Wordcatcher Tales: Hack, Buckboard, … Democrat

From Plain Buggies: Amish, Mennonite, and Brethren Horse-Drawn Transportation (Intercourse, Penn.: Good Books, 1998), by Stephen Scott, pp. 46-47:

The open spring wagon, the utility vehicle with one seat and a hauling space in back, has a wide variety of local names. In Holmes County, Ohio, it is a “Hack”; in Arthur, Illinois, a “Buckboard”; in Dover, Delaware, a “Durban”; in Adams County, Indiana, a “Johnny wagon”; in Daviess County, Indiana, a “Long John”; and in Aylmer, Ontario, a “Democrat.”

A recent style of spring wagon, featuring an open bed or long storage compartment in back and an enclosed driver’s seat will be referred to as a “cab wagon” in this book. In Pennsylvania a carriage-like vehicle with heavier suspension on the rear axle is called a “market wagon” or “peddle wagon.”

A number of vehicles used by the plain people are somewhat out of the scope of this book. These include heavy farm wagons and other agricultural vehicles. The special wagons designed to transport benches from one Amish meeting place to the next are found in each Amish church district. In Lancaster County the Old Order Amish and Mennonites make use of specially designed hearses. In Holmes County vehicles resembling a cab wagon transport the coffins.

Sleighs, cutters, and bobsleds are rarely used in most communities and are not of any special style. Few new snow vehicles are produced. Enough antique vehicles are around to serve the limited demand.


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