Joe Schonover and Horse

Joe Schonover and The Pulling Horse!


Joe Ganger


Found in the Historical Society Archives; author was Ralph Clement, date is unknown: “Joe ran a livery barn in Colon. It was located on Blackstone Avenue about midway between the Davis Hotel and State Street. He was a big man, is his 60’s, and weighed well over 200 pounds. One day he was sitting on a salt barrel in front of our store on State Street, and several other men were there also. My father drove up with a nice looking bay horse hitched to a buggy and tied him to the hitching post. As my father came onto the sidewalk, Joe spoke to him and said, “Charley, if I had to drive a horse with all that toggle on him I would stop driving horses.”  The “toggle” which Joe spoke about was the arrangement of the reins. They were not buckled to the bit, but were fastened to the back band securely, then brought forward to a small pulley, fastened to the bit, then back into the buggy.  My father said, “Joe, you get in and drive around the block and see how he drives.” Joe did just that. He backed the horse onto the road, headed west, got in the buggy, picked up the reins the same way he drove his old livery horses. Each line had a foot or more of slack. He slapped the loose lines on the horse’s back and said, “GITTAP’. The horse did not know what to make of such treatment! He jumped forward and broke into a keen run. He went west to Blackstone Avenue, turned left, going south towards the Lamb Knit Goods factory. I ran to the corner. The horse was running as fast as he could go, but at the end of the street managed to turn left onto Franklin Street. It was one block to the barn, which stood just off the street to the right. The horse was going too fast to turn into the open barn door and plunged into a big stack of hay, which stood near the barn. Dr. Hartman’s barn was across the street one-half block away. His caretaker, a young colored man, had seen him go by. He quickly went over and helped Joe dig the horse out of the haystack. They got him out and neither the horse nor Joe was hurt. The young man said, “Joe, I guess everything is alright. Now you can get in the buggy and drive the horse back.”  “No,” said Joe, “I will never ride behind that horse again! You drive him down to Charley.” So the young caretaker did just that, going right down Swan Street to State Street. We, at the store, saw him coming. A wide grin was on his face. He knew how to drive such a horse. He tied him to the hitching post. The episode was over.”