Huckster Wagons Carried the Load

Early vehicles, like the huckster wagon, defined rural life

| May 2000

  • A huckster's summer wagon
    A huckster's summer wagon. Built for a Uniontown, Md., man in the late 1800s, the wagon could carry up to 1,500 pounds of produce and live poultry.
  • The huckster's sleigh, for winter use
    The huckster's sleigh, for winter use.
  • This dead stock wagon dates to about 1915
    This dead stock wagon dates to about 1915.
  • This mail wagon, possibly home made, dates to 1905-15
    When rural free delivery got its official start in 1899, Caroll County, Md., was the official launch site. This mail wagon, possibly home made, dates to 1905-15.
  • A
    A "universal" wagon built in the late 1800s for varied use on the farm.
  • This ice wagon was used to haul blocks of ice to the ice house
    This ice wagon was used to haul blocks of ice to the ice house. Displayed with the wagon are an ice saw and ice ax.
  • A Dayton wagon – commonly known as
    A Dayton wagon – commonly known as "the poor man's surrey" – dating to the 1890s.
  • Before the advent of the interstate and snow removal, slighs were the conveyance of choice when the snow piled up
    Before the advent of the interstate and snow removal, slighs were the conveyance of choice when the snow piled up. Shown with the sleighs: ice tongs and children's sleds.
  • "The Old Reliable Peter Schuttler" wagon. "Standard the World Over," Made in Chicago since 1843.

  • A huckster's summer wagon
  • The huckster's sleigh, for winter use
  • This dead stock wagon dates to about 1915
  • This mail wagon, possibly home made, dates to 1905-15
  • A
  • This ice wagon was used to haul blocks of ice to the ice house
  • A Dayton wagon – commonly known as
  • Before the advent of the interstate and snow removal, slighs were the conveyance of choice when the snow piled up

When John Crowl sets foot in the wagon sheds at the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster, Md., he embarks on a journey down Memory Lane. 

John, 80, was born (and still lives) on a farm first developed by his great-grandfather in Westminster in 1884. He stopped active farming in 1986, but maintains a keen interest in preserving the memories and artifacts that relate to a way of life now fading into the past.

In one of the two wagon sheds are a pair of huckster's wagons. One is fitted out with runners for winter use and the other, which resembles a Conestoga wagon, is prepared for summer service. The wagons were built for William Henry Segafoose of Uniontown, Md., between 1870 and 1900, by Charles Sittig, also of Uniontown. They were owned by three generations of the family before being donated to the museum in 1966.

"I remember the huckster's wagon coming to the farm," John says. "It usually came once a week. They would pick up butter, eggs, chickens that were no longer producing, geese, ducks, turkeys ... whatever they had. In season, it was fresh fruit and vegetables. And pigeons. The children used to climb up in the barn at night with a flashlight and pull the birds from the rafters. Pigeons got to be a nuisance. They went for 10 cents a pair, and were used to make pigeon pot pie."



John recalls hucksters as an integral part of the rural community. They had different routes and schedules, depending on the weather and the season. They took the produce from the farms to the city, a journey that could take three days.

"They'd go back and forth to Baltimore," he says. "They'd bring back fresh fruit, molasses and sugar."