cameras were all over the place!

Post a Response:
1) Enter your name and response.
2) Click "Send" to post your response on the Front Porch bulletin board.
3) Your response will be reviewed for appropriateness before being posted for public view.

[ Close Window | Print ]

Subscribe Homepage Contact Us
rural heritage logo    PO Box 2067, Cedar Rapids IA 52406-2067