Wagon Travels Through Tyler County
On a late Monday afternoon in Tyler County, an unfamiliar site can be since in a field along Route 180, a Conestoga wagon, three large draft horses and Lee Crafton also known as “Lee the Horselogger.”
On this particular day Crafton is rather quiet, having had some medical issues that required a six-day stay at Wetzel County Hospital.
Crafton does not seem too concerned about his own health, but rather his draft horses. The reason he is currently camped out in a random field is so he can get his three horses – Dink, Fey, and Alice – checked out by Dr. Shaun Meckley, who is located just down the road.
When asked where his destination is, Lee simply states, “Right here.”
In 2006 Lee set out on his journey, leaving behind his home in Montana. He says the family ranch had been sold after he worked on it for 20 years. Lee left, with no money and “just the horses.”
This is not Crafton’s first visit to the area. In a previous interview with the Weirton Daily Times, Lee said when the economy crashed in Montana, he realized he had to go elsewhere to log.
“I used to log in Montana. Half of my gross would go to pay for transportation and equipment, and by the time I was done, I was making sub-minimum wage for working the most dangerous occupation in the United States,” he said.
“Well, I did the math and figured it all out,” he added. “I like driving the horses, and I know how to drive horses and I know how to keep them sound, and I know how to go cross country. Everything else will work out. It does. You just have to have the faith that things will work out.
The sign on the back of Crafton’s wagon features a map of the United States, marked to show the places he has travelled. Lee says Minnesota has the nicest folks, yet West Virginia also has “pockets of amazing people.”
The presence of those amazing people can be exemplified by the way Lee finds help just when he needs it.
During his interview Monday, Crafton’s horses were quietly munching on some hay that had been laid out for them, not at all minding the small group of people that had surrounded their commander. When asked if he needs anything, Lee doesn’t ask for much, just simply stating, “I can always use food.”
Despite the multi-day hospital stay, and the fact he is currently monitoring his blood pressure, Lee is focused on continuing his journey onward. When first asked what his purpose of traveling by wagon is, he simply states: “I’ve got places to go and people to see. Life is too short.”