Clipped From Harrisburg Telegraph
10 TUESDAY EVENING SIX HORSE BELL TEAMS PLACE IN HISTORY John Omwake,' of Old Cumberland Family, With Aid of Harrisburger and Others Compile Fascinating Book A scion of the family of Omwake, long prominent in the Cumberland Valley, has compiiea ana pnntea an interesting volume entitled, "Conestoga Six - Horse Bell Teams. 1750 - 1850." Greencastle is the an - ; cestral home of the Omwake family and the boys are John, head of the United States Playing Card Company, of Cincinnati; William T.. an attornev. at Waynesboro: James Edward, prominent at Greencastle; Jeremiah S.. an attorney, of Ship - pensburg; Gtorge Leslie, president of Ursinus College, and Howard Ru - fus. dean of Franklin and Marshall College and formerly of the Harris - burg Academy staff. This particular book on the old six - horse bell teams nas Deen compiled after considerable research by John Omwake. of Cincinnati. It is an admirably - illustrated volume and was compiled for private distribution. Those older grown will recall, the famous Conestoga wagons which are still among the relics of some farms in the Cumberland Valley. Mr. Omwake gives credit to H. C. Trey, of Harrisburg; H. K. Landis, of Lancaster, and Miss Catherine P. Har - grave, of Cincinnati, as collabora tors. Gives Origin A glance at the table of contents shows what is contained in mis in terestin publication. First is told the origin of the Conestoga wagon and its name, then is related some wagons belonging to the Dutch settlers at the foot of the Blue Ridge mountain, the farm wagon at Mount Vernon, and others in the Province of Pennsylvania, some Conestoga wagons during the Revolutionary period and following that struggle, the Conestoga wagon bells, Conestoga six - horse team and harness, and Conestoga wagons and wagoners in Franklin county. Those were the days when horses were likely caparisoned with fancy harness and jingling bells on each. Wesley Kuhns. of Franklin county, an uncle of the author, was owner of a six - horse bell team and is still a happy memory. Wesley operated a big farm near Greencastle and after the Civil War was one of the few who kept up their Conestoga bell teams to "je brought to town on election day and on other public occasions. ' At Peak Century Ago It is stated in the preface that one hundred years ago wagoning Removes Painful CORNS Root and All Out to Stay Radox is this marvelous new treatment jut soak your feet every night for 3 or 4 nights in a mightily refreshing, pain - relieving, revitalizing Radox Footbath the oxygen which Radox liberates so loosens your corns that they can be lifted aut bodily, roots and all. Callouses eo. too! Get a package of Radox at Golden Seal Drug Store, Square Cut - Rate Store or any drugstore make your feet strong, healthy and vigorous again walk and dance with joyous abandon! f 1 Keep "Undies" New and Fresh with Remarkable New Tints TAKE onlv 40 seconds to dissolve New INSTANT RIT in your wash bowl and see latest Parisian shades for your underthings appear as if by magic. These new tints last through many extra washings. An exclusive German formula makes colors penetrate to every fiber of the material. Mere "surface tinting can t compare. AH colors are absorbed quickly, evenly. They are dearer, richer . , exactly like new. 35 lovely colors for: Lingerie Curtain Hosiery Children's ootbea Drestes Scarfs, gloves, etc At your druggist or department ftere. 15c lor the larger size. WHITE RIT Color Rcimvct (Hamka M Baling Water) Any color, ma black, eomplctehrfa. muiul from all material by WHITE KIT (color remover). Alto takes apots aaid aTatnatiuiu wliile aood"TCPmt, Eiuil pcnpiratioQ. rvat. etc Keatorea eBpwed or grayed to I was at its height and on the Conestoga trail the road from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh were fleets of the great white - top wagons. These passel through Harrisburg and along the Susquehanna and Juniata rivers to the west Some carried six or eight ton loads of provisions and necessaries for the western country and the return cargo included furs and skins, flour and wheat for the eastern markets. Other wagons carried families going to the new country to make their home. Mr. Omwake has found references to the old Conestoga wagons in quite a few museums and historical societies. The Conestoga wagon, he says, was a perfect vehicle for then existing conditions and the highest type of a commodious freight carrier that has ever been known. Most of the material for this book has come from the Conestoga Val ley in Lancaster county where the wagons had their beginning. He concludes his preface thus: Even standing silent in a dimly - lit barn the sturdy old wagon is splendid and impressive. With Its six great slick horses and the chim ing bells it was the embodiment not only of the American traditions of strength and purpose but of the jov of life. Perhaps Mr. Stevenson was thinking of it when he wrote Its better to travel hopefully than to arrive and true success is to labor. - The probability is that the first Conestoga wagons were modified English - covered wagons suggested by those of the English settlers in Chester and Delaware counties. They were strong and serviceable. The excellence of the wagons made in the Conestoga Valley of Lancaster county caused the name to become famous throughout the country and the wagons were known as Conestogas. They were designed and built by local wheelwrights of swamp oak. white oak, hickory, locust, gum and popular from the neighboring woodlands and were ironed by the "village blacksmith All of the work was done by hand The wagon bed was long and deep and was given considerable sag in the middle, both lengthwise and crosswise, so that should the load shift it would settle toward the center and not press against the end gates. .Named For Indians With the clearing of the land and the making of roads and interior settlements it became necessary to develop a large type of horse capable of farm work and of hauling heavy loads long distances. - i Conestoga Creek in Lancaster county was named for the Indians who lived along its banks. They were of Iroquoian stock in the lower Susquehanna and about the head of Chesapeake Bay. Mr. Omwake has unearthed much of historic inter est in this book and his contribu tion to the permanent history of the State is important. Mention is made of Christian Noecker, a farmer of Dauphin county, who July 4, 1776, arrived in Philadelphia with a wagon load of farm produce. Leaving his chickens and butter and eggs and other produce in the market he joined the crowds who stood in the streets waiting to hear what Congress was doing about the Declaration of Independence. Nevin W. Moyer, of Linglestown tells how his great - great - great - great - grandfather, Valentine Moyer, was master of the wagon train, and his son Philip, one of the wagoners during the hard winter at Valley Forge. It is only because they knew the road so well between Philadelphia and Valley Forge that they were able to get their supplies safely to the suffering army. Tavern Signs Illustrated Among other illustrations in the book are tavern signs of the Revolutionary period and some very impressive six - horse teams drawing Conestoga wagons. One of these shows a Conestoga wagon unloading bullion at the United States Treasury at York. The bells which jingled over the heavy horses were fastened on a rack attached to the wooden hames. There are also pictures showing ths old - time covered bridges and stories of the countryside through the Cumberland and Lebanon valleys. A feed box was carried on - the tongue of these Conestogas. One writer tells of setting out in Jan uary from Lancaster and proceeding along the Harrisburg road at a steady .pace of about three and one - half miles an hour. At this time the turn pike from Lancaster to Harrisburg was not yet finished. The road followed the Susquehanna river. At this time the writer says the road' from Harrisburg to Car lisle was fine and level. Througn - out the book there are interesting stories of trips in the Conestoga wagons. One of these was built at Middletown in 1813 and is now in the collection of historical vehicles owned by the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company. Details are given in the several chapters of the construction of these unusual wagons, the materials used and how efficient they were in the eaerly pioneer days. An interesting feature of the book is illustrations of famous hotels and taverns with unusual signs that gave them their reputation. A fine painting of a Conestoga wagon is to be seen in the rooms ofthe Pennsylvania Historical Society. Included in the book are reproductions of advertisements of the period, telling of the arrival and departure of the Conestogas. Also, is a story with Illustrations of the old portage railroad across the Alle - gbenies.