Mule Days on April, 2023: What did slave owners own mules for and how much were they back in those days?
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Mule Days 2023. Mule Day, an annual celebration of all things related to mules, is held in Columbia, Tennessee, the self-proclaimed "Mule Capital" of the world.
Mule Day, an annual celebration of all things related to mules, is held in Columbia, Tennessee, the self-proclaimed "Mule Capital" of the world.
Mules are the result of breeding a male donkey (aka "jack") with a female horse (aka "mare"). As a result, the mule has the sure-footedness and endurance of a donkey combined with the strength and vigor of a horse. Mules are a little slower than horses, but can do more work over the course of a day than a horse (horses can pull heavier loads, but don't have the endurance of a mule). A mule is also more sure-footed than a horse, allowing it do work better over rough ground, such as plowed ground. Mules are also able to endure the heat better than horses, less prone to disease and can live on poorer fodder than horses. The mule's surefooted trait gained from its donkey father makes it better suited to plowing as a mule is less likely to step on crops than a horse. Mules also show more patience under heavy weights than horses and, due their harder, less sensitive skin, can be in their harnesses longer. Mules though do not reach full maturity until they are five years old.
Mules were used in agriculture to pull plows and other instruments and to pull freight wagons. Before gasoline- and diesel-powered engines, mules were the tractors of their day. A farmer could plow about 16 acres of land each day using a team of mules.
Most mules were sold at auction and the price varied according to the size of the mule. Average-size mules -- 15-to-17 hands, or 60-to-68 inches from the hooves to the withers, which is a ridge between the shoulder blades of the mule -- went from anywhere from about $85 to $100 each. Matched pairs of mules -- and "matched" referred to one of two things, either both mules were the same size or they pulled at the same pace -- were more valuable as a pair then they were individually. Large, prize mules could go for several hundred dollars.
In addition to purchasing mules, mule breeders offered their jacks (male donkeys) for breeding with a farmer's mare. The price was $10 to $20, with the larger jacks, and a large jack could be up to 16 hands (64 inches) tall, going for higher prices (the larger the jack, the larger the mare, the larger the produced mule and larger mules meant more work could be done).
So if you are advertising mules, you want to advertise the number of mules in a lot and their general-size (e.g. "16 mules for sale in a single lot, most 15-hand, but some approaching 16-hands."). If you have a large mule (18-hand mule, for instance), you want to note that. If you are trying to sell a matched pair, note that the pair is matched.
As for what else would be purchased -- remember the South primarily produced cotton and imported everything else including food. So you would have imported finished goods (combs, dressers, beds, etc. from England, France and Northern factories -- goods produced in England and France were considered better, but were more expensive than Northern goods due to protective tariffs), cattle, hogs, etc. Below are several actual ads, including one for mules...
Has anyone ever even heard of Mule Days or Bishop, CA?
been to bishop but not heard of mule days
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