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"Mack the Giant Ox" Banner
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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Advice books, almanacs and periodicals of the 1800s encouraged farmers to improve farming techniques and try new methods. Many farmers did not readily adopt these new ideas. Agricultural reformers in this period enjoyed far greater success in creating a vehicle to bring farmers together and highlight innovative and high-performing agricultural practices: the regional fair. Fair organizers rewarded farmers who produced top-of-the-line livestock and crops with prizes and publicity. Farmers in the Middle Connecticut Valley region were famous for raising immense stall-fed oxen who were then sold to drovers who walked them to the cattleyards at Brighton, Massachusetts, near Boston. Mack was a particularly impressive example of an ox renowned for his stature. Mack traveled to numerous fairs where appreciative audiences willingly parted with ten cents to view this enormous animal. Mack was the best-known giant ox in the region, but other farmers enjoyed showing off their success in raising immense cattle.
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