Summer Fun for Black Swamp Driving Club

September 2015 BSDC Newsletter

Black Swamp Driving Club members met July 11 at the Wyandot County Museum, Upper Sandusky, OH, at the annual ice cream social fundraiser for the museum.  As part of the historical display, members brought several carriages for viewing while Julie Emmons gave carriage rides powered by one of her Percherons.

The Roger Higgins family came with an interesting side spring vehicle while Sue and Roger Murray showed a carriage undergoing restoration.  Mary Elliot set out a collection of buggy accessories near Mary Thomas’ pony Saylor wagon.  During lunch, Molly Owens entertained the group with a demonstration of a shirt designed to provide comfortable sun protection.

A dozen members and a guest traveled to West Union, OH, for a personal tour of the William Lafferty Memorial Funeral and Carriage Collection.  Julie Emmons arranged the July 18 visit, featuring the history of six generations of the Lafferty family business.

It all began in 1848 when a cabinet maker, W. V. Lafferty, included coffin making as a business sideline.  He eventually added “coffin home delivery” and cemetery transport, requiring the purchase of a hearse.  Over the years, more elaborate hearses were acquired, and the collection now includes (among many other things) a beautiful white child’s hearse, a massive coffin/flower wagon, an embalmer’s buggy, a Brewster omnibus, and a horse drawn ambulance.  (Undertakers were the local emergency service before EMT squads were established.)
After learning about the uses for the carriages, there was time to view embalmers’ equipment, biers, coffin decorations, early wood coffins, and burial clothing before members drove to Moyers Winery for a fabulous view of the Ohio River and a delightful lunch.

The busy summer schedule continued with a drive July 25 near Bowling Green, OH, hosted by the Hayhursts.  After the noon lunch, featuring home-raised chicken cooked on a wood-fired grill, and in spite of the extreme heat, several turnouts enjoyed a drive around the Hayhursts’ property and their well-stocked ponds. Members not driving were invited to try their hand at fishing for the big one.

September brings two popular drives—the first being Sept. 20 at Parker Bridge, Upper Sandusky, OH, hosted by Julie Emmons.  After lunch, turnouts will wend their way through the historic covered bridge and then over a route along the Sandusky River.  The Coon Hunters drive, hosted by Sue and Roger Murray with Kim Mack is set for Sept. 27, Tiffin, OH.  A joint event with the Western Reserve Carriage Asso., it sends drivers around quiet country roads and along the Sandusky River.  Check for more information.

Black Swamp members are already planning to attend the National Drive at the Kentucky Horse Park, Oct. 6-11.  This year the Carriage Association of America is holding its Fall Conference with the National Drive.  Anyone attending the National Drive may participate in the CAA events without paying any extra fees.  The Saturday night CAA banquet will require the purchase of a ticket, however.