National Wagon Parade, 1883

Honey Grove Preservation League

Saving and Documenting the History of Honey Grove, Texas

M. T. Walker Tells of Honey Grove's Big Parade

Transcribed from the Honey Grove Signal-Citizen, June 19, 1942

That the young folks may get a glimpse of Honey Grove life as enjoyed more than a half a century ago, I write these lines, hoping that other old people may add more information interesting to the present generation.

In the summer of 1883 Honey Grove had a "National Water Wagon," on which a pretty girl rode to represent each state of the Union.  The National Wagon was strong, built in the form of a housetop, long seats extending from front to rear in tiers on each side, one above the other.  It was gayly decorated for the occasion, but nothing else could have added beauty and attractiveness to the National Wagon so much as the bevy of beautiful girls.

I have forgotten how many fine horses, all decked in finery, or caparisoned in the finest horse paraphernalia, were hitched to the National Wagon.  Bill Smith rode in front of it, he and his fine horse decked for the occasion.  Slowly, slowly, the National Wagon moved toward the picnic ground, lying in the pecan grove west of the road running to the cemetery.  As Honey Grove had no paved streets, the county no paved roads, it was the part of discretion of Mr. Smith's part to take no risks, therefore he called a halt at the corner of the picnic ground.

While ex-Governor Throckmorton was making a speech, someone found a child lost in the immense crowd, carried the child to Throckmorton and requested him to help find its folks.  The child's father was listening to the speech.

At that time Kate Lane, sister to Bob and Sam Lane, was the only girl I knew on the National Wagon, but the next autumn I went to the Spring Hill community, met Ella Smith and Maggie Sadler, and learned that they were on the National Wagon.

That was Honey Grove's biggest picnic, and its outstanding feature was the National Wagon.

Gone are those good old days when youth and pleasure met, led by the citizenship of Honey Grove and surrounding communities.  Hats off to that citizenship!  Three cheers for the girls who rode the National Wagon!  I wonder how many are still living and where they live.


​M. T. Walter.