Features: 8 & Views: 522 as of 10-28-12 See original photo below
This is dedicated to those who keep the memory of the old West alive.
Mule Skinners and Freight Wagons
In American History
The mule skinner was a professional individual sometimes called a teamster whose sole purpose was to keep his wagon pulled by mules, under control and moving. The mule skinner actually rode one of the mules and guided the entire team with a single rein which was called a jerk line. An experienced mule skinner knew the personality of every one of his mules and could make them into a magical running machine whereas an inexperienced teamster found them to be obstinate and stubborn
Speed was of essential importance out in the west and the mules could pull wagons at 2 miles per hour. A team of oxen usually pulled at about 2 1/2 miles per hour. General stores would specify mule teams to carry their freight of food and other perishable items. The draw back to mules were that their grain had to be hauled with them, the Indians would steal mules to ride them and mule meat tasted terrible according to the teamsters
During the 1800’s the mule was in constant demand for civilian and military freighting. Not only were the mules better foragers, they kept better footing in treacherous terrain then the horses. A pair of mules could cost anywhere from two to four hundred dollars during this time period. Of all the mules, the ones from Missouri were the most prized and the reputation continues even today
Mules were also used to pull the stagecoaches on the western end of the stage run, but the men were still referred to as stagecoach drivers
The most famous mule teams were the Death Valley twenty mule teams that hauled borax across the desert to the railroad. Each team actually had 18 mules and 2 horses as the wheelers.
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Permission to use given by Joanne Salazar: This digital painting was created from a photograph shot by Joanne Salazar from the Anza Days 4th of July Parade 2011, Anza, California, USA. Edited with her permission. In the photo is her husband (on the horse), Michael Lewis & Terri Ellison.
Info on the coach: 75 year old guy there in Anza spent 8 years building this coach in his back yard and Mike Lewis had the privilege of pulling it for the first time in 2011.
Technicals: PSCS2, DAP, Fractalius, Wacom tablet. Sold 3 prints to Michael Lewis.
As of 10-28-12