Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Horsing Around in Buffalo

N.Y. Times  Dec 30, 1873
   BUFFALO, N.Y., DEC. 29

Auction Sale of Horses at East Buffalo
   The receipts of livestock at the East Buffalo Stockyards for 1873 exhibit a flattering increase over those of previous years, footing up 409,758 head of cattle, 733,400 head of sheep, 1,662,500 head of hogs, and 28,326 head of horses. The estimated value of this stock exclusive of the horses is $47,517,750.  The shipments for the year to Eastern markets were: 381,191 head of cattle, 695,000 head of sheep, 1,458,100 head of hogs, and 27,239 head of horses.

A Typical Group of Workhorses
Buffalo Illustrated Express     
Sunday April 26 1891   
One of Buffalo's institutions which is fast receiving national fame is it's horse market.  It was hardly a year ago that the horse sales at East Buffalo were a very small item in business done there, while now they include the exchange of large sums of money and the disposal of about a thousand horses a week... The strength of the market has indeed been many when the short time in which the market has taken place is considered.  It is estimated that not more than 13 or 14 carloads of horses were sold at the Crandell House Auctions, and at that, the Crandell House Auctions were the only ones conducted at East Buffalo.  A big jump in the sales took place the following year when it is estimated over 500 carloads representing about 10,000 horses were sold.  Nor did the increase stop at the end of the year.  Already over 10,000 horses have been sold during the four months of the year 1891, and it is safe to say at least as many more, or even twice as many more will be sold before January 1892.
  Chicago is still the largest horse market in the united states, but if the Buffalo market increases at anything like the present rate, it will soon leave Chicago far behind..... Local buyers form a very small percentage of the buyers at East Buffalo. The many advantages of Buffalo as a shipping point attract horsemen from all the Eastern States. Hitherto they have been in the habit of going to Chicago to get their horses, but now they find the savings of two days time, traveling expenses and half the freight on horses shipped East, is made by buying in Buffalo.

Horses About To Be Transported

  Prices range about the same in the two cities, and at times Buffalo prices have been even lower than Chicago prices.  Thus it is evident that as long as the demand for horses in eastern cities increases, the Buffalo horse sales will increase proportionately, and will eventually exceed those of Chicago.
  The East and the West meet at the Buffalo Horse Market. Buyers come from the New England States..... and the shippers hail from all parts of the wooly West.....The horses comprise all grades and estates.  The ordinary hack and the draught horse of course, predominate.  Many fine work horses are sold every day.  Stylish carriage horses, cobs, riding horses and driving horses are also to be found in plenty. The Mustang from the West and the Kentucky-bred horse often stand side by side awaiting their turn to be sold. The lowly but useful mule finds as ready a eulogizer in the auctioneer as the high-bred trotter.....
    As most of the horses are bought by out of town men, and are shipped away as soon as possible, they are usually tied together in blocks of five and led to the cars as shown in one of todays pictures.  They make a picturesque sight as line after line of them is lead down the street, each horses tail being bound with a bright red flannel fillet.

EDITORS NOTE:   In the next couple of years Buffalo did indeed become the largest horse market, not just in the U.S. but the world!  Oh yeah, and the largest sheep market in the world? Buffalo too! I'll bet the auctioneers always slept well at night, counting those sheep all day long. :)  Would you believe I have film I took of the Buffalo Horse Market in July of 1897? I've been around longer than you think!  




Tricia said...

I love your blog!!! I've been researching my family history and found your posting on the horses and the video of the horse market quite interesting. My great grandfather owned a livery stable on Tupper Street in the early 1900's. He and his father, Joseph bought and sold horses through the Buffalo Horse Market, plus they raced horses around the country including Fort Erie. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge of Buffalo history!!

Jerry M Malloy said...

Tricia, Thank you for Your Comment. The story is a much edited version of a longer detailed article. I have the original paper in poor condition but, I think you'll find the complete article interesting. Can see it on microfilm at the main downtown Buffalo Library.
Buffalo -Illustrated- Express Sunday April 26 1891

Kate Digs The World said...

Tricia, your post is from forever ago, but I am writing a thesis on Buffalo's livery stables and would love to know if you have any stories or old photos of your great grandfather's livery stable. Please feel free to contact me at katystuck@gmail.com if you're interested.