“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Easton in Northampton County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Mules and Men

1831 - 1932

Mules and Men Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), October 3, 2020
1. Mules and Men Marker
"You didn't dare to be mean to your animals on the Delaware. Boy, they'd arrest you right away. I chewed tobacco a little and if I left the pack sticking out of my back pocket, when I went by mule he would pull it out of my pocket. I often gave him some. It was good for them."
Joe Reed

Mule Power
Mules provided the power to move boats along the Delaware Canal. The mule is the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse. Compared to a horse, the surefooted mule ate less, had stronger endurance and better health. It was natural for a team to pull twenty-five miles or more under their hooves each day.

Outfitting A Mule
Equipment included a harness, fly net, bells, hat and feed bag. Canallers owned their mules and harness, often bought from the coal company's stables and equipment stores.

A Mule's Day
The working day for the mules began with grooming, light feeding and harness fitting. Some mule drivers fed their team the first meal after working an hour, claiming the animals stayed healthier
Mules and Men Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), October 3, 2020
2. Mules and Men Marker
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that way. When the tow line went slack it was time to feed the mules. The driver hung a feed bag around each animal's neck allowing it to eat while working.

Mules had an unusual form of relaxation. According to one boatman, Howard Swope, if the mules seemed tired during the day, the driver "…would let them have a roll or two in a nearby field and then continue on for several more hours as the mules would then be as fresh as if they had a nap."

The drivers, quite attached to their teams during the long hours together, fondly bragged about the mules' intelligence and instinct. A well trained team traveled the towpath unattended for miles, allowing the driver to rest on the boat.
Erected by Friends of the Delaware Canal and the DCNR.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AnimalsWaterways & Vessels.
Location. 40° 39.783′ N, 75° 14.37′ W. Marker is in Easton, Pennsylvania, in Northampton County. Marker can be reached from Hugh Moore Park Road, half a mile south of Hill Road, on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Easton PA 18042, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Easton & Nearby Heritage Attractions (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Making Tracks (about 300 feet away);
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Anthracite Tidewater Canals (about 300 feet away); From Waterways to Highways (about 300 feet away); Exploring The Corridor (about 300 feet away); Lehigh Valley Railroads (about 300 feet away); From Mountain to Market (about 300 feet away); The Canaler's Life (about 300 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Easton.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 8, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 6, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 59 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 6, 2020, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Apr. 2, 2023