The Conestoga wagon was a large wagon, with broad wheels and a white hemp or canvas cover, used for the transportation of persons and goods across the North American continent prior to the introduction of the railway in the 1850s and 1860s. Named for the town in Pennsylvania where it was first built around 1725, the Conestoga wagon was drawn by up to 6 horses. It was the predecessor of the lighter wagon known as the prairie schooner, which could be drawn by 2 to 4 horses or oxen. The prairie schooner was used extensively in wagon trains on the American plains, but less so on the Canadian prairies. The Conestoga wagon was favoured by the Swiss and Amish Mennonites who rode in them from Pennsylvania, between the late 18th century and the middle of the 19th century, when they settled in the Niagara Peninsula and York and Waterloo counties of present-day Ontario.
Southern Manitoba (courtesy Library and Archives Canada/C-15040).
JOHN ROBERT COLOMBO