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Southern Magic - History Tidbits


By Carla Swafford

A cowboy's hat, boots, bridle and saddle, in total, cost more than the bronco, or half-broke horse, he rode.

Most cattle-drives averaged 20 miles a day. On cattle-drives, cooks were paid more than the cowboys.

Favorite games cowboys played while on cattle-drives were poker, monte, and dominoes.

Some trail bosses required that each cowboy he hired be able to sing. While keeping watch over the cattle, a cowboy would sing to keep the cattle quiet and let them know he was near. Should a steer become frightened, he could easily startle the other cattle and cause a stampede.

The generic term "bitters" was used by the 1870's for liquors. A few popular brands of whiskey were McBryan, Old Crow, and Squirrel.

The Cherokee used blow guns.

When a Sioux warrior needed to wake earlier than usual in the morning, he would drink a lot of water before going to bed.

Plains Indians practiced etiquette that required not saying a person's name in their presence. They addressed them as brother, sister, friend, etc. Only strangers used their names. To ask a person's name or why he's visiting was considered impolite.

Hair was considered to be an extension of a person's spirit and a living thing. The length of some Crow warrior's hair reached the ground.

When an enemy's scalp was taken, the warrior would keep it for a year so the dead warrior's soul could not enter the Mystery Land beyond death and harm the keeper's dead tribe members.

In wagon trains, a typical family was limited in what was carried. A man would have three to four linen, cotton or wool shirts, cotton or wool socks, pantaloons of linsey-woolsey and an overcoat made of thick cotton or fustain.

For headgear, men wore broad-brimmed straw or felt hats and women had sunbonnets made of calico stretched over wire. They also had palm-leaf hats and green-shaded goggles to protect them from the sun.

A wagon train would cover 15 miles a day on average.

A "granger" was a farmer.

Taken from Magic Moments - February 2000 Volume 3/Issue 2