This ox yoke was used by Albert Nelson on his homestead in Barsness Township in the 1860s.
When Albert first arrived in Pope County, St. Cloud was the closest market to sell his produce and purchase supplies. He walked or used his oxen, Jim and Charley, to haul his produce the 70 miles to St. Cloud.
The ox yoke is used to harness the strength of the oxen. The beam was carved and rounded to fit the animals’ necks with rounded bows that passed under the necks of the oxen. The oxen pushed the beam with the top of their necks and the bows with their upper shoulders.
Oxen travel about 2 miles per hour and only about 15 miles a day with frequent rest breaks. A person can walk 3-4 miles an hour and walk farther each day than an ox. Albert sometimes walked to St. Cloud with out oxen and carried the supplies on his back for a faster trip.
The ox yoke is part of our new Agriculture Exhibit in “The Shed” at the Pope County Museum. Stop in and check it out!