60 mph mutton on ice

While we wait for the Zamboni that will improve the ice, here is something from the files of iceboat historian Henry Bossett. Did you know that ice yachts not only hauled building materials and people but also conveyed livestock?

Hank Ward was the enterprising Hudson River ice yachtsman who ferried people and then sheep between Newburg and Fishkill, NY.
This 1879 woodcut depicts Ward’s iceboat ferry. The woodcut might be a pastoral view of reality because the restrained sheep were not willing passengers, and elegantly dressed “lady excursionists” in the close vicinity of livestock would have been a bad combination.

February 11, 1879, Evansville, Indiana Journal reported, “Ninety sheep were brought across the river, ten at a time. One or two trips were made so quickly that the boat crossed over and returned to the Fishkill side before the next ten sheep could be caught and their legs tied.”