by Maggie Brendan
All of you have heard of the Conestoga, or covered wagon, that frontiersmen used for travel in the West, but few have ever heard that sheepherders also had their own specialized wagon. My second book, The Jewel of His Heart, which will be out in October, is based on the life of a
Sheepherders had to search hard to find a flat spot to roll out their bedroll without encountering a root stump or rock that poked their backs at the end of a long day herding sheep. They already had to fight snakes, horned toads, and at best, slept on mattresses made of brush or soft pine needles.
Back in 1884, a blacksmith, James Candlish, was moved by the constant complaints of sleepless nights that he heard from the herders. Being a blacksmith in
However, someone came along and improved upon his invention. In 1892, the Schulte Hardware Company of
It was the perfect accommodation for most, but there were other herders whose opinion was negative because of the fact that herders tended camp in one place for a few days, then at the end of the day they had to herd the sheep back to camp where the wagon was.
The kerosene lamp and the stove made the compressed bunkhouse a cheery and warm place for the sheepherder to retreat. It wasn’t long before they were seen dotting the landscape wherever sheepherders were found.