THE MARY ANN – A MARION CAMP WAGON by Canton O’Donnell

Late in the summer of 1908, I returned from a year in Europe and found my friend, Dick Jackson, had just about completed aCamp Wagon for his 4 cylinder – air cooled – double chain drive, Marion. I helped at that time.

 

Dick did a beautiful job. Had a mahogany rail around the top of the wagon bed, rubbed and polished by hand. Had a chuck wagon box on the rear end. The door opened and formed a table, one burner oil stack, places for food, etc.

 

We wrote Abercrombie and Fitch to buy press on lid cans for sugar, salt, coffee and so forth. Now common but AF was the only source then.

 

We made a false start, Dick substituted a cast steel (no forged steel then) front sprockets on chain drive. Then used cast bronze and smaller sprockets.

 

A bridge was out at Morrison so we tried to forge Bear Creek and bang went the bronze sprockets. I do not think you could get steel forging in Denver so stayed all night near Morrison. Next day got back to Denver. We had the steel _____ material with us so a few days later we started again – with sprockets or no sprockets.

 

We went to Baily and along the Platte to Esterbrook and up Chestnut Hill to Maxwell’s Ranch, which was a resort. [The Bancrofts spent summers there.] We took Albert Bancroft, Rosie, Albert¹s girl, Hetty and Nancy Coltell on a trip to Cheesman Dam which was just [had been] recently completed. One car had been in there before us – [something else was here, probably not important] we were the second car.

 

Had a ride in the contractors Naptha Launch, a power boat. Have never really learned what a Naptha Launch is, but it towed barges filled with stone for the dam, to the dam site. The dam was the most beautiful Masonry Dam in the world at the time, and the last true masonry dam. Bigger to power them after that, and they used 4 to 6 cut faces of blocks of granite.

 

On way home we hit the clutch release arm on a high center which took the transmission¹s three speed sliding gear apart. We put a new tapper pin in.

 

I think we stayed there all night and Albert and the ladies walked back to the ranch. Mrs. Bancroft worried that we did not get enough to eat, which we did, but she had us for dinner.

 

There was a canvas top to the Camp Wagon. Dick got a 3/4 mattress from a bed in his home on Colfax Ave. and Ogden Street and had it cut to fit Camp Wagon bed. Part of the group slept on the ground in bed rolls- no sleeping bags then. That was the only trip I remember in the Mary Ann.

 

Next year, 1909, we had a Thomas Flyer and the Mary Ann was out of fashion for us. Dick had it many years but finally abandoned it near Holbrook Arizona. He sent me a picture. I think I saw it in a yard there in about 1924 or 25.