Copyright Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield, MA

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John Sheldon's Snowshoes

John Sheldon (1658-1733) of Deerfield, Massachusetts, was sent three times by Governor Dudley to New France to retrieve New England captives, some of whom were taken in the 1704 Deerfield raid. He made his first journey in the winter of 1705 and his last in 1707, securing over 100 captives in all. Sheldon may have used this pair of snowshoes for his winter redemption missions. Snowshoes, invented by Native Americans, were also used by the French and the English to travel over heavy snows. The hexagonal weave of the rawhide thong helped make the snowshoes lightweight yet strong. The wooden tails on snowshoe frames acted like rudders, and were especially useful for long distance trips. A person experienced with snowshoes could walk in them as rapidly upon the snow as without them on the ground.

Date: circa 1700 
Topic: Personal 
Materials: wood, skin, metal
Dimensions: L: 33.75 in.(85.7 cm.), W: 11.5 in.(29.2 cm.)  
Accession #: IR.061

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