I picked up an interesting book at a swap meet titled 1001 Most-asked Questions About the American West by Harry E. Chrisman. The book is out of print but there are a few left on Amazon. I bet you didn’t know there were that many questions to ask about cowboys. Here are some samples from the book:
Did Indians have any special word to describe the covered wagons they saw on the plains?
They called them “teepees on wheels.”
Howdy is short for “How-do-you-do?” You don’t have to tell the inquirer how you feel, for he doesn’t care anyway! A cowboy once advised a friend never to say “Howdy” to a talkative, glib Easterner whom they both knew. “Why not?” the second cowboy asked. “Because he’ll tell you,” came the answer.
Is there any record of a woman riding in a cattle stampede?
Old cowboy Anderson from Sequin, Texas told of seeing a lady ride side-saddle being swept into a longhorn stampede. He wrote: “Seeing the cattle gaining, that woman swung herself astride and pulled off a race that beat anything I ever saw.” This is what they called riding “clothespin” style.
Was marijuana used to any extent in the settlement of the Old West?
Marijuana was not used as a drug. However one Western expert has noted that even Bibles and wagon covers were often made from the Devil’s weed, in addition to some of the clothing the pioneers wore and the hemp rope they used.
It has nothing to do with baseball. A pitcher was what they called the washbowl, and the catcher (or thundermug) was the chamber pot. Margaret here: Whoever thought up the name thundermug must have had a real problem.
What was the usual bounty offered for an outlaw when the posters read, “Wanted, dead or alive.”
$500 would bring a man in dead or alive. That was a lot of money back in the 1870-80s.
What did the term “grubline gossip” mean?
Cowboys laid off during the winter months would ride from ranch to ranch looking for odd jobs. In exchange for free food they reported whatever news they heard on their travels and this was called grubline gossip.
What were the worst factors pioneers had to contend with?
Blizzards, Indians, fleas, snakes, cholera, small pox, diphtheria, lice, bedbugs, prairie fire, falls into deep wells, accidents from livestock, cyclones, runaway horses, stampedes, heat sunstroke, silence of the plains and loneliness. Many women thought the latter two the worst.
What would have been the worst
factor for you?