Colorado Pioneer Supplies:
The Most Important Necessities

Colorado pioneer supplies consisted of the essentials such as wagons, mules, oxen, cows, cooking implements, guns and sturdy clothing.

The first item of purchase was the covered wagon.  The transport of the day was the large Prairie Schooner.

Prairie Schooner photo courtesy of Time Life Books

The bed of the wagon was a rectangular box, 4'x10'x12'.  The protective cover was made from either canvas or cotton and had drawstring ties in the back opening.

This wagon could carry many of the supplies the pioneers would need along the trail, as well as when they found a place to homestead.

The bed contained a bench on each side where a thin mattress could be put for sleeping, and cargo space for belongings.  It was a tight squeeze, especially if you had 3 or more people traveling in the wagon.

Mules, oxen and horses were used for pulling the wagons of the wagon train.  The new pioneers needed to be a good judge of these animal's strength and spirit to keep from becoming swindled by the sellers.

Many times the aid of the wagon master or his employees were needed to make these transactions go smoothly.

On to supplying the wagon.  Many purchases were of the basics, what was needed to sustain the travelers for months at a time, traveling the various wagon train routes.

As always, a gun or rifle was needed for protection and hunting wild game.  Bedding, food that would not spoil, clothing for the elements occupied the wagon, along with keepsakes the people brought from home.

supplies photo courtesy of Time Life Books

Some more affluent pioneers bought two wagons and loaded one with all their belongings and supplies, while the other was used for sleeping or resting from a long day on the trail.

As you can see by the written list of supplies, many of these items were needed when the settlers reached their destination to set up their homestead and furnish their log cabin or sod hut.

The excitement of these purchases and contracting to travel with a wagon train was a heady experience for these new pioneers.

As they await the order from the wagon master to move out at the staging areas in St. Louis or St. Joseph, Missouri, these hardy people said a prayer and headed west.

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