Night Herd

“Some operators, seeking to reduce the size of their payroll, eliminated the extra hands and extra oxen and required the regular drivers to perform the night guard duties. Night herd was the most heartily detested duty a teamster could be called on to perform. One of them said, “It is impossible for anyone who has never had the experience, to realize the overpowering sense of sleepiness that comes over one after midnight, particularly after a strenuous day of yoking and unyoking the animals of his team, driving them to water, and walking beside them on the road when the train was moving.’ . . .

An experienced man on night herd would pick out a reliable old ox and lie down against him; thus, anything that disturbed the animal would rouse the man. On a cold night the body heat of the ox kept the man comfortable.”