WALLINGFORD — After decades of making its way around the United States, a historical ox cart more than 150 years old is finally home.
Built in town during the 1850s, the cart returned to its roots on Friday when it was delivered to the home of local historian Bob Beaumont, president of the Wallingford Historical Society.
Friday marked the end to a journey that has seen the cart make stops in Arizona, Colorado, South Dakota and Texas. It will be permanently stored at the historical society once the organization makes room.
”That cart has probably had more miles put on it going around the country than it did the entire time it was situated here in Wallingford.” Beaumont said.
Beaumont estimated the cart was built in 1859 by William Cook of Cook Hill Road and used until the 1950s. Cook was a descendant of Samuel Cook, a shoemaker, farmer and one of the town founders.
Wayne Mason, a descendant of the Cook family, brought the cart back to Wallingford with his wife Mary Ellen from Houston, Texas. Before it was in Houston, the cart was with another family descendant in South Dakota.
The cart originally left Wallingford in the 1970s, when another Cook descendant, former veterinarian Harmen Leonard — son of Emerson Leonard, who is acknowledged by the Emerson Leonard Wildlife Area in town — brought it with him to Arizona, and eventually Colorado, when he retired.
”I wanted (the cart) to be somewhere where it could be preserved,” Mason said of his decision to bring the cart back to Wallingford. “The Historical Society has a lot of my family heirlooms. It has a deeper meaning in Wallingford.”
Along with the cart, Mason included an old postcard with the cart pictured on the front. The picture itself was taken in 1869 on Center Street, and Beaumont estimates the postcard was part of a series made in the 1930s.
Beaumont expects the cart to be ready for viewing at the Historical Society in a few months. There it will rest just four miles from where it was built over 150 years ago.