Horseshoers

Horseshoer seems like a little bit of an exotic profession today, but in the 19th century--in fact until the 1920's--a motorized truck could not haul as much weight as a draft horse and wagon. While intercity freight was transported by the most modern technology available--steam and electric railroads--local freight cartage was carried in the same way it had been for centuries--by "teamsters" who drove a team of horses.

Horseshoeing was vital and indispensable to horse-drawn transportation. Horses that are used for work on hard surfaces require horseshoes to preserve the hoof. Wild horses did not have needed a harder hoof since they spent most of their time feeding and roaming grassy, soft areas. Their hooves wore down at the correct rate for their needs. Once horses were domesticated, they spent more time on roads and city streets. Hooves now wore down too quickly, and were damaged. A metal horseshoe, uniquely fitted to the animal, gives the horse stability and protection from these new elements that nature did not design their hooves for.

Horseshoeing was closely allied with blacksmithing, or working with and shaping iron, and once the work horse had passed from the scene, many horseshoers, like Abraham Knoble, turned to full time blacksmithing at 1741 W 7th St., long since torn down.

William Latchford, Local 28's "Sergeant-at-Arms," was employed by Engine Company No. 8 of the St Paul Fire Department. Lest it be forgotten, the Department's motive power was, of course, provided by horses for all of the 19th century.

"Leather Workers on Horse Goods"

The 19th century labor unions were broadly representative of these circumstances. Not only were the horseshoers engaged in maintaining the free flow of horse-powered commerce, the members of St Paul's Leather Workers on Horse Goods Local Union 19 manufactured a myriad of leather implements essential to keeping the nags moving--harnesses, reins, collars and, yes, horsewhips.

While no one ethnic group predominated in this industry, there is a strong indication that Germans played a large part--the union's official monthly publication,The Leather Workers' Journal, had a regular feature re-printing news from the German language and Berlin-based Sattler-Zeitung, the organ of the Sattler Verbande, or Saddle Makers Union.

One of the Bohemian West End workers enrolled in the St Paul union local was Frank J Jelinek, the Secretary-Treasurer, and an employee of the Scheffer-Rossum Company, who lived at 301 Goodhue St, just a short walk to the CSPS Hall. Brother Jelinek reported in the August, 1906 issue of the union's Journal that a spirited baseball tournament, involving teams from Scheffer and Rossum, and the PRL Hardenbergh Company, among others. The contests took place at Schmidt's Park and the winning team was awarded a barrel of the brewery's best beer.

Images

Abraham Knoble Residence

Abraham Knoble Residence

A member of the Saint Paul Horseshoers Union Local 28. Knoble was born in Germany in 1857 and was serving as Vice President of Local 28 in 1896. Eventually he became a self-employed blacksmith and had his shop at 1741 W. 7th, long since removed. Photo by: Dave Riehle View File Details Page

William Latchford

William Latchford

"Sergeant-at-Arms" of the Saint Paul Horseshoers Union Local 28. He was employed by Engine Company No. 8 of the Saint Paul Fire Department. Date: 1896 Image courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society View File Details Page

Scheffer & Rossum Company

Scheffer & Rossum Company

The Saint Paul Winter Carnival parade marching unit. Date: Approximately 1917 Image courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society View File Details Page

William J. Horrigan's horseshower shop

William J. Horrigan's horseshower shop

- 439 Wacouta - Horrigan was the Recording Secretary of the Saint Paul Horshoers Union Local 28 in 1896. Horrigan is likely pictured to the right. Date: Approximately 1915 Image courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society View File Details Page

Saint Paul Horseshoers Union Local 28

Saint Paul Horseshoers Union Local 28

Pictured top row from left to right: O. Beurman - "Financial Secretary," William Latchford - "Sergeant-at-Arms," William J. Horrigan - "Recording Secretary" Pictured bottom row from left to right: J. H. Cuthill - "Treasurer," O. F. Oleson - "President," and Abraham Knoble - "Vice President." Image Source: Saint Paul daily globe. (Saint Paul, Minn), 10 May, 1896, Page 20. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Library of Congress. View File Details Page

"Feast of Enjoyment"

"Feast of Enjoyment"

An article about the Leather Workers' ball. Date: February 8, 1907 Image Source: Minnesota Union Advocate View File Details Page

United Brotherhood of Leather Workers on Horse Goods

United Brotherhood of Leather Workers on Horse Goods

Local Union 19, Saint Paul Date: Approximately 1894 Image courtesy of Minnesota Historical Society View File Details Page

Scheffer and Rossum

Scheffer and Rossum

Downtown, Saint Paul Date: 1910 Image credit: Dave Riehle, private collection View File Details Page

The Leather Workers' Journal

The Leather Workers' Journal

Official publication international, United Brotherhood of Leather Workers on Horse Goods. Date: September, 1906 Image courtesy of the Wisconsin Historical Society View File Details Page

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