The Southern Route
Frank Crowell drove the southern national wagon with a team of mules from Texas to Pennsylvania in 1976 to celebrate America’s Bicentennial. The southern route of the Wagon Train Pilgrimage left Houston with 3 wagons on January 4th and arrived in Valley Forge to be part of the national celebration on July 4th.
Frank’s brother, Mike, saw an ad in the local newspaper and suggested that Frank apply to be a teamster and take advantage of being 26 and recently home from Vietnam. As the wagon train traveled north, they picked up a wagon from each state and ended with about 60-70 wagons. The southern route, one of seven, covered the most land miles – almost 2,000 miles in total. The biggest perk was meeting interesting people along the way, including Mooney Lynn who drove the Tennessee state wagon and became a friend.
*Frank Crowell pictured during the Bicentennial Wagon Train in 1976 (far right).
Frank states that the most eye-opening revelation was experiencing firsthand how our ancestors had to use that mode of transportation and how tough they had to be to survive.
Being a part of this historical experience is something Frank says with pride was, “the chance of a lifetime.”
Frank is now retired and lives in a cabin he built. He spends time with his cattle and his garden and says the best part of country living is being outside the city limits.
About Photographer: Kacie Newkirk is a freelance photographer based in Plano, Texas. Frank Crowell is her Great Uncle who is featured in the story. Kacie focuses on capturing the spirit and uniqueness of Texas – the people, countryside, and southern way of life. Kacie enjoys traveling and documenting her adventures through the lens of her camera.
You can see more of Kacie’s photos at www.kacie-newkirk.squarespace.com.