BRETHREN-L ArchivesArchiver > BRETHREN > 2010-09 > 1285870058
From: Merle C Rummel <>
Subject: [BRE] Wagon Trains
Date: Thu, 30 Sep 2010 14:07:38 -0400
I can't imagine going 20 miles an hour anywhere but a residential
neighborhood. Then take it down to 2-3 miles an hour? I don't really
think I can imagine it
A man can walk at 3 or 4 mph - and we used to walk all day at that -
miles and miles. Many still do - down in the mountains. You can walk
across the ridge, and a car might not even be able to get there.
Original travel west to the Mountains and over them, was by a pack-horse
caravan, following the Indian trails.
A horse team would pull a wagon steadily for several days - they could
go at about 3 mph
A yoke (or two) of Oxen would pull a wagon steadily for months - at a
speed of about 2 mph. The Oxen were better for migration, but horses
would be needed when they got "out west" - whether that would be the
Carolinas or west in Pennsylvania (1750s), or Kentucky or Ohio (1780s),
or Missouri or Iowa (1810s), or California or Oregon (1850s).
Mostly, the driver of the wagon - at least, the man - would walk to the
off left side of the horses nearest the wagon. Women and children rode
the wagon seat.
A wagon train could only go at the speed of the slowest wagon - so most
wagon trains rolled along at the 2 mph speed. Children could get out
and play, and run a little to catch up with their wagon. Even little
children could be carried to the wagon by their big sisters. There was
no such thing as "I'm bored - " - well, at least by not having to sit
still in the back seat of a car for an hour or more.
These early routes are still followed by highways. The Interstates just
speed up, and short cut, the old roads.