1881: Working for the Kopp Family

During my stay at Kopp’s place until the end of January I helped with the most diverse works that needed to be done. Apart from the bookkeeping I help with smoking the ham, shoulder and others.

The butchering of the oxen, seven or eight every week, and numerous pigs, was of great interest to me. It is done in a different manner than in Germany. Since the livestock grazes on the hills that are stretched along the Rocky Mountains during the summer and the winter, a certain number of oxen had to be chased down every week, which often times turned into a wild hunt. The butcher and his assistant, both on horses, sometimes needed the whole day in order to bring back half a dozen of oxen to the slaughterhouse. Here they are chased through a large open door which is closed quickly. Right across from the entrance is a small opening in a wooden wall. The animals focus on that opening in the usually dark room. From that window opening the oxen are shot dead into the forehead with a revolver. Kopp’s revolver was an excellent gun. With it, I killed an ox with the first shot. The butcher’s assistant developed a great speed at slaughtering the animals: in less than two hours, four oxen were completely gutted, while in Germany it usually takes about the same amount of time for just one ox. However, the skins of the animals get damaged during the process. Numerous cuts and single wholes diminish the worth of the skin to about half the price, as I explained to them.

translated by Julia Strehlau-Jacobs

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