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April 2003


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Harold Miller <[log in to unmask]>
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Harold Miller <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 29 Apr 2003 16:18:07 -0700
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I am researching the history of blacksmithing in the Town of Berne, a rural
town in western Albany County. I have been told that in the 19th-Century
blacksmithing was seldom combined with farrier work (horse shoeing). Farmers
who came into town to buy supplies or bring wheat to the mill, would stay at
a hotel overnight, board their wagons and horses, and have them shod at a
Farrier located next to the hotel. Another thing is that farriers were often
the local veterinarian.

The 1865 State Census for Berne lists:

15 Blacksmiths
9 Shoe Makers / Shoemakers
4 Wagon Makers
3 Harness Makers
7 Hotel Keepers

There are no Farriers listed on the census and no Cobblers. The census and
maps confirm that in the hamlets that had hotels, there was generally
blacksmith shops and Shoe Makers located very nearby. The question is: Are
the Shoe Makers more likely to have been Farriers or Cobblers?

Here is some information from the Old Sturbridge Village website. "By the
mid-1830s, the New England shoe industry was ranked with textile
manufacturing, taking second place only to farming. In Massachusetts 23,000
men and 15,000 women were employed. In 1837, close to 3 million pairs of
men's boots and shoes were produced in the central part of the state alone."

In 1864, the Fincher's Trade Reviews reported that "The little shoemaker's
shop and bench are passing rapidly away, soon to be no more among us." -
From an article about the effect of factories.

I'm inclined to think that the Shoe Makers in Berne in 1865 were Farriers,
but before I go with that, I would appreciate the input from someone more


Harold Miller
Berne Historical Project www.bernehistory.org
"Berne Heritage Days 2003 to be held July 18, 19, and 20."