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Bicentennial Wagon Train Pilgrimage to Pennsylvania 1975 - 1976
Within 100 years of the signing of the Declaration of Independence at
Philadelphia in 1776, the American colonies had spread from the eastern seaboard
almost 3000 miles to the Pacific.
Spurred by curiosity, ambition, wanderlust,
restlessness, cheap land, and a craving for profit and adventure, a stream
of men, women, and children travelled westward in covered wagons and on
river barges to the fertile Ohio and Mississippi River valleys. From there
trains of covered wagons struck out across the great expanse for California
and Oregon, priming a westward flow that became a virtual flood by the
During this Bicentennial year, the Commonwealth of
Pennsylvania is evoking the cry "Wagons, Ho!" and recalling this exciting
chapter in America's history with a Wagon Train Pilgrimage East, back over the
storied routes of the pioneers.
Pennsylvania is sponsoring the
Pilgrimage to focus attention on the Commonwealth's key role in the birth of the
nation, the American Revolution and the early movement west.
Bicentennial Wagon Train Pilgrimage to Pennsylvania is unique among the myriad
observances this year because it engages Americans of all ages, in every state,
in a celebration of American ideals and invites them to rededicate themselves to
The Pilgrimage is a train of authentic covered
wagons, one from each state, crossing America on the historic trails and wagon
routes that teemed with westbound travellers in the early
The Pilgrimage has provided each of the 50 states with a
Conestoga Wagon or a Prairie Schooner and arranged for a teamster and horses for
each wagon. The wagons were delivered early enough to give each state an
opportunity to show its wagon at parades, fairs, and bicentennial events before
it joined the pilgrimage.
The first wagons headed east from Blaine, Washington, in June, 1975. By fall,
wagons from nine northwestern states were on the Oregon, Bozeman, Mormon and
Lewis and Clark trails, headed for winter layovers in Wyoming and South
During the winter, wagons from the southern states began
rolling and by spring, wagons from all 50 states were moving in five caravans
toward a July 4 rendezvous at Valley Forge, PA, the hallowed encampment of
Washington's troops during the long winter of 1777 - 78.
caravans are magnetic.
Local wagon and carriage buffs, pleasure
riders -- even entire horse clubs -- eagerly join the train as it crosses their
county or state.
At most encampments, a troupe of performers
travelling with the train puts on a sprightly, stirring musical created by the
Department of Theater Arts of the Pennsylvania State University. And at each
performance local singers, dancers, glee clubs or bands join in to enrich the
show and bring the pilgrims and townspeople together in a festive
Not everyone is a horseman or a singer,
Thousands of people in quiet hamlets and bustling suburbs visit the wagon train encampments just for a look at a graceful Conestoga wagon, a real Prairie Schooner, a quaint chuck wagon. They come to see the horses -- proud Morgans, Arabians, thoroughbreds, Appaloosas, quarter horses -- which have borne this growing party East. They come to talk with the teamsters and outriders to share stories of the train and of the history of their own locale.
spectators line up at the encampments to sign the Rededication Scrolls and
affirm their commitment to the principles of freedom that are the foundation of
America's growth and prosperity. These parchment scrolls are turned over to the
wagonmaster at each night's encampment for delivery to Valley Forge.
The above info was taken from the BICENTENNIAL
WAGON TRAIN PILGRIMAGE to Pennsylvania 1975-1976 OFFICIAL SOUVENIR PROGRAM