History Hero: Luke Messenger

We first met Luke Messenger on a wagon train organized in the Mt. Lassen area of Northern California in 2018. He brought along a classic 19th century chuck wagon. With the authentic (probably original) wooden wheels, the whole thing felt and looked right out of the old days of the immigrants moving west on the covered wagons. He had his four Percheron draft horses doing the pull.

Born in Southern California, he settled in the Chico area — and runs his own construction company. Luke is a stickler for details and builds custom homes, remodels and large buildings. And when you are around  him, you see he is constantly obsessed with making things work. But it’s on his weekends when he really comes alive as a draft horse and mule teamster.

He is one of the younger generation of people keeping the old ways alive — pulling farm wagons, farm equipment, an old fire engine from 1900, and old freight wagons. We have watched him on farm fields, at Mule Days in Bishop, California, and Pioneer Day in Paso Robles, California. And we followed him as he organized a big hitch — 24 mules and horses pulling heavy gear to disc a field for hay. You will see him in several of our historic old videos — and to watch him is to watch our past — and understand what things were really like back in the day and for the old timers, it must have been a constant challenge.



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“History Heroes” are profiles of people young and old we meet along the way sharing their love of the past.

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