Today THE NEW CARRIAGE by Earle S. Teegarden, Sr.

Well folks, I am finally working on the last part of "A 200 year Chronology of Livingston County". I published the first 100+ years back last summer in a blog article with a promise of finishing it soon. I am past due on that promise.  While compiling new information, I took another (much closer) look at the fine work done by the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) in 1981.

This document is available on our Livingston County Library website and is entitled "Livingston County History - Celebrating 150 Years, 1821-1981."  "Nit Pickers" may quibble with the math, but the content is refreshing, organized, and well done.  This team was led by Mary Ruth Seiberling and the list of contributors/editors evoke many fond memories of my childhood. The only person I know that is still with us is Miss Virginia Wall.

I found lots of good material for my chronology task, but I also found an appendix of sorts entitled "Old Time Tales"  that I had simply overlooked. These stories are prime source snippets as told by our seniors that recall our past.  They are charming.  Most of them are just the right length and all are on topic for our purpose.

So, my plan for the next little while is to select some of them and provide for your enjoyment. I may include more than one in some posts.  There are some tough choices from the dozens available and I invite suggestions. I will entitle this series "Grand River Tales - Part n."   So let us celebrate as we remember .


THE NEW CARRIAGE by Earle S. Teegarden, Sr.

As the Teegarden family increased in number and the children grew larger, it was impossible for all of us to go visiting to town or any place in one vehicle unless we went in the big “wagon”. So it was necessary that we buy a carriage. It was perhaps about 1910 or 1912 that we secured a new one at the cost of about $100.00.

1 am sure that Dad “looked around” and finally decided to order one from Montgomery Ward and Co. I well remember the Sunday morning when we went to Nettleton to get it. It came “knocked down” and that necessitated considerable unpacking, sorting and assembling various parts. It was quite a job but I think we had some volunteer assistance. You can usually find some men in a crowd who are willing to lend a hand. They had assembled to meet No. 4 or the “Ten O’clock” train and several lingered to help after the train had departed. Even at that I remember we had a late Sunday dinner.

The carriage was well built and very sturdy and strong. The top was not the one with the fringe on top. It rather resembled the shape of a buggy top which gave more protection from the sun and rain and also added to the appearance of the vehicle. The seats were roomy and covered with leather. An attractive sturdy stop at the back seat served as a fender and enabled the passengers to get in and out without difficulty. The wheels were much heavier built then for a buggy and the tongue, doubletrees and singletrees were well constructed. It was black in color and was a carriage of which we were all very proud.

In the winter or if it was raining a complete set of side curtains were provided which were reasonable effective in keeping out the cold and rain. A large covering was so constructed that it was fastened over the dash board and covered the laps and legs of the occupants of the front seat from the elements.

The family used the carriage a great deal and I recall having gone many places in it and it served its purpose very well. The horses that pulled it were only farm animals but the carriage itself would have been appropriate for a smooth city boulevard rather than a country road. Dad kept the carriage in the barn or in a shed so that it retained its good color and appearance for many years.

One Sunday evening as we were returning from Grandmother Schneiter’s, we were about one half mile south of the home of Sam Towne and along the east side of the Wolcott 100 acres when we met Fred Dolan who was driving their cows home from pasture. Fred made one observation and said “A wagon load for a dime.” I think that mother resented the brash remark but Dad got a big laugh out of the boys remark.

Incidentally this remark appeared on the cover of pencil tablets which we used in school. It contained many sheets of cheap paper for 10 cents and along with the slogan was a picture of a wagon load of children in a cart pulled by one horse so the remark was not original with Fred. One final observation, the new carriage displeased our old dog Bounce and at first he refused to follow it. I have often wondered why the old dog reacted to it in such a manner. He loved to go with the horses but he did not seem to understand about the carriage. That was one way to keep him at home when many other methods failed as he was very insistent in accompanying us when we left home.

After some months, Bounce, began to follow it again and was probably as proud and happy about it as all the Teegardens were.