B.C. Sherman's Fly Net
June 15, 2020
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We don't see these much anymore, but our recent blog about the 1872 horse influenza epizootic reminded me of all of the wonderful horse artifacts in our collection — including this horse flynet donated by B. C. Sherman, a long-time Moorhead harness maker. The fly net is made of strips of leather tied into a net to spread across the back of a horse to provide enough movement while a horse is working to keep horse flies from landing and biting.
Bion C. Sherman came to Moorhead from Michigan in the 1880s. After some farm labor and lumbering in the Minnesota woods for a winter, he returned to Moorhead and worked for harness maker R. M. Johnson at his shop on Center Avenue near 6th Street. Sherman purchased his own shop a few years later and operated there until the age of 82 in 1938, when the building was torn down.
This fly net and some harness pieces were donated to the Historical Society in 1938 — probably as Sherman was moving out of the building, which served as both his shop and home. Sherman became a resident of the St. Ansgar Old People’s Home before he died in 1947 at the age of 90.