The golden age of the American cowboy started in 1866. Just after the Civil War, the Union Army finished all the supply of beef in the North. Four million men began to drive herds of longhorn cattle. On the 1880 census, hundreds of men listed their occupations as ‘cowboy’. Here are some interesting facts about the Cowboys.
1. Many cowboys fought in the Civil War. They came from both the North and the South. A quarter of other cowboys were freed ex-slaves. Some cowboys came from Europe and Mexico as well.
2. About 8 to 12 Cowboys could move 3,000 herds of cattle. They used to travel 15 miles a day. They used to take a trail expert and a camp cook with them on each drive.
3. The camp cooks were important. They used to serve three hot meals a day to the Cowboys.
4. Cowboys didn’t change their clothes for weeks. They wore denim jeans with chaps to protect their legs from the thorny branches their horses had to pass. Their wide-rimmed Stetson hats protected them from the sun. The hats were also used as a cup to scoop up water for themselves and the horses. They had a bandana around their neck which they used to pull up for protecting their mouth and nose from the dust on the road.
5. At night, when the cattle were bedded, two men on guard used to circle and sing to calm them. They did this to avoid the danger of stampede due to unexpected noises or thunder.
Texas reminds us of these cowboys. They were always an object of curiosity to people around the world. They are still portrayed in Hollywood movies.