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On The Mudline

The Old Shed

Down on the south side of Mississippi 6-US 278 there is the remnant of what once was my main storage shed.  Because of its out of the way and in an unhandy location it has been used for permanent storage items for many years. My son Shipp, and his son Parker, spent the  Fourth of July reclaiming the contents of the old shed.

Time has not been kind to the shed and most of the items found there have suffered, although others are in reasonably good condition.  Parker found many items unknown to him. Most of these go back to the “mule power day.”   

A Trace Chain Granddaddy?

One of the first things Parker brought to me was a full length “trace chain” with a  logger head hooked onto the chain end (as opposed to the ring end). Mr. Webster says that the word trace chain comes from Latin and French words which mean hauling strap.  I just told him that it was one of the two chains with which a mule was hooked to a single-tree.      

Of course his next question was, “What’s that  logger head for?”      

“That hooks the other end of the trace chain to the hame,”(I’ll let you look that one up) I replied, as I hooked the logger head into a hame  with the trace chain attached.  Then I pointed out a single-tree  to which the ring end of the chain would be attached.   

The traces could be shortened to fit the length of your mule. The draft could be adjusted using the length of traces and the back band  (strap at center of animals back [lengthwise]) to which the traces were hooked on either side.     

Later Parker brought up a steel beam shovel stock and a one-horse breaking plow.  Most of the shovel stocks that we used were wood beam for Dad would saw the special dimension wood for making them.  We had a copy of someone’s pattern for this plow so all we had to buy was handles. The cutter was made with the forge in the shop.  

A Different Treasure

Most of the materials stored in the old shed dated to the period when we lived on the Mud Line. From  the fairly well preserved area of the shed the boys brought up a treasure that Nannette and I had forgotten about, a hand made—home-made wheelbarrow.

 The only thing not home-made was the iron wheel and some iron straps at points of stress. This wheelbarrow came from Nannette’s grandparents home in Fayette County, Tennessee and  was made by her uncles, Charlie and Lewis. There is no way of determining how old this wheelbarrow is but from the quality of work I’m sure it was made in their adult years.  

We have a wagon, belongs to Shipp, which those two made as boys.  The wagon is their version of a log wagon with materials small boys  could manage to obtain—the wheels are cutoff pieces of logs.  

We wish for you a great week.  It’s stopped raining here with the gauge on .92 inches.  I guess we finally cut enough hay to bring a pretty good rain.  

You can reach me most of the time at 23541 Highway 6, Batesville, MS 38606, 662-563-9879 or

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