Adam was searching on location at an local old homestead this week, and no, he is not going to tell you exactly where it is:) He found an 1805 George 3 Irish Hibernia Penny. It’s not worth that much but, he also found spoons, buttons and an oxen shoe.
Adam gave the oxen shoe to his father Beckwith Councillor Brian Dowdall because Brian is interested in them. Did you know after 1860 settlers stopped using oxen in Beckwith Township?
Oxen became the choice of a majority of the emigrants. Almost without exception, their guide books given to them recommended oxen. They were a little slower, traveling only 15 miles per day on average.
However, oxen were dependable, less likely to run off, less likely to be stolen by the Indians, better able to withstand the fatigue of the journey and were more likely to survive on available vegetation. If they strayed they could be pursued and overtaken by horsemen. Not only were they the least expensive to purchase but they were more valuable on arrival, especially to farmers. In 1846 a yoke of oxen cost around $25. During the gold rush years prices peaked at around $40-$60 in the late spring.
And one final issue that entered into the decision was the difference in time to harness oxen as compared to a horse or mule. Suze Hammond, while reading “March of the Mounted Riflemen to Oregon in 1849” by Major Osbourne Cross noticed reference to this point and brought it to my attention. As one who has had to harness horse teams, Suze made this observation –
“An ox requires the hoop under the yoke be slid up, the yoke attached to the wagon tongue and a lead string put through its nose ring, and that’s about it! (The second ox is a little harder to hook up because you have to get the first one to stand still too, as they are to be solidly attached to one another.) The equine has a cinch under its belly, a bridle with a bit, traces to attach to the singletrees, lines to arrange so they will not tangle, a cross-lines arrangement so that the teamster ends up with only one set of lines and not one for each animal, a horsecollar closed, and all straps lying flat so as not to abrade its skin over the day’s pull. The amount of time difference would be significant when preparing to leave each morning.” —Stephenie Flora