History tells us that at least 15%, and possibly up to 33%, of cowboys in The Old West were African-American. Among them was William Pickett, who invented the trick we now call bull-dogging—catching and throwing a steer—though Bill’s habit of biting the cow’s lip to control it is no longer practiced. (Not too surprising, IMHO.) … Continue reading Tuesday Trivia: African-Americans in the Old West
“I see by your outfit that you are a cowboy …” These words from Streets of Laredo are not as transparent as they may seem to be. Our modern interpretation of “outfit” refers basically to the clothes we wear, and can be stretched to include belt, shoes, hat, and handbag. But would clothes distinguish a … Continue reading Tuesday Trivia: A Cowboy and his Outfit
Wonderful stories! Reblogged on giffordmacshane.com
In today’s post I will be sharing some letters from women homesteaders in the United States at the beginning of the 1900s. The Homestead Act allowed adults to work land out west in order to own it after a period of time. Their stories are inspiring and enlightening.
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Thanks to the movies and mid-20th century TV, when we think of men’s underwear in the Old West, we usually picture the union suit, a garment that looked like a cross between a onesie and today’s longjohns, with buttons up the front and a flap in the back to accommodate nature’s needs. But union suits weren’t always a single piece — it was possible to buy shirts and pants separately. They also came in an above-the-knee length (for the especially hardy).
Less well-known were garments called “linens”, from the material they were made out of. Linens could be long, though they were usually knee-length or shorter. They had buttons or grommets with laces, and some had wide waistbands. Even more obscure was a cotton garment with buttons and ribbed legs that’s quite similar to the recently-popularized “boxer-briefs”. From my research, I believe…
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Anyone who's a fan of the Old West is familiar with the Colt .45 and the Buntline Special. Like most old & new revolvers, both of these have a rotating 6-chamber cylinder. But did you know there was also a gun with six rotating barrels? That's right. Ethan Allen (no relation to the Revolutionary War … Continue reading Tuesday Trivia: The Wackiest Gun In The West
Mark Twain, whose real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens, is an American icon. But in his time, he wasn't the only one in his family with name recognition. Twain's older brother, Orion Clemens, was a newspaper publisher and had studied law under Edward Bates, who later became President Abraham Lincoln's Attorney General. Orion was appointed … Continue reading Tuesday Trivia: Mark Twain
Thanks to the movies and mid-20th century TV, when we think of men's underwear in the Old West, we usually picture the union suit, a garment that looked like a cross between a onesie and today's longjohns, with buttons up the front and a flap in the back to accommodate nature's needs. But union suits weren't … Continue reading Tuesday Trivia: Union Suits & Linens
So you've left your home somewhere in the east and staked out your forty acres on the plains. The government is gonna give you a mule. And all of a sudden, you're a farmer, living off the bounty of the land. Sounds like a great life, right? What you might not have realized before you … Continue reading Tuesday Trivia: The Sod Shanty
Warning! This post examines the history of feeding tubes; if you're easily grossed out, it might not be for you! In one of my novels, a woman falls into a coma after the birth of her child. I needed to know what specific methods there were in the 1880s for nourishing a comatose patient. What … Continue reading Tuesday Trivia: Patient Sustenance
In most of the Old West, the ranchers managed two yearly round-ups. A spring round-up was done to identify and brand the new calves in a herd, and castrate any male calves that were not needed for reproduction (these cattle were called “steers” and often outnumbered the females). It was a big job to get … Continue reading Tuesday Trivia: The Round-Up