roared their approval,
it was not the end, as many feared.
Things in Mojave had returned to normal
they slapped each others backs and cheered.
The water wagon
cleared the town,
the rig rolled straight and true,
the mules were happy once again,
and the sky turned back to blue.
did old Charlie stray,
from the ways mule skinners knew,
he jerked the line and cussed the mules,
giving each in turn his due.
As The desert floor
Rolled beneath their feet,
and the yards turned into miles,
the mules nodded to each other
and their hearts were full of smiles.
that ends well,
the Devil took his due.
Borax Charlie is happy again
and the mules are happy too.
do not understand,
it has often been discussed,
mules just don’t work worth a damn
if they haven’t been properly cussed.
This should help explain the situation a bit more; here is a typical daily article from my Western History site: www.oldwestdailyreader.com. This one should lend some insight to The Legend of Borax Charlie. – Doc
August 27, 1931
“Borax” Smith crosses to the great desert in the sky. Francis Marion “Frank” Smith is gone at 85. He parlayed his discovery of borax at Teel’s Marsh (NV) in 1872 into thriving businesses. By 1877, 30 ton loads behind 24 mule teams were moving borax 160 miles to the Central Pacific RR siding at Wadsworth. From 1883 to 1889 he ran the 20 mule teams and made them and his laundry product famous across the nation.
Only there were just eighteen mules; the wheelers had to be big horses such as Belgians or Clydesdales; it took some big muscles to turn a twenty five thousand pound borax wagon. There were two of them [each with a 10 ton load) and a water wagon [1200 gal. U.S., 9,600 lbs]; the rig was right at 180 feet long, total weight of about 73,000 lbs. Mules had to jump the chains on the tight curves. The haul was 120 miles across the desert to Mojave at about 17 miles a day. The teamster usually rode the left (nigh) wheeler and controlled the team with a jerk line (Dic). The Swamper rode the wagon and braked. These were some mighty men! During the six years (1883 -89) that the teams operated, some 20 million pounds of borax were hauled out. TYH!
Smith went on to build several railroads and The Key System, a commuter service in San Francisco and he invested in real estate but it was the borax that that had paid the way. Photos: U.S. PD, Wagons – Kevin Saff; Mule Team USNPS
End: The Legend of Borax Charlie
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