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A Dream in a Covered Wagon

Saturday, a man noticed something unusual on Highway 20. What the man and his friends learned left them mesmerized. In her own words, one of the friends recounts the day.

While on a Saturday morning drive to deposit his recyclables, Charlie Maxwell of Canton came up on a man in a covered wagon on Highway 20.

Charlie went home to tell his wife what he had seen. Filled with excitement, Betty Maxwell jumped in the car with her husband and headed back to Highway 20 to see the interesting gentleman and his wagon.

The couple helped the stranger navigate across Knox Bridge over Lake Allatoona. Betty talked with the man, then invited him to her home for a hot shower and a hot meal—homemade spaghetti dinner with all the fixings.

Betty and Charlie opened their home up to several dear friends who would be immensely interested in the man's travels. The room stirred with questions. James Newton of Corpus Christi, TX, was more than enthusiastic to answer them.

He started out on his adventure in February 2009. He said it took him nine months just to get through Texas.

He travels with Buster Brown, his adorable dachshund miniature, and Friday, his amazing draft horse. He carries the bare essentials and covers no more than 15 to 25 miles a day.

James said that his trusty horse will turn back and give him a look. He knows exactly what she is saying: It's time to end the day. James looks for grassy areas first so Friday can graze all night.

He has slept under the stars and visited historical sites that some of us only get to read about.

People have opened up their homes to him. Stores have let him rest overnight. Restaurants have given him warm meals on the house. He never expects anything from anyone, but has been blessed by humanity's kindness. He has received plaques. One restaurant hung up his picture. And mayors of towns have held huge cookouts in his honor.

James had us all mesmerized with the tales of his journey across the country and the outpouring of kindness from every state he passed through. Some brought tears to our eyes.

After Texas, he went through Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina and South Carolina. Georgia was James' ninth stop. James next stop will be Alabama, where he has some land. He wants to build a small cabin there for himself, Buster Brown and Friday.

"I am just taking it nice and slow," James said. "Want to see as much as possible living the dream."

More on this story

Betty Maxwell August 16, 2011 at 05:14 PM
I would like to add to Della Morrisons wonderful story of the wagon journeyof James Newton. He told me that hewill often say a prayer when he knows he is in need of something, help crossing a bridge, food/water for his horse and other day to day neccesaties. He can blow you away with his stories on just how this daily prayer has got him through this journey. I am a member Cherokee County Saddle Club another member Marianne Torchi and I made several calls to Bartow County Saddle Club members and they arranged to have James put up at several horse farms along his way through their county. You can read about what happen after he left Cherokee County in the Bartow Daily Tribune. What a memorable weekend we all have had! Thanks, James, Buster Brown and Friday! Betty Maxwell
Robert lovett August 16, 2011 at 08:50 PM
I saw him Woodbury ga in June 2011 Robert Lovett Email robertlovett@bellsouth.net
Beverly Lawson August 16, 2011 at 09:14 PM
Thanks for publishing this interesting story. I heard about James Newton from my sister-in-law who lives in Dahlonega, GA. He had come through Dahlonega and was on Hwy.20 last Thursday when she was on her way to Marietta. She called me and being a very curious photographer, I jumped in my truck and headed down Hwy. 20 to find him and take pictures of him and his wagon. I called out to Friday, and Mr. Newon pulled over and talked to me about 10 minutes, while Friday grazed on some grass. What a delightful man! He had stayed the night before at the Feed and Seed store on Hwy 369, a couple of miles from where we live. My husband and I would have brought him home with us had we known he was there, and let him take a hot shower. Bless you for taking care of him. Sometimes we entertain angels unaware. God bless Mr. James Newton on his journey, and please provide for his every need.!! Beverly Lawson

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