The Push and The Pull
Roads were a challenge to navigate when deep snow piled up during winter months in rural settlement communities. Sleigh runners were designed to glide easily over packed snow trails, but a heavy snowfall could make it too difficult for horses to wade through while pulling the sleigh. As communities grew, wooden snowploughs were built and several sturdy teams of horses were used to pull and push them to clear the roadways. The early snowploughs were usually pulled by two teams with a third team hitched to a push pole on the back of the plough. It would have been a long and labourious job with the horses needing to be rested or replaced after working for hours to break through the deep snow. As many as five teams would be used to pull the snowploughs after a really large snowfall. Lanark Township had four horse-drawn snow ploughs in use in the mid 40's to mid 50's. The Middleville and District Museum has a snowplough restored by Tony Walsh of Watson's Corners, similar to the one pictured here, as part of its outdoor display. Just another reason to appreciate the enormous role horses played in early rural communities.
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This journal is written, researched, and maintained by the volunteers of the Middleville Museum.