Farewell to a famous ox

Pum the ox stands with farmer Orlin Ostby at the family’s farm in northern Minnesota.
Dan Gunderson/MPR News file photo

A famous Minnesota ox is dead.

No, not the blue ox. Pum was a black and white Holstein ox who pulled a wooden-wheeled cart across the state in 2008 to celebrate the Minnesota Sesquicentennial.

Minnesota farmer Orlin Ostby chose Pum to pull the wooden oxcart from Pembina, N.D., to St. Paul because the animal was smart and had a good-natured personality.

Pum led Ostby, his wife Amanda, son Christopher, daughter Catherine, cousin Tom Thronsedt, and neighbors Jackie Helms and Steven Reynolds on a leisurely 48-day stroll down country roads and along busy highways as they tried to re-create the Pembina Trail used by traders in the mid 1800s to haul furs from the north country to St. Paul.

They arrived in St. Paul in time for the Minnesota State Fair.

Pum was 12 when he died Saturday at Ostby’s northern Minnesota farm near Gatzke in Marshall County.