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Strapped

Butterfield Trail

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I went out metal detecting on the Butterfield Overland Trail near the Mormon Battalion Camp in Arizona. Found this old tool right on the trail about 6 inches below the surface. Anybody have an idea of what this may have been used for? The one end is hammered flat with a little slit cut in the middle.

 

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Could have been used for pulling most anything nailed or stapled in.  The slit is like a claw hammer and is beveled also but what puzzles me is that the ends are not flat enough to slip under tight spaces.  Maybe a homemade tool for picking Cholla out of ones butt.  :brows: 

Old Tom

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darn OT...You might be right. That little notch would be perfect for grabbing cactus quills out of humans and animals. I think the Americans started using the the trail in the 1840s but the Spanish/Mexicans/Indians may have used this route even earlier.

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Darn, this thing has got me puzzled,  You can tell it's not a piece of scrap and had a use at one time.  If cleaned it might give another clue?  

The center part looks like it is hammered square and might have ridden in a slot to keep from twisting when pressed down by the bent part.  It might have come off of a musical instrument that lifted a valve when pressed by one's finger, like a Sax, or Clarinet.  :89: 

   Old Tom

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It looks like if you had another one they would make a handle for a bucket.

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This was the only piece my detector picked up. Near where I found this there was an old and really worn broken horse shoe on the surface. I wonder if a farrier would have used it to clean up a hoof?

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Strapped, I think a little too sharp to be poking in soft tissue on horses hooves.  The furriers knife doesn't have a point and only cuts pulling sideways, can't puncture.  

Don't hang that horse shoe up the good luck it brings will leak out that crack.  :25r30wi:

   Old Tom

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That is a mule shoe. A mule used for riding probably rather than driving depending on it's size, I have no reference for scale but doesn't look draft size and it's flat and no cleats, clips or caulks.

Edited by Edge

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I had read that the Butterfield Company used mules to pull their coaches. When the Mormon Battalion marched through there in the 1840s they too used mules for their supplies.

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18 hours ago, Edge said:

That is a mule shoe. A mule used for riding probably rather than driving depending on it's size, I have no reference for scale but doesn't look draft size and it's flat and no cleats, clips or caulks.

Yeah, I'd say a mule shoe Edge.  I've worked horses hooves but never a mule but I know that they are longer and more pointed than most horses.  He was very well balanced on that foot but looks like he was dragging it a little as the toe is worn more than the rest of the shoe.  Maybe that's why he lost it, got caught on a rock or something.  :knight-horse: 

Old Tom

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The wire looks familiar and is bugging me. I believe it's a clip and not a tool, perhaps to hold a lens or cap in place. I also think it's more recent item than to be from the mid19th century.

I just have trouble thinking a thin piece of iron wire would not have melted away over 160 years unless it was under cover from the weather.

 

My grandparents lived on a Butterfield stage stop at Cow Springs, NM. It was the next stop west of the Hatch River stop.

I've done as much research as I could years ago on the subject and though I'm no expert, never heard of mules being used on the stage runs. And runs they were, the mail was given only 25 days to travel the 2800 miles from St Louis to San Francisco.

From memory I believe teams of six draft horses were used and were run the entire distance from stop to stop where fresh horses were hitched up and the previous team given a day off. 

These days I drive horses and mules for recreation and can't imagine running the mules more than a short distance.

Mules just aren't built for running, they have straighter shoulders and walk on a shorter appendix than do horses.

Mules along the route pulled freight wagons to supply the stops with everything from hay to hash browns. One of these may have lost that shoe?

Working the animals every other day also fits and keeps them in good shape without breaking them down.

https://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=25444

 

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4 hours ago, Edge said:

The wire looks familiar and is bugging me. I believe it's a clip and not a tool, perhaps to hold a lens or cap in place. I also think it's more recent item than to be from the mid19th century.

Boy that is a good deduction Edge, looks perfect for the job.  I've seen lots of clips like that pivoting on a flat spot with a pin in it.  

   Old Tom

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I found several references that indicate that between Los Angeles and and Fort Smith, Arkansas they used Celebrity wagons  instead of the Concord Stage coaches. Through the same area the used wild mustangs and mules to pull the wagons.

https://butterfieldoverlandstage.com/2015/06/23/the-first-running-of-the-stage/

Found a bunch of old nails too...

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