Kinsearching January 3, 2010




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     The beginning of a new year is a good time to make plans for the future as well as wonder what transformations in such areas as technology lie ahead. It is also an opportunity to remember our ancestors and ponder all the changes that occurred in their lifetimes. In the realm of transportation, for example, most people in the twenty-first century regularly use automobiles, subways, or airplanes to travel both near and far. During the 1800s, the common form of transportation for the majority of the American population was the horse, either for riding or for pulling a buggy or wagon.

     We resume with selected data regarding domestic animals found in the publication by the U. S. Congress, {House of Representatives} REPORT OF THE COMMISSIONER OF PATENTS FOR THE YEAR 1853. AGRICULTURE (Washington: A. O. P. Nicholson, Printer, 1854). In addition to noticing how costs have grown over the years, you can compare the nineteenth-century writing style to the "tweeting" frequently used for communication today. Even if you are not interested in the various breeds of animals in use at the time, maybe you will find your ancestor's name on the list of men submitting reports. (Surnames are in all-caps for emphasize.) Like the material in Kinsearching dated 27 September 2009, the following information from condensed correspondence pertains to "horses, asses, and mules."

     Page 33 - D. C. GARTH, Huntsville, Randolph Co., MO, KY, writes: "The cost of rearing mules here until they are three years old is about $25, and their value at that age is, on an average, about $85. The average price of mule-colts has been gradually increasing for the last four or five years. At present they are worth about $50 each."

     Armstrong O'HARA, Saint Francois Co., Mo, states: "There are few, if any, blooded or foreign horses with us. Those we have are generally from the great Mississippi valley. The cost of raising is $45 at four years old. Fair draught-horses will command from $75 to $100. Cost of transportation by steamboat to the Southern markets $10, the owner to furnish the feed. Mules cost about the same for raising as horses, except that they are fit for market at three years old, and meet with a more ready sale."

     Thomas SHOURDS, Lower Alloway's Creek, Salem Co., NJ, reports: "Our present breeds of horses are crosses of the Messenger, Windflower, and perhaps some others, upon our old stock. The Norman breed is also beginning to be introduced into this vicinity." Prices for raising and selling horses were comparable to those furnished by O'HARA. "Horses and mules are raised in this county to a considerable extent, but not in sufficient numbers for our own use, particularly the latter."

     Gershom WIBORN, Victor, Ontario Co., NY, remarks: "The horses raised here are almost as various in breed as they are in color. We have crosses of the heavy English draught-horse and the light English courser; the heavy-necked French horse and the wild Indian pony. For heavy labor, the crosses of the English draught-horse are preferred, while for the road, lighter horses are found to be the best." Based on "the present prices of hay and pasturing," his costs for raising a colt are compatible with that of GARTH.

     Interestingly, two statements on page 34 are in contrast to the above statements. For example, Joshua HARRIS of Welche's Mills, Cabarras (sic) Co., NC, relates: "Little attention is paid here to the raising of stock of any kind. Horses and mules are brought in by drovers from Kentucky and Tennessee, and command high prices. Good horses sell for from $100 to $125; mules from $100 to $150 each."

     Along the same line, Santarrilli S. G. FRANKLIN of Cuba, Clinton Co., OH, says: "Horses are not generally raised here for market, except a few fine ones, good draught animals for the farm being the main object."

(To be continued)

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