Scholla: Four Generations of Wagoners August 3, 1943

Four Generations of Wagoners- 8/3/1943
Valentine, Philip, Daniel and Daniel Junior represent four generations of Moyers of Berks County who gained local fame as wagoners of the covered wagon days.

Valentine Moyer, teamster of the days of Braddock’s expedition toward Fort Duquense, was the first of the dynasty. Philip, his son, was an officer in the revolution and a wagon-master carrying supplies to Washington’s Army at Valley Forge. Daniel, the son of Philip, was the most famous of the four.

Great canvas-covered wagons, drawn by four jet-black Conestoga horses plied their way across the mountains between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Landis and Omwake in their “The Conestoga Six-Horse Bell Teams of Pennsylvania” are convinced that many of the early taverns named “Black Horse Inn” derived the name from Daniel Moyer’s powerful team of four blacks. It was custom in the early days of wagoning that whenever one teamster came to the rescue of another team that was stalled or mired the rescued teamster was obliged to surrender one or more of his hame bells to the rescuer. Daniel Moyer collected more such trophies than any other driver, hence the glory for his array of four black steeds.

Nevin Moyer, of Linglestown states that Daniel Moyer brought the first piano that reached Berks County to his home in a covered wagon. The plan called for instructing his son, Daniel Junior, in music and an instructor was engaged for that purpose. But young Daniel did not practice faithfully. Only on occasions when his father was at home could the young man be brought to touch the keys, and yet each time Daniel ‘(senior)’ arrived home his son was seated at the piano. The boy had heard the tinkle of the hame bells which announced his father’s approach. However it appears that the musical training of young Daniel Moyer was not wasted because it was he who held the post of bugler for the cavalry which escorted Lafayette during his visit to Lancaster in 1825. The escort was made up of a cavalcade of covered wagons.

From a local standpoint, the most remarkable fact about Daniel Moyer (senior) is a feat of herculean strength as recorded by Ann Hark in her book “Hex Marks the Spot”. The test of strength took place at Charming Forge in western Berks County. Moyer and a rival teamster were testing which of the two was the stronger.

The two men stood erect while pieces of pig iron were placed upon their backs until each man was weighed with over a half-ton of metal. Neither man broke under the terrific strain, but onlookers gave a resounding cheer when Daniel Moyer strode forward carrying his load on his back while the other man remained rooted to the spot.

Conestoga Wagon. Source: http://www.boyertownmuseum.org/past-exhibitions/
Conestoga Wagon. Source: http://www.boyertownmuseum.org/past-exhibitions/
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