Lorna’s 1930s Shepherd’s Wagon

Over the course of two summers starting in 1945, Lorna Benedict lived in a shepherd’s wagon on a large ranch in Wyoming. During her stint as a shepherd she watched over a herd of sheep, chopped her own firewood, shot and skinned local wildlife and fished the rivers for her food. Every few weeks, when the sheep moved on to feed, horses would be hooked up to the wagon so she and her home could continue the process. When asked what she liked about the lifestyle, she said “Nothing!”

“Well…at that age, it wasn’t what I wanted to do,” Lorna added. “But now that I look back on it, it was really amazing to be out in nature with those mountains in Wyoming. I sure did read a lot.

The shepherd’s wagon, built around 1930, now sits in Lorna’s backyard in Washoe Valley, Nev. She brought it back with her when the ranch she worked on found no more need for the tiny wagons since the price of sheep had gone down. Lorna has used the wagon as a guest house, a retreat and one couple even honeymooned in it.

The wagon contains a full-sized bed, the original wood stove, a toiletry cabinet and wash basin, a pull-out table stored under the bed, a small kitchen and storage for clothes, food and pots and pans. The roof is covered with a heavy canvas and the inside is lined with gingham. It has a small window above the bed and the front door is a double door.

Lorna has worked over the years as a Rolfer, massage therapist and massage teacher. A career she went into after being thrown from too many horses out on the Wyoming range.

Photos by Christina Nellemann

By Christina Nellemann for the [Tiny House Blog]

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Justin - September 3, 2012 Reply

Wow! I find it amazing that a three year old girl could live in this thing and tend sheep for two summers in the wilds. Life was tough back then 😉

JCinCT - September 3, 2012 Reply

Wow, you were probably way ahead of your times, but didn’t realize it then. That relationship with Nature…..priceless.This is a unique tiny home and piece of history….love the decorated touches and colors, too. Kudos Lady Lorna!…Thanks for sharing this with us.
JCinCT

Liv - September 3, 2012 Reply

Yeah, are you sure you got this right? She was 3 years old when she did this? I feel like there has to be a typo somewhere. But still, this wagon is AMAZING! Does Lorna want to adopt me? haha

Diana De Paul - September 3, 2012 Reply

What a great story….exactly the kind I love. How did you find her? Just wonderful.

MelD - September 3, 2012 Reply

Maybe it was 1954 or she is 80….?!

    Christina Nellemann - September 3, 2012 Reply

    LOL! I think she may have told me the wrong age. The wagon was built in 1930 and she said she lived out of it in the ’40s. However, it may have been later. Lorna is in her 70s or 80s now and I found the sheep wagon while biking around the neighborhood.

stpauligirl - September 3, 2012 Reply

Hmmm. Even at 13 years old, that story seems a little tall…

    Tamara - September 15, 2012 Reply

    Just so you know 13 is not to young for back in that time period. Back than boys and girls of that age were responsible for taking care of house or farm. So it is entirely able to be true. Boys at 12 would even run the farm machinery and girls could be put in charge of sheep and other tamer animals on the farm.

Hazel - September 3, 2012 Reply

People, it’s about the wagon, the experience, the different world!!! Amazing!

GLENN - September 3, 2012 Reply

WOW 1945 had 2 summers how did they do that ….can they do it again … please…..

chase - September 8, 2012 Reply

That’s pretty cool looking and it seems in great shape still.

I’ve been pondering the idea of building one after seeing a similiar designed truck on a show about New Zealand. Can’t remember the name of the show but the Host – caught a ride in this truck home with a curved roof like the shepard wagon above and it had a like trailer being pulled behind it.

The owners lived and traveled in it… it was real sweet looking…

I’ve been pondering the thought of making a wagon style to pull behind various green vehicles.

I enjoyed the inside look at this one…

thanx for sharing I enjoyed the read and views.

– chase –

Br. Anthony - September 8, 2012 Reply

I love this and could live in this wagon very easy and tend my goats.
Br Anthony, IC XC NIKA

M. - September 8, 2012 Reply

Would love to see a picture of the now famous Lorna. Is she very reclusive, or prefer anonymity?
Cool that you got to know her somewhat. The people who do interesting things like this are fun to meet and/or learn about. Oh, and nice digs!

    Christina Nellemann - September 10, 2012 Reply

    Lorna was reluctant to have her own photo taken, however she looks excellent for her age and has wonderful red hair. Rolfing and massage work seems to do wonders.

Lynda - September 8, 2012 Reply

Who said she was 3? And YES she could have done it as a 13 year old…my grandmother cooked for a mining crew in Oregon when she was only 12. Hauled water, chopped wood and cooked on two woodstoves…lived in a canvas tent…by herself!

Carolyn B - September 8, 2012 Reply

Loved the pictures of the interior. Very homey.

Shell - September 8, 2012 Reply

Cute place and a great story. Thanks for sharing. : )

Donna McFarland - September 8, 2012 Reply

She certainly lived the road less traveled..fiercely independant and fulla can do spirit. Sadly, so absent today. I’d love to meet her!

Marlynne J. Snare - September 8, 2012 Reply

Thanks for share your sheep wagon story and wagon. So neat to have it fixed up to use in this special way!

Valerie Hart - September 8, 2012 Reply

I love this trailer. So cute!!! I didn’t read anywhere Lorna’s age. It was such a great story and wonderful pictures.I will have to try and find it when I am in that area. Two summers starting in 1945. Thanks for posting this article!

Deb - September 8, 2012 Reply

I don’t see anything about her age. But if she is 82 now , she would have been 15 then. I know what my grandmother had to do when she was 15, I know what I had to do when I was 15. So it is absolutely possible. We are not all city folks. BESIDES this is about the trailer, not figuring dates. And it is Adorable. Thank you for the pictures.

Liz - September 9, 2012 Reply

Fascinating to see. I’ve seen lots of pictures of English Shepherd’s Huts but they’d all been “fancified up”. Still gorgeous but not really indicative of their original working lives. Lorna’s Hut looks like she may have made flapjacks (or oatmeal!) in it that morning before heading out to work. Am bemused by the canvas outside as the English ones are usually wooden but that’s probably reflective of the different weathers in Wyoming / Nevada and rainy Britain! Oh, and I didn’t see a reference to her being 3 either. C’mon folks,do the math. She could easily have been an 18 year old in 1945 and be a happy, healthy 85 now.

Stephen - September 12, 2012 Reply

AWESOME bit of history,as well as current updates,on a cool old wagon 😀

Br. Curt - September 12, 2012 Reply

What a wonderful retreat. I’ll be you felt very content when you were living in it. Probably the best part of the job. I’ll bet the stove really warms up the place, huh?

Some of the old ways are still the best ways.

George - September 17, 2012 Reply

Love the wagon! I just came in from a short 9 night out with my highway version. I keep gaining a great respect for the minimalism and need for consistent organization.

Yet Another Sheepherder | Paleotool's Weblog - September 17, 2012 Reply

[…] Have a look at Lorna’s old wagon here. […]

nevada Joe - June 19, 2017 Reply

I`m the new owner of “loran`s” 1928 (28w) sheep wagon!this ole gal(wagon) is now on it`s new permanent home in “black springs nv.” our family love`s her and we plan doing a little “restoration” not to much, just woods and things that need attention! a awesome piece of American history… happy trails…..

    Meghan - July 25, 2017 Reply

    Nevada Joe, are you the new owner of the wagon pictured here, or is yours a completely different wagon? I’d love clarification, and if the latter, I’d love to see some photos of your sheepcamp! Mine is in Montana where I am beginning to work on tightening up the old gal for winter…. Meghan

    Meghan - July 31, 2017 Reply

    @nevada Joe, are you the new owner of the wagon pictured here, or is yours a completely different wagon? I’d love clarification, and if the latter, I’d love to see some photos of your sheepcamp! Mine is in Montana where I am beginning to work on tightening up the old gal for winter…. Meghan

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