The wagon we have is an original Mitchell. It is registered with the American Chuck Wagon Association as a “Registered Historical Chuck Wagon”.It was manufactured in the late 1800’s – Mitchell & Lewis Co. LTD – Racine, Wisconsin. From Wisconsin, it made its way to a grain company in Placerville, Nebraska. Not knowing its history, it probably went West to Ogallala, Nebraska where it returned to Texas with all the cowboy gear from a cattle drive.
We converted the wagon to a chuck wagon. The chuck box was built and installed by the best – Elmer Richardson at the Bryson Trading Post in Bryson, Texas. All the wagon accoutrements are of period and historical correctness which includes Dutch ovens – knives and forks from the 1800”s – coffee grinder – a kerosene lantern – canvas bedrolls – cowboy range tepee to sleep in – and one old saddle. When “cow camp” is set up – the food is cooked in “black pots” or Dutch ovens – prepared only with staples that could be carried on the trail – the coffee is boiled in a big coffee pot over the fire. And the most important thing to remember – no cowboy ever crossed the cook!!!
The most famous cattle drives took place on the Chisholm Trail; the Goodnight-Loving Trail; the Western Trail. There were usually about 10 to 18 cowboys driving an average 2000 head of Longhorn cattle from the most Southern parts of Texas to Nebraska, Montana, andKansas.
Today we are still driving cattle and the Tumbleweed is still serving cowboys. And Gary makes a cobbler that’s always on the menu – he calls it “Rat in the Wagon.”
We’ll have more on the chuck wagon – stay hungry, my friend!!