The Mountain Laurel
The Journal of Mountain Life

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What Is It?

By Vera McPeak © 1985

Issue: February, 1985

what is itHeel IronDear Editors,

While reading the story about Newton Hylton, in the June Issue, I remembered a plaque I made a few years ago and thought this story may be of interest to your readers.

It Is Not A Horseshoe

It is a heel iron. A few years ago mother found this heel iron on a dirt "road near her home. Heel irons were worn on the heels of shoes so as not to wear out the shoe heels. It is shaped like a horseshoe with the two ends turned up to fit over the inside of the heel. Three sharp points, resembling the points of a nail, one on each side of the iron and one on the curve; were hammered out from the iron to hold it onto the heel.

Heel irons were worn as late as the 1940's. My husband remembers Newton Hylton making him a pair of heel irons. Can you imagine the noise made by four boys, wearing heel irons, walking on board floors in a house? Galloping horses.

I like to browse through antique shops, but I have not seen another heel iron. I wonder how many are lying around forgotten by people who wore them or found by young people who do not know what they are.

I enjoy reading The Mountain Laurel. I grew up a few miles from Meadows of Dan and have traveled most of the Backroads. I did not know of all the interesting places to see until you wrote about them in your BACKROAD articles.

Yours truly,

Vera McPeak
Owings, Maryland