The First Engines: Oxen, Mules, and Horses Historical

The First Engines: Oxen, Mules, and Horses Historical (HM1W7Q)

Location: Big Piney, WY 83113 Sublette County
Country: United States of America

N 42° 36.936', W 109° 51.054'

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Five Times More Animals

Livestock outnumbered emigrants five to one on the Lander Trail. A typical emigrant wagon needed four mules or 4-6 oxen to pull a wagon with up to 2,000 pounds of supplies. Emigrants also brought riding horses, milk cows, beef cattle, and even sheep. Sounds and smells from livestock were a part of camp life. The escape or death of draft animals could lead to disaster.

Oxen vs. Mules and Horses

Most emigrants chose oxen (castrated cattle) to pull their wagons. In an emergency emigrants used almost any cattle, including milk cows, to pull wagons. Oxen were slower, but cheaper ($25), fed on grass, and recovered faster. Horses and mules were faster, but cost more ($100), needed better food, and struggled to pull heavy loads on sandy and muddy trails.

Caring For Livestock

Emigrants has to take good care of their animals. At each camp they took their livestock to feed on grass and then had to guard them night long. Thirsty animals has to be prevented from drinking deadly alkali water. Sore feet could quickly disable an animal. Many shod their livestock, or used sole leather or tar it the animal's feet became sore.

About 2 this PM, One of our oxen expired, probably from the effects of Alkali. Poor fellow, I could almost weep at his loss, he has been a faithful ox and done his duty to the last. - Hamet Case, Piney Canyon, Wyoming, July 24, 1859

Laying by to day (sic) shoeing cattle, we have a blacksmith along in the company who has a small anvil and some of them have a small bellows. So we went to work and put up a forge, burnt coal. Built a frame to shoe the oxen in and iron can be had by picking it up anywhere, so we made our oxen shoes and nails and are shoeing the cattle. - James Brown, New Fork River, July 30, 1859
HM NumberHM1W7Q
Placed BySublette County Historical Society
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Saturday, December 10th, 2016 at 1:02pm PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)12T E 594243 N 4718769
Decimal Degrees42.61560000, -109.85090000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 42° 36.936', W 109° 51.054'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds42° 36' 56.16" N, 109° 51' 3.24" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)307
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling North
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 1398 Paradise Rd, Big Piney WY 83113, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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