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Peddler's Wagon, ca. 1869

 

In 1869, Civil War veteran Lucius Wilcox Bigelow (1841-1929) went to Templeton, MA, to purchase three peddler’s wagons for his employer, Gibson and Nellis, of Winsted, CT.  Bigelow chose his own wagon from the three and planned a peddler’s route from Winsted through Collinsville, Canton, Avon, Simsbury, and Granby.  Peddlers who worked for shop owners usually worked a specific number of months, selling goods provided by their employers.  They earned about $30 or $40 each month and bonuses if sales were good. 

Bigelow went into business for himself in 1875, purchasing both horse and wagon.  Bigelow sold tin ware, household items, and novelties, and purchased scrap metal and cloth for resale.  After 1900, he began buying and selling “antiques,” becoming an active if unknowing participant in the Colonial Revival movement.  Called the last Yankee peddler in Connecticut, Bigelow gave up his business in 1925.  Ten years later, his widow loaned the still-loaded wagon to the Simsbury Historical Society.  In 1954, the Historical Society acquired the wagon as a permanent gift from Mrs. Bigelow’s niece.

 

 

 

 
Simsbury Historical Society
800 Hopmeadow Street
Simsbury, CT 06070
860-658-2500
info@simsburyhistory.org