Final Days To Vote For Most Endangered Artifact

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Here’s the way that you can support the Frontier Culture Museum – by voting in the Virginia’s Top 10 Endangered artifacts.

The campaign from the Virginia Association of Museums is designed to create awareness of the importance of preserving artifacts at museums, libraries and archives throughout the Commonwealth and in the District of Columbia, and we’re taking part.

The Frontier Culture Museums entry is our Wampler Waggon!

The Waggon, spelled with two “g’s” was acquired from the Wampler Family of Mount Solon near Staunton. According to oral family history, the waggon had been in the Wampler Family for many generations and used for freighting local products from the region of Staunton to Scottsville on the James River. Only the box of the waggon and a few pieces of ironwork from the gear survive.

The box of the waggon measures 11 feet 8 inches in the length at the floor and 29 inches in height at the toolbox. The sides are constructed with three longitudinal rails and eight uprights with the mid-rail riveted to the uprights. The top and mid-rails have staples to accommodate eight bows. Bottom rails of the sides carry double brackets to fit over the rear bolster and and stops to fit against the front bolster stakes. A single bed chain is attached to the center of the top side rails to prevent spreading. Top and bottom rails of the left side are connected by three round iron rods with the center rod carrying a wheel locking chain.

Wampler Waggon Side

Wampler Waggon Side

The right side has only front and rear rods and , of course, no wheel locking chain. The left side has a toolbox with finely made ironwork and decorative chip-carving. Feed box chains hang from the rear of the top rails as well as large hook to secure the rear end gate as seen on the Rapidan Waggon. However, in this case the unique double-eye fastener is not seen, but instead both the feed box chain and hook have separate attaching hardware.

Wampler Waggon Side with Box

Wampler Waggon Side with Box

The box width shows a slight flare at the top, measuring 40 inches at the bottom and 42 inches at the top. The rear end gate is constructed with three rails and three uprights with the bottom rail being a separate piece. The top of the rear end gate is straight. The front end gate has only top and bottom rails with three uprights. In lieu of the mid-rail, there is an iron bracket on the inside of each side panel which extends through plates on the front end and fastens by means of a nut on threaded portion to provide the needed support.

Wampler Waggon Chain Detail

Wampler Waggon Chain Detail

Both end gates have decorative chip carving. The major components of the box come apart into separate pieces by removing small pins from extensions of the side rails. Sideboards for this waggon box are attached to the bows with leather laces which pass through pairs of holes bored in the sideboards. This method is similar to that seen on the Rapidan Waggon, but instead of staples on the sideboards themselves, the Wampler Waggon uses a more simple method, that is lacings of leather. Either method leaves no evidence on the sides of the box as one might expect from viewing Pennsylvania Waggons. This waggon box is well ironed, but not to the extent seen on the Lewisburg and Minnick-Zirkle Waggon, nor is this ironwork of the same fine quality.

Wampler Waggon Box Detail

Wampler Waggon Box Detail

Although the running gear for the Wampler Waggon was not found, several pieces of ironwork from the gear did survive. A well-made pole iron with attached chain was found a the location where the waggon had been stored for years. The pole iron is very similar in both style and construction to that of the Minnick-Zirkle Waggon. Also, decorative ironing for the evener was located which matches the decorative style of the pole iron. Nave bands were discovered which show the naves had a maximum diameter of 9 to 10 inches. Additonally, several sections of chain and two large pins war located which may be King-pins and evener pins. All ironwork found is constant with that seen on other Virginia wagons. Text Credit – Virginia Freight Waggons 1750 – 1850 by Ron Vineyard Department of Historic Trades Colonial Williamsburg Foundation

Please take the time to vote at www.vatop10artifacts.org

You can support our preservation of the Wampler Wagon and the Frontier Museum at www.frontiermusuem.org