Boyd Family Wagon Project
“ Go West, young man, go West and grow up in the country” In 1865, newspaperman Horace Greely famously called on the young men of America to “Go West” and go west they did – in droves. Many traveled in covered wagons, including the Boyd family, who chose Lake County as their final destination. The wagon pictured has been in the Lake County Historical Society’s collection for many years.
In September of 1879. This wagon and several others like it left Leroy, MN for the Dakota Territory. John and Eliza Boyd with their three children, the Henry Boyd, William Grant, and James Grant Families, John Erickson and his brother Andrew. The wagon train followed the railroad grade from Leroy, taking three weeks, and finally arrived in Lake County on October 13, 1879. A prairie fire swept through the area the day before the caravan got to their homestead. Eliza and the children used the canvas wagon top for shelter while John drove the wagon to Sioux Falls to buy lumber to replace the barn that he built the previous spring.
This wagon not only represents the men and women who made the newly formed Lake County home but also represents the Homestead Act of 1862 and the consequences of the Act, which displaced Native Americans who had lived in the area for hundreds of years; it gave single women an opportunity to own land and finally, it changed the landscape and ways of life forever.
This iconic 144-year-old wagon will be restored by Doug Hansen of Hansen Wagon and Wheel of Letcher, SD. He is nationally known for restoring historically authentic horse-drawn vehicles for museums, private collectors, and movie sets. The estimate for the project is $5000 - $7000. Please consider contributing to continue to tell the story of Lake County, South Dakota!
Help fund this special project!