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(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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James Dean Avery, a Shelburne, Massachusetts, farmer known for his ability to raise and exhibit enormous oxen, owned this yoke. In the earliest years of New England, oxen were the most efficient power behind the plow, and they remained popular into the mid-19th century in most parts of the region. In the rocky landscape of the Green, White and Berkshire Mountains, oxen continued to be used into the late 19th century because of their sure-footed ability to manage the terrain. In most parts of New England, however, oxen were increasingly replaced by horses that moved faster and could be ridden. Oxen remained valuable, however, in clearing land by pulling stumps and hauling logs.
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