The Birth of the Stetson!

Phyliss sig horse and sunsetI received some interesting information about the birth of the cowboy hat from my friend in New Jersey.  Can you believe that the birth of the Stetson was in New Jersey at a well known and successful hatter the No Name Hat Company.  The company known for their superior quality hats; and it was said the No Name Hat Company made hats for George Washington.  The company was led by Stephen Stetson and his son, John Batterson Stetson, learned the trade as a child.

In 1860, John B. Stetson headed west to recover from tuberculosis, which he’d had mostBoxx of the Plains 2 of his life.  He decided to try his luck ad venture to Pike’s Peak to seek his fortune in gold.  Roughing it in the wilderness, John used primitive felting techniques to create water repellent blankets and the first hat to protect him from the elements.  This was the original “Boss of the Plains”, a Western hat that would become the cornerstone of Stetson’s hat business and is still in production today.

Stetson did not strike it rich as a gold miner and so headed back East to start a hat manufacturing company—the only trade he knew.  With only sixty dollars loaned to him by his older sister, Louisa, he purchased tools and fur, rented a small room in Philadelphia and hired two workers.  To differentiate his products from his competition, he sent a “Boss Stetson Company 2of the Plains” hat to each South-Western dealer with a letter asking for an order of a dozen.  By the early twentieth century, Stetson owned the world’s largest hat factory and became the essence of the Western Spirit.  The current factory covers over nine acres and produce over three million hats annually.

Man, does the “Boss of the Plains” not look like today’s Stetsons!  The “Boss” certainly reminds me of a miner’s hat.

To one lucky person who leaves a comment, I will send you a “Bed and Bath Works”

gift certificate and a gift certificate from Amazon to purchase either an

eBook or trade size book which is the first book in the Kasota Spring Romance

series “The Troubled Texan”.



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A native Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Phyliss Miranda still believes in the Code of the Old West and loves to share her love for antiques, the lost art of quilting, and the Wild West.

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32 thoughts on “The Birth of the Stetson!”

  1. It’s late on the 5th. My husband always wore Stetson until they became too expensive. Always wore a Silver Belly color. Then about 20 years ago his daughters had a custom hat made for him. Wow! That was really something. 10X. And he actually kept it in the box. The rest were on pegs. The rest of the family wears the cheaper hats. Straw in summer and felt in Winter. However, they have been known to wear the felt in the summer–to be dressed up! They are a funny lot.

  2. Yea Phyliss, I love stetsons. My husband was always a Stetson man. And was he ever handsome in it. He would have owned many more than he had if he had the money. I once ask him didn’t he think he had enough stetsons. His simple answer was NEVER. LOL Sure miss him. I can’t imagine the business growing to nine acres, and to produce three million Stetsons each year. WOW! If I could only tell my Joe. Of course his didn’t look like this picture. I would sure love to win your book. Thanks for a chance. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

  3. The stories I write are 1850s, so before the time their hats were Stetsons and the men who wore them were called cowboys. Makes you wonder what a cowboy’s hat would look like had Stetson not started his company. Thanks for an interesting post.

  4. Great post. It is fascinating how the Stetson hat originated. My husband loves Stetson hats.

  5. Interesting information. I am always looking for new authors to read. Your book sounds interesting.

  6. Nice background on the Stetson, Phyliss. It kind of reminded me of those old Pace Picante commercials where all the cowboys got up in arms because their salsa was made in “New York City”. Nothing made in New York could possibly be fit for a true westerner’s consumption. Wonder if any of them were wearing Stetsons manufactured in New Jersey or Philadelphia? 🙂

  7. Very interesting, Miss Phyliss! I never knew this. I think the Boss of the Plains hat is really ugly. I’m real glad the cowboys don’t wear those. No self-respecting cowboy would be caught dead in one. But, that was just one style thank the good Lord.

    Wishing you much success on your new book!! Love you, Filly sister.

  8. That was interesting. I wouldn’t know a Stetson hat from anything else. lol The Troubled Texan is on my list of must get books.

  9. Stetsons make the man. When I see a Stetson I find it so appealing and special. A most fascinating post.

  10. Wow to think that such an idea of making a hat would be so important! Where would our cowboys be without their Stetsons. My dad was a cowboy and he use to say that you can tell a real cowboy by his hat and belt buckle. I love your post! Thank you for entering me in your drawing 🙂

  11. Since I’m a Jersey Girl, I was thrilled to hear that the Stetson was born here! It was an interesting bit of trivia. Your Kasota Spring Romance series sounds fantastic, Phyllis! I can’t wait to read it!

  12. Oh my… wow, I had no idea that the Stetson came from Jersey! Such interesting things to learn about if we take time to look into them.

  13. Awesome post, Phyliss! The Boss sure gets mention in my stories, for sure. I am so glad I learned this information today on just what it is! Blessings on Kasota Springs, my friend.

  14. Learning about the Stetson and its origin was enthralling since the West is where I enjoy travel.

  15. How very interesting… I remember when ladies and gentlemen wore hats to church. I love the Stetson!!

  16. We have a Stetson manufacturer, distributor and outlet store here in my home town of St. Joseph, MO. It’s a very popular place for tourists and locals. They are also known for giving out their hats for benefits, stars and even presidents. Thank you for writing about a very important part of western history.

  17. Hi Mary J, thanks for your story about your husband’s Stetson and keeping it in the box,while the others hung on pegs. That’s really the Western Way of doing things. I learned years ago, (I’m a city Texan)that you can tell a “real cowboy” because they will wear a five hundred (now much more expensive)dollar pair of boots that look like they were reclaimed from the salvage store and the cowboy had walked three miles through a cow pasture. If they were new and expensive, he was definitely a drug store cowboy. Today a cowboy wishes he could get by with paying five hundred dollars for decent boots. Thanks for the memories, Mary J. Hugs, Phyliss

  18. Hi Maxie, what a beautiful story about your husband. I totally agree, you can’t own too many Stetsons, just like we can’t own enough shoes! I saw a picture of my father-in-law in his prime leaning against a hitching post with his boots, tight jeans and Stetson–all I can say is no wonder Bob’s mama fell in love with every six feet four inches of the man. Later after I joined the family, I realized it was more than him being a cowboy! Love your memories. Thanks for sharing. I’ll make sure your name is in the hat for today’s drawing. Big hugs, Phyliss

  19. Phyliss that Boss of the Plains hat doesn’t exactly look like we think of a cowboy hat, but if you dented the top and curled the edges I’ll bet it’s exactly the same. The hats today are shaped in the stores but back then I’ll bet the cowboys shaped them for themselves.

    Love this. I had no idea it went back to George Washington.
    Do you know why he had to start his own business? Where was his father’s No Name company by this time?

  20. Great post, there is nothing like seeing a tall cowboy in a Stetson. I do love cowboys. Although there are not any true cowboys where I live.

  21. Hi Janie, thanks for dropping by. I think the majority of writers who write western historical’s kinda fudge a little on stuff like the hero wearing a Stetson because it’s more recognizable or Winchester for a shotgun and Colt for a pistol. Again, basically because they are well known. There are so many writers who I admire because they know their horses, hats and firearms. I really enjoy reading those writers. I try to be as historically accurate as possible, but we all slipup unfortunately. Have a great evening, Janie. Hugs, Phyliss

  22. Hi Crystal GB, thanks for leaving a comment. I think the majority of men today would prefer a Stetson over the derby look … unless they were going to the Kentucky Derby, but not sure a real cowboy would wear a derby even for “the hat” is the reason for the race. Have a great evening. Hugs, P

  23. Hi Joye, I hope you get “The Troubled Texan”. The Kasota Springs series actually began in the last quarter of “The Tycoon and the Texan” which I wrote in 1994 in California when I was out there with my oldest daughter and family, who have now moved back there. I wrote it for Desire and they liked it a lot, but was too Alpha Male for them at the time and wanted it resubmitted when the Alpha Male came back. They were into secret babies and marriages of convenience. I set it on the shelf and wrote the six anthologies with fellow filly, Linda Broday, Jodi Thomas, and DeWanna Pace, all Amarillo girls. So when Kensington wanted a ST, I revamped and still had to take a lot of the alpha out of Deuce. I got so tickled at one reviewer who wrote that they couldn’t believe Kensington bought the book because it read more like a cat romance … I wanted to write “DUH”. I hope everyone reading “The Troubled Texan” which is really the first book of the series enjoys it as much as I did writing it. Right now it looks like at least four in the series, but hopefully there will be more. So, everybody please buy one! Have a wonderful evening. Hugs, P

  24. Karen, I got so tickled at your comment. I believe I saw a revision of that commercial recently. It’s been gone for a while, but is funny. We have the wonderful Tascosa Hot Sauce factory here in Amarillo. I believe it began in their garage. When my daughters lived out of state, I had to send cases of Tascosa to their DHs! It is really, really good! Thanks for stopping by and making me laugh, sister filly. I’ll watch the commercial if it comes on again and see what kind of hats they wear … probably a fake Stetson made overseas. Hugs, P

  25. Hi Miss Linda/Filly Friend, thanks for stopping by. I’m sure other parts of the US have their favorite hats, but I agree with you there’s nothing sexier on a man than a Stetson with tight fittin’ jean coming in second…maybe first! Big hugs, P

  26. I had no idea Stetson’s originated in New Jersey. I found John Stetson’s story to be fascinating. Although becoming a miner to recover from TB sounds a bit extreme. It’s amazing what iconic things were invented out of necessity.

    Thanks for sharing this interesting background on the Stetson!

    johns lake at usa dot com

  27. I so apologize for not getting to all of your messages but I had a computer problem. I had answered four commenters under one “submit comment” using another laptop and I don’t know if it ran out of battery or was updating something and decided to say “nite-nite”, but I couldn’t find and restore what I’d written.

    I truly am sorry, but since it’s almost 11:00 p.m. on the East Coast, I need to select my winner from my Stetson, of course, and get it posted. Everyone who commented today is entered into the drawing. I really wanted to answer everyone because I got so much out of your comments today that gave me ideas not only for another blog but scenes in the story I’m working on. Big Hugs to all you all, Phyliss

  28. Never knew Stetsons started or came from New Jersey. So many Texas wear Stetsons. Most want beaver felt too. Great post.

  29. Wow. One of the most iconic things of The Old West, really comes from Back East. It is this time of tidbit that makes me love history. It is also historical fiction that brings it alive to me.

    It also goes to show that not all things from “Back East” are bad.

    Thanks for sharing.

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