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Old West Daily Reader Dictionary

Yes, old timers, cowboys, miners and railroaders had their own language and they used some words a tad differently from everyone else…
…and then there’s Texan, a language unto its self.
We’ll get to some of all of it, in here somewhere…

A.     B.     C.     D.     E.     F.    G.    H.     I.     J.     K.     L.      M.

  N.    O.     P.    Q.     R.     S.     T.     U.     V.     W.    X.     Y.     Z.

Away up high in the Sierry Pete’s
Where the yeller pines grows tall,
Ole Sandy Bob an’ Buster Jig,
Had a rodeer camp last fall.

Oh, they taken their hosses and runnin’ irons
And mebbe a dawg or two,
An’ they ‘lowed they’d brand all the long eared calves,
That come within their view.

And any old dogie that flapped long yeres,
An’ didn’t bush up by day,
Got his long yeres whittled an’ his old hide scortched,
In a most artistic way.

from “The Sierry Petes”
by Gail I. Gardner (1917)
Stolen and modified by others because Gardner didn’t file copyright until 1935. {001}


Abbot & Downing – Coach and wagon makers from 1827 to 1847, then operated by the son, until about 1900.  {001}
see also:
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation PhotosHooves, Travois & Wheels
Wk. 28, o7/09/1857 – The Granddaddy of ’em all!
Wk. 37, 09/16/1857 – Butterfield Overland Mail

Abolitionist – An anti-slavery activist.

above snakes – (Cowboy lingo) Still alive (on top of the ground, on the right side of the grass).

Absaalooke Nation – The Crow Indian Nation.
The Originals Index – Native American TribesCrow

acculturation – The psychological changes induced by cross-cultural imitation. – John Wesley Powell in 1883.

ace-in-the- hole – one’s hidden advantage in whatever; your back-up knife and/or gun.

acequia – (Sp.) An irrigation ditch.

adit – (mining) A horizontal tunnel from the surface.
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos

Adobe Oven
Horno – below

Agave field in Mexico - Dictionaryafoot – (Cowboy lingo) Just what it says, walking, no horse. Maybe an accident? Could be embarrassing…

Agave – The cactus from which, tequila, mescal and pulque are made. Blue agave (Agave tequilana) for Tequila. Photo: U.S. PD 2008, by GFDL Wiki – A blue agave field in Mexico.  {001}

airing the lungs – (Cowboy lingo) Swearing.

agitate the cat guts – to play a fiddle

airtights – canned food

Alamo, The – Founded in Mexican Territory in 1718 by Franciscan Friars as the mission San Antonio de Valero. In 1836 it was the site of the famous battle for Texas Independence which bears its name.  {001}
Wk. 10, 03/06/1836 – Fall of The Alamo

Albumen print – aka: albumen silver print (1847). The first commercially exploitable method of producing a photographic print on a paper base, from a negative*. Paper, usually 100% cotton, is coated with an emulsion of egg white (albumen) and salt (sodium chloride or ammonium chloride), then dried, sealing the paper and creating a slightly glossy surface. Dipped in a solution of silver nitrate and water (the sensitizer) and dried in the absence of UV light, the paper surface becomes sensitive to UV light. Placed in a frame in direct contact under a negative and exposed to the sun, the image is created. A bath of sodium thiosulfate fixes the print’s exposure, preventing further darkening. This process allowed multiple prints from the same negative and also led to the popular “carte de visite” (cardomania, 1860’s in the U.S.) and later to  the popular, larger “Cabinet Card”.  {001}
* In the times, usually a glass negative with collodion emulsion.
see also:
Ambrotype – below
negative – below

alcohol – etymology: Fine powder, from Medieval Latin, alcohol, referring to the powdered ore of antimony (1543); this, from the Arabic al-koh’l the powdered metal used as a cosmetic (black eye liner, think Cleopatra), called kohl. The original sense was extended, to mean the distillate of a liquid (essence) (1672). Morphed, to describe the spirit of any fermented liquor (1790).  {001}
The Originals Index -Entertainment in the Old West – Alcohol in the Old West

alkali – A basic, ionic salt of an alkali metal or alkaline earth metal, that will dissolve in water. These soluble minerals, other than common salt, are found in some soils and natural waters in the west. If in excess, often visible as a whitish layer on the ground surface. Water can dissolve enough, to make a puddle, or a lake, toxic to anything that drinks it.
Some examples of the major salts that can make up alkali:
Sodium hydroxide – often called “caustic soda”.
Potassium hydroxide – commonly called “caustic potash”. A generic term for either of the previous two or even for a mixture.
Calcium hydroxide – saturated solution known as “limewater”.
Magnesium hydroxide – an atypical alkali since it has low solubility in water.
These and others, in innumerable combinations, wherever they occur in quantity, salt the soil and prevent all or most vegetation from occurring. There are some salt resistant plants which can tolerate various levels of alkali.  {001}
Soil pH chart - Dictionary

alkali – 1. Said of country badly affected by alkali. (Ex. Alkali Flats) 2. A person who dwells in alkali country. Photo: U.S. PD internet – Salt/Alkali Flats.  {001}Salt Flats - Dictionary

Alkali Water in Montana - Dictionaryalkalied – 1. A veteran of alkali country. 2. A man or beast who has partaken of alkalied water and become sickened or died.  Photo: U.S. PD MT Gov – an alkali pond. This water is very likely toxic to man or beast.  {001}
see also:
References – Contributors Alkali Burns

The Originals Index, Entertainment in the Old West – Alcohol in the Old Westale

All horns and rattles – (Cowboy lingo) Angry and may dangerous…

allow – (Cowboy lingo)  1. another way of saying I reckon, I suppose (think), I propose or suggest…  2. A polite way of sayin’, “We are gonna do this…”  {001}

Ambrotype – (1853) An early photographic process, in which a photographic image is produced by a collodion emulsion containing suspended silver halide crystals (in a wet or a dry process) on a glass plate  prepared with a dark surface (black enamel) or a dark backing. An underexposed negative image is produced in the emulsion when exposed in the camera and then fixed by exposing the plate to potassium cyanide, resulting in a visible positive image, as seen against the dark background. The image produced, is reversed left to right unless the camera was equipped with a mirror or a right-angle prism. Fragile due to both the glass, and faulty adhesion of the dark coating on the glass. Replaced, in common usage, by the same process on a metal plate.
see also:
– below
Photography in the Old West – below

American Dialect Society (ADS), founded 1889, “dedicated to the study of the English language of the United States and Canada.” Over the years, its objective has been expanded to encompass “the English language in North America, together with other languages or dialects of other languages influencing it or influenced by it.” The Society publishes an academic journal titled American Speech.  {001}

American Indian Religious Freedom Act – U.S. Federal Law and a joint resolution of Congress providing protection for tribal culture and traditional religious rights such as access to sacred sites, freedom to worship through traditional ceremony, and use and possession of sacred objects for American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, and Native Hawaiians. (08/11/1978)  {001}
see also:
Native American Church – below
The Originals – Resources and Hazards – Plants – Hallucinogenic PlantsPeyote

Anaye – Mythical ancient monsters/evil Gods. (Navajo myth)  {001}
Just for Fun Pages –Monsters and Supernatural Beings in the Old WestSlaying the Anaye

Anglo – (Sp)  A term for anyone not Mexican or Indian. Mostly meant those of Anglo-Saxon descent and tends to exclude anyone “not white”.  {001}

Ante – The opening bet in a card game (usually poker). It can be set at a value which tends to eliminate the faint of heart at the start of round.   {001}
see also:
Wk. 51, 12/21/1880 – Birdcage Theater

anthropogenic climate change – Caused by human activity, as opposed to changes in climate that may have resulted as part of Earth’s natural processes. These days, it generally refers to global warming.  {001}

antlersBony growths which grow on the heads of the deer family. Shed and renewed annually, they are not horns. Antler is very useful for numerous purposes.  {001}
The Originals Index – Resources and Hazards – Animals Index  page – MammalsMule Deer
see also:
The Originals Index – Trade in the Old WestAntler
horns – below

Animism – A religious belief followed by some Native Americans that all natural objects within the universe, have souls or spirits. It is believed that spirits exist not only in humans but also in animals, plants, trees, mountains rocks etc.  {001}

Anvil, London Pattern labelled drawing - Dictionaryanvil – (metalwork, blacksmithing) A metal tool (usually large & heavy) used to work metal, usually iron. They come in various sizes and weights and may be iron, steel or both, welded, cast or forged. The one shown here is a London pattern.  {001}
see also:
Hardy Hole, Hardy tools, Pritchel hole and top tools – below
The Originals Index – Commerce in the Old West
1909 Sears Roebuck Catalog items list

Apache Tears - Dictionary

Apache Tears

Apache Tribe
The Originals Index – Native American TribesApache

Apache Tears – The popular term for rounded pebbles of obsidian (aka: obsidianites) composed of black or dark-colored natural volcanic glass (usually rhyolite). Known by the lithologic term “marekanite”. Usually about 1″ or 2″, they tumble to a nice polish.
An Apache legend (1870’s) tells of about 75 Apache warriors who fought the U.S. Cavalry on a mountain overlooking what is now Superior, AZ. Outnumbered, facing defeat, rather than being killed in battle, they rode their horses off the mountain to their deaths. When the wives and families heard of the tragedy, upon hitting the ground, their tears turned to stone.  Photo: U.S. PD? internet.  {001}

The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Animals Index Page – Mammals – Horse Breeds
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Animals Index Page – Mammals – Horse Colors

The Originals Index, Entertainment in the Old West – Alcohol in the Old Westapplejack

aqua vitae – (Latin) literally, “water of life”) This name for the national/cultural/traditional alcoholic beverage appears in numerous languages and cultures in the world.  {001}
The Originals Index, Entertainment in the Old West – Alcohol in the Old West

Arbuckle – coffee (from a common brand, think Kleenex)

Arcturus, Alpha Boötis, a red giant star, 36.7 light-years distant. The brightest star in the constellation Boötes the herdsman, fourth-brightest in the night sky and the brightest in the northern celestial hemisphere. Together with Spica and Regulus (or Denebola , depending on the source), Arcturus is part of the Spring Triangle asterism, an important navigational reference.  {001}

Arizona nightingale – a donkey; also a Rocky Mountain Canary.
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Animals Index Page – MammalsDonkey

Arkansas Toothpick – a large, double-edged evenly pointed knife. A fighting weapon.
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Edged WeaponsArkansas Toothpick

Arkansas toothpick – a slightly modified raccoon baculum*.
*baculum – below
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Edged WeaponsArkansas Toothpick

armitas (Sp.)
chaps – below

Arrastre (Sp.) – An old Mexican gold mill.
Photo Gallery Index – Mining PhotosArrastre

artillery – usually means handguns, unless it’s the Army talking…  {001}

ass over teakettle – (Cowboy lingo)  Flipped upside down; head over heels.


Baccarat – A card game. A variant spelling of baccra, the French word for the same game, origin unknown.  {001}

back East – as opposed to out West

back trail –  1. what you just left behind you.  2. going back the way you came.  3. following something or someone’s tracks in reverse to see where they came from.  {001}

Arkansas Toothpick - Dictionary

backfire – A fire intentionally set downwind, ahead of a moving fire. The idea is to create a strip of ground with no fuel for the main fire, causing it to go out. Used by fire fighters world wide.

baculum – The penis bone of a mammal, such as them that has ’em: bear, wolf, badger, racoon, seal, etc.  These have always been items of totemic/practical/trade value. Often of a useful size for making implements, tools and art works.  {001}
FYI: As it turns out, so far, 111 species are known to have both bones and 10 have only the baculum. None are known to have only the usually much smaller baubellum*. Humans have neither. – Doc Photo: U.S. PD Doc, a racoon baculum (Arkansas toothpick).  {001}
see also:
*baubellum – below)
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Edged WeaponsArkansas Toothpick
The Originals Index – Trade in the Old West Bone

badger – (Cowboy lingo)  To stay hard after an issue or a person. “I been badgerin’ the ramrod about gettin’ a new can of saddle soap next time in town.”
see also:
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Animals Index Page – MammalsBadger

badlands –  1. Land not fit for beast or man, maybe very little grass or water, rocky, badly eroded, etc., you couldn’t farm it or run cattle.  2. The Red-lite district.*  {001}
*Red -lite district – below

bad man – a gunfighter, outlaw or rustler

bad medicine – (Native American) 1. One’s personal “Medicine” is sour. Bad luck, ill health, injury or death. It could manifest in numerous ways… 2. Someone or something… (see: Medicine – below)  {001}

bad medicine – 1. A dangerous man, a killer. 2. Bad news.  {001}

bait – (Cowboy lingo) a meal, food

Ball lightning – An unexplained atmospheric electrical phenomenon. The term refers to reports of luminous, spherical or pear-shaped objects with fuzzy edges, that vary from pea-sized to several meters in diameter. Though usually associated with thunderstorms, the phenomenon lasts considerably longer than the split-second flash of a lightning bolt. Many early reports claim that the ball eventually explodes, sometimes with fatal consequences, leaving behind the odor of sulfur. Ball lightning frequently appears almost simultaneously with cloud-to-ground lightning discharge, showing a wide range of colors: red, orange, and yellow being the most common. They tend to move, most often in a horizontal direction at a few yards per second, but may also move vertically, remain stationary or wander erratically; with a lifetime of perhaps 1 second to a minute or more and a fairly constant brightness corresponding to roughly that of a domestic lamp. Often described as having rotational motion.  {001}
I have seen two good ones, both in the daytime. One moving down a barbed wire fence, popping and crackling, the other just floating in air. Neither exploded. – Doc
see also:
Just for Fun Pages – Strange Things in Old West Skies

Ball Mill - DictionaryBall Mill Balls - Dictionary - DictionaryBall Mill – (mining) A machine used to crush rock/ore by placing it in a rotating drum with heavy metal balls. Video U.S. PD, 2006 Luru Ly  {001

bank –  1. to put money on.  2. to deposit money in a bank.  {001}

bankroll – 1 . a roll of money (bank notes).  2. to fund an endeavor or someone.  {001}

Banner Weekly, The – A newspaper published by E. F. Beadle and William Adams, 98 William Street, NY, NY. c. 1890’s.  {001}
Wk. 23, 06/09/1860 – Beadle’s Dime Novels

Barbereria – (Sp) A barbershop.  {001}

tonsorial parlor – below

Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos – Mining MineralsBarite

bark – (nautical) aka: barque, barc: A type of sailing vessel with three or more masts, having the foremast and mainmast square rigged and the mizzen mast rigged fore-and-aft. Image: U.S. PD – Heritage-Ships.  {001}
Square Rig – below

barkintine – (nautical) A type of sailing vessel with three or more masts, having the foremast square rigged and the mainmast and  mizzen mast rigged fore-and-aft.  {001}
Square Rig – below
Sailing Ships – below

Barringer Crater – aka: Franklin’s Folly, Canyon Diablo Crater, Meteor Crater – West of Winslow , AZ. Photo: U.S. PD? internet.  {001}
The Originals Index – Landmarks and RegistersBarringer Crater
Just for Fun Pages – Strange Things in Old West Skies

barrow – (livestock) A castrated male pig.

Basin-and-Range-sattelite-photo-NV-NASA - Dictionary

Basin and Range satellite photo NV – NASA

Basin and Range Geological Province -A vast physiographic region covering much of the inland Western United States and northwestern Mexico. It is defined by unique basin and range topography,* characterized by abrupt changes in elevation, alternating between narrow faulted mountain chains and flat arid valleys, including numerous endorheic basins** and ephemeral lakes. The Basin and Range Province supplies nearly all the copper and most of the gold, silver, and barite mined in the United States and small amounts of Nevada petroleum. The highest point fully within the province is White Mountain Peak in California at 14,252-ft (4344.0 m), while the lowest point is the Badwater Basin in Death Valley at −282 ft (−86 m). The physiography of the province is the result of tectonic extension that began around 17 million years ago in the early Miocene epoch. Map: U.S. PD Basin and Range Province by Kathleen Smith.  {001}
*next article
**Endorheric Basin – below

Basin and range topography is an alternating landscape of parallel mountain ranges and valleys. It is a result of crustal extension/stretching (extensional tectonics) of the lithosphere (crust and upper mantle) due to mantle upwelling, gravitational collapse, crustal thickening, or relaxation of confining stresses.  {001}

baubellum – the clitoral bone of a mammal (such as them that has ’em).
(Baubellum are usually quite small and I have not seen them offered in the modern trade. – Doc)  {001}
see also:
baculum – above)

bay – horse color.
The Originals Index – Horses – Horse Colors

Beadle’s Dime Novels

Wk.23, 6/9/1860 – Beadle’s Dime Novel Series

The Originals Index – Trade in the Old West – Beads in Old West Trade

Bear-Dance-modern-Northern-Ute - DictionaryBear Dance – A Ute Indian dance and celebration, usually held in late May. The origin of the dance tells the story of two brothers out hunting in the mountains. Tired, they lay down to rest. One of the brothers noticed a bear, standing upright, facing a tree and clawing it, seeming to sing and dance as it did so. Apparently seeing nothing, the other brother went on hunting, as his sibling continued to observe the bear. The bear then taught that young man to do the dance and the songs that went with the dance. He told him to return to his people and teach them the dance and the songs of the bear. The songs, according to legend, show respect for the spirit of the bear. Respect to the bear spirit makes one strong. Another significant part is to give the dancers an opportunity to rid themselves of the worries and tensions that have built up over the course of a long winter. When the dancers enter the Bear Dance corral, they wear plumes symbolizing these worries. At the end of the dance, they hang these plumes on the branch of a cedar tree located at the corral’s eastern entrance, symbolically shedding their psychological burdens. Photo: U.S. PD, internet – a modern Bear Dance, Northern Ute.  {001}
Growler – below

Bear Lake Monster
The Originals Index – Resources and Hazards – Animals Index Page – Monsters and Supernatural Beings of the Old West

bear sign – 1. Some indication of the past presence/passing of a bear. Footprints, hair on a twig, scat etc.  2. (Cowboy lingo to modern) Doughnuts.  {001}

Bed Wagon – aka: hoodlum Wagon or just plain hoodlum. A wagon on a cattle drive that carried the bed rolls and other gear on a trail drive. Late in trail time, usually only on longer drives and only likely with the larger outfits. Usually this job was done by the chuckwagon. {001}

beef cattle – Cattle raised for human consumption.
The Originals Index – Cow? What Cow?

beef tea – Cattle fouled shallow water.

The Originals Index, Entertainment in the Old West – Alcohol in the Old Westbeer

Beginners Luck – (American slang c. 1897) An explanation for wins by the inexperienced.  {001}

We'wha - Zuni - Dictionary

We’wha – Zuni

belly-wash – (Cowboy lingo) weak coffee. Proper cowboy coffee should float a horseshoe.

Bellyaching – (Cowboy lingo) Complaining. (A bunkhouse hazard!)  {001}

Berdache – The Native American Berdache Tradition (aka: Two Spirit preferred in modern useage *) allowed for gender role change. A man could adopt the social role of a woman and a woman, that of a man. This was almost always a permanent change. Varied and extensive, different for each tribe which practiced it, the tradition allowed for the expression of one’s preferred way of life without dictating sexuality. Usually practiced only by males. 150+ tribes were known to have sanctioned the tradition, but only 30 groups, most of whom resided west of the Rocky Mountains, reported female berdache.
It is believed that, before the coming of the Europeans, the berdache existed in numbers which, in most cases, allowed them to inhabit their own social or cultural category within the tribe. Although they spent much of their time with women, they often had their own separate group within the village. They were usually respected and most were accorded special social status as well, gaining prestige through their spiritual or artistic abilities. Some were warriors.* As with any culture, there were some dissenters who resorted to teasing, indifference and, occasionally, scorn or contempt.
Because Native American worldviews do not typically allow for either/or comparisons, worldviews are expressed in terms of various degrees along a continuum between opposing ideas. Therefore, Native Americans did not view gender as either “male” or “female” but as varying somewhere between male or female. This allowed those born one way, but inclined to the other, to be explained and accepted. Particularly important in a world where tribal warfare and harsh environments could exact a toll a tribe’s population at any time. Every member had value.
* In modern times, considered offensive by many Native American communities because of its pejorative and non-American etymology, berdache began to fall out of use (1990’s); Two-Spirit and various tribe-specific terms (wergern, etc) are now used instead.  {001}
see also:
*Wk. 24, 06/17/1876 – Finds Them and Kills Them
Two Spirit
– below
wergen – below
Photo Gallery Index – Indian Photos – Indian Warrior Women
Thoughts on the Historical Use of the “N” Word
squaw – below

Best Average – (rodeo)  At the end of each go-round,* contestants who win each event (best ride, best time) receive prize money. Whomever wins the most money in each event for the entire rodeo wins the best average.
go-round – below

Betsy and “Old Betsy” – Common frontier nicknames for rifles.  {001}

Bezoar Stones - DictionaryBezoar Stones – Any of several types of concretions which form in the alimentary organs of various animals, usually ruminants.* These stones have long been regarded by numerous cultures to have magical or medicinal powers. Believed to protect against poison. Occasionally ground and used as a pigment. Photo: U.S. PD? internet.  {001}
*ruminant – below

bicycle soldiers
Wk. 24, 06/14/1897 – 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps

Big Deal – (mid 19th century poker slang) A game changing turn of the cards.  {001}

Big Muddy – The Mississippi River

billet – (Logging) Usually of a smaller diameter than a block or bolt. May be defined as a short piece of round or partially round wood, or as a piece split or cut from a bolt, sometimes it means a piece of a billet after it has been split. Occasionally, synonymous with bolt, particularly when the pieces are intended as firewood.  {001}
see also:
block – above
bolt – below

bilk –  1. a cheat (A gross insult to call someone in the Old West)  2. to cheat or con.  {001}

Bison Bone Trade – c. mid to late 1800’s.  {001}
The Originals Index – Cow? What Cow?Buffalo?

Bit off more than he can chew – (Cowboy lingo) Said of someone in a situation that he obviously can’t manage.  {001}

Bitters – Traditionally alcoholic preparations flavored with botanical matter, such that the end result is characterized by a bitter, sour, or bittersweet flavor. Many of the older brands were originally developed as patent medicines. Today, they are usually marketed as cocktail flavorings or perhaps digestives, sometimes with herbal properties. Most bitters contain both alcohol and water. The alcohol functioning as a solvent for botanical extracts as well as a preservative; alcoholic strength, varying widely across different brands and styles. Historically, the botanical ingredients used in preparing bitters have  consisted of aromatic herbs, bark, roots, and/or fruits for their flavor and medicinal properties. Some of the more common ingredients are cascarilla, cassia, cinchona bark, gentian and orange peel. Label – U.S, PD c. 1883.  {001}
see also:
The Originals Index – Medicinal PlantsPatent Medicine
The Originals Index, Entertainment in the Old West – Alcohol in the Old WestBitters

Blackleg – 1. A derisive term for a gambler, usually implying a cheat. 2. A swindler, a bunco artist. (in vogue in the Old West c. 1835 – 1870).  {001}

Grant-Thwarting-the-Gold-Ring - DictionaryBlack Friday – 09/24/1869 – A gold panic caused by a conspiracy between two investors, Jay Gould and his partner James Fisk (and others); aka: the Gold Ring. They attempted to corner the gold market on the New York Gold Exchange. Learning about the nature of their scheme, the Grant administration ordered the release of $4 million in gold from the U.S. Treasury. The price of gold dropped from $155 an ounce to $138, that day, crushing the Gold Ring’s corner on the market. A panic ensued on Wall Street and the country went through a few months of economic turmoil. Known as the Gilded Age, this period, was a time of great industrial growth which invited much investment, speculation and prompted shenanigans such as this one. Cartoon: U.S. PD, Currier & Ives.  {001}

Black Powder (firearms) Charcoal, sulfur and potassium nitrate [salt petre]; the original explosive, rocket fuel and projectile propellant; perhaps invented during the late Tang dynasty (9th century) in  ancient China and the only thing like it until the invention of smokeless powder and modern explosives in the nineteenth century. Black powder, is rated as a low explosive, it deflagrates [sub-sonic] rather than detonates [super-sonic] and produces about 55% of its by-product as hygroscopic solids, thus the fouling and corrosion associated with its use in firearms. It is touchier than smokeless powder to handle and store and produces considerably less energy per unit of volume. There are several modern variations and “safer” substitutes.
see also:
Smokeless Powder – below
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Firearms – Ammunition Then and NowBlack Powder

Blackdamp – (mining) When a fire burns all of the oxygen out of the air, what remains, is an unbreathable mix of carbon dioxide, nitrogen and water vapor. It is among the dangers which face rescuers after a coal mine explosion.  (001}
see also:
Whitedamp – below

Blacksmith – a metal smith, who forges, hammers, cuts and bends wrought iron or steel to create tools, weapons, utensils and a broad spectrum of other functional and artistic objects. The local blacksmith had a general knowledge of how to make and repair many things, and he could probably shoe horses, mules and oxen as well. Always one of the most valued workmen in any community.  {001}
see also:
The Originals Index – Commerce in the Old West 1909 Sears Roebuck Catalog items list.

Blacksmith – Black refers to the material, as iron was considered the black metal; and smith refers to the action and was derived from the term “smite”, meaning to strike or hit with firm blows.  {026}

Black Towns – Numerous all black communities were established in the U.S. after the Civil War, several of these were in the West.
The Originals Index – Black Communities in the Old West
Wk. 36, 09/09/1903 – Blackdom, NM
Wk. 16, 04/18/1877 – Nicodemus, KS
Players – Timelines – Timelines A-L – Black History Timeline

Blankets for Peace – Arizona c. 1870’s: The Federal Government via the Indian Agents.  {001}

Blasting Powder – A formulation variant of Black Powder. Used in construction, mining and such, before the advent of modern explosives.  {001}
Black Powder – above

blattin’ cart – (Cowboy lingo)  The calf-wagon on a trail drive.  {001}

blaze – 1. A white mark on a horse’s forehead.*  2. Originally, marking a tree with an axe. Removing a few square inches of bark, from a series of trees,  at eye level, proceeding along a travel route, for the purpose of finding the same way back. It also became a method of showing those who followed were to go. Thus, “Blazing a trail”.  {001}
see also:
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Animals Index Page – Mammals – Horse Colors

Blazing a Trail – Marking a trail for others to follow. While the original practice as described in the above article was in common usage, there were many other way to accomplish the task. Marking a trail could be as subtle as the bending or breaking of branches, the placement of sticks or rocks. Rock cairns were used in the often tree-less southwest. On the prairie, Bison shoulder blades with information scratched, painted, etc. were called “Indian signboards“.  Finally, the term came into more generic usage, not necessarily meaning marking a real trail by physical means.  {001}

Blinds – (Cowboy lingo)  A bronc buster’s horse blindfold, usually leather. Used while getting the saddle on a difficult horse.  {001}

BLM – A government agency.
see: Bureau of Land Management – below

blood mark – Found only on flea bitten gray horses, they can appear anywhere on a horse’s body but are best known for appearing on the shoulder area. The mark is not gray like the rest of the horse, it is another color, usually red (chestnut) which gives the marking its name. Sometimes called “bloody shoulder marks.” or “bloody shoulder mark” no matter where they appear on the body.  {001}
The Originals Index – Horses – Horse ColorsFlea Bitten

blot a brand – Defacing or changing a brand so the original is unintelligible.  It can be over branded with a grid to just blot it completely out. A running iron can be used to modify the existing brand into something else. L can be made into 4, P, S and / can all be made into 8, F into B and so on. Sometimes all you have to do is add something. It takes a Brand Artist* to do it right.  {001}

The old story goes like this:
The nestor, Brown, branded his cow B.
His neighbor stole the cow and changed the brand to B4.
The big rancher’s cowboys took the cow and re-branded it B4U.
The rustler’s got it and they marked it B4U2.
Never changed a thing with a runnin’ iron, just added to it. – Doc

brand – below
*Brand Artist – below
nestor – below
running iron – below

Blood Quantum Laws
see: Indian Blood Lawsbelow

Blow in – (Cowboy lingo)  1. to arrive.  2. to spend all your pay.  {001}

blow out – (Cowboy lingo)  1. A big celebration/event, a good feed.  2. (mining)   A gas explosion in a mine (usually a coal mine – coal dust or methane gas).  {001}

Blue Norther – aka: Texas Norther. A fast moving cold front originating in the Canadian north (arctic air). Usually with strong winds, and dark blue or “black” skies. Depending on the time of year, temperatures immediately preceding a Texas Norther can be 85 ° or even 90 ° (F) under bright sun in nearly-calm conditions. Just before, the severe cold front brings the sleet and snow that can send temperatures plummeting by 20 or 30 degrees in minutes, causing the windchill to plunge into the teens. Midwestern U. S. plains states lack any natural geographic barriers to protect them from these storms which can occur multiple times per year. Typically, most Blue Northers reach their apex midway through Texas and don’t move as far south as Mexico. Photo: U.S. PD? internet.  {001}
For some historical reference look up the Great Blue Norther of 1911, you will get the picture… Doc

bluff –  1. An alternative name for poker. (c. 1844)  2. Meaning to make an opponent think you have better hand than you actually have at cards.  3. Implying by expression or action that you have more going for you than you actually have; could be in  a gunfight, fist fight or business, etc. (c.1845).  4. A blinder or blinker for a horse.  5. Having a good natured outspoken manner, abrupt or frank.  6. There are numerous other meanings for this versatile word…  {001}

bluff – 1. A high steep bank, as by a ravine, river, the sea, or a plain.  2. A cliff with a broad face.  3. grove or clump of trees on a plain.  {001}

Boar taint – An undesirable taste and odor of the meat from sexually mature male hogs; released when the fat is heated. Found in only a small minority of pigs, caused by androstenone and skatole concentrations stored in the fat tissues of the animal after sexual maturity. Today, usually controlled through breeding and diet management.  {001}

Caboose RGS 0402 1940 - Dictionarybobber – (RR)  An old railroad term for a caboose (waycar). (I think more a term for these little ones. – Doc) Photo: U.S. PD c. 1940.  {001}
see also:
caboose – below)
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation Photos – Railroads in the West

bob-tailed – (Cowboy lingo)  An animal, horse, cow, etc. whose tail hair has been trimmed. Usually cut straight across. This provides temporary, highly visible identification of a single animal or a group in the herd; maybe for dipping, medicating, animals not for sale, etc.  {001}
see also:
brand – above
dewlap; docking; ear marks; ear tags; long-tailed & waddle – below

bob-tail guard – (Cowboy lingo)  The first guard of the night on a trail drive.  {001}

bob war – (Texan)  Barbed wire.
Wk. 47, 11/24/1874

bois de vache – cow pies, cow wood, buffalo chips, prairie oak.  {001}
Buffalo chips – below

bolide – aka: fireball – Meteoric fireballs reaching apparent magnitude −14 or brighter are called bolides.  Astronomers often use “bolide” to identify an exceptionally bright fireball, particularly one that explodes (detonating fireballs). The term may also be used to mean a fireball which creates audible sounds.  {001}
see also:
The Originals Index – Native American Tribes –
Native American Pre-History – Destroyed by a Comet
Just for Fun Pages – Strange Things in Old West Skies

bolt – (Logging)  Pieces of a log which has been bucked into specific short lengths less than 8 feet (2.4 m). Traditionally, bolts were split into wood shingles, treenails, clapboards, etc. They may be more specifically known as peeler, shingle, stave or pulpwood bolts.  {001}
see also:
buck sawyer – below

The Skull and Bones Society – below

Bone Orchard – A cemetery.
Photo Gallery Index – Pushin’ Up Daisies

Bone Yard – (Cowboy lingo) 1. A cemetery*.  2. Well away from the ranch house (and down wind) a dry wash or a “good” spot to leave any dead animals to birds, coyotes and bugs.  3. Today, where all the dead machinery is left to rust.
see also:
* Photo Gallery Index – Pushin’ Up Daisies

boot – (1) The leather covered compartment at the rear of a stagecoach, (2) The space under the drivers seat. (3) A rifle scabbard of either canvas or leather  (4) A piece canvas or leather extending from the dashboard to just below a passengers eye level; used on such as a small buggy to keep kicked up mud, or rain from driver and passenger. (5) “Extra” money added to sweeten a deal. (6) A foot, planted swiftly in a productive place…
see also:
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation Photos

Boss of the Plains – Designed by John B. Stetson in 1867 to meet the demands of the American West, the original natural color beaver fur-felt hat was waterproof and shed rain. It had four-inch crown and brim and a plain strap band. The high crown provided insulation on the top of the head, a wide, stiff brim provided shelter from both sun and precipitation for the face, neck and shoulders. On the underside, the hat included a sweatband and lining to protect the hat. The telltale small bow at the back of the sweatband, served a practical purpose even as it memorialized previous designs. Overall, the hat was durable and lightweight. The straight-sided, round cornered, flat brimmed original Boss of the Plains design dominated for about twenty years.
This design is the original “cowboy hat” and certainly the reason that cowboy hats came to be generically called “Stetsons”. Stetson advertising of the times, featured a cowboy watering his horse with water carried in the crown. In some places, a high quality hat in good condition was viewed as a status symbol.
It took about 42 beaver belly pelts to produce a high quality hat (20X+). Because of the tight weave of most Stetson hats, it really was waterproof enough to be used as a bucket. An old story tells of a cowboy crossing a long dry stretch of prairie. His canteen sprang a leak but he saved his drinking water by carrying it in his Stetson. (Plenty believable for me, I’ve watered more than one horse with my hat and put out a fire or two as well. – Doc) Photo: U.S. PD 2009, oo0(GoldTrader)0oo.  {001}
Wk. 07, 02/18/1906 – John B. Stetson

bottom dollar – The end of your money. c. 1882

bottom tools
Hardy Tools – below

The Originals Index, Entertainment in the Old West – Alcohol in the Old Westbourbon

Bowie Knife – A robust, large knife, usually with a drop point, sharp on the upper edge. No edge on maybe half or more of the top of the blade (spine). Blade may thicken towards the front and might have a blood groove. A fighter for sure and a fair thrower, but also a practical and useful tool. One of the legends says Rezin or Jim Bowie fashioned the first one from a broken sword (must have been one big, heavy sword, if so!) The design is likely quite a bit older than the Bowie boys.
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Edged WeaponsBowie Knife


box – The stage drivers seat.  {001}

Birdcage Boxes - DictionaryBox House – A “theater” where there would be the usual general seating on the main floor facing the stage. The entertainment would be risque’ to say the least. Curtained private boxes above, veil  whatever happens up there from the view of those below as the ‘Doves of the Roost’ ply their trade. Photo: U.S. PD 2007 Hawkeye58 – These are typical “boxes” at the Birdcage Theater in Tombstone, AZ.  {001}
Wk. 51, 12/21/1881

Train Braking Detail - DictionaryBrakeman – RR – In the days before air brakes, a railroad locomotive didn’t have the braking power to completely control a train. Back then, each car had its own brakes and it was the job of the brakeman to run along the foot boards, on top of the moving train, and set the brakes on each car in response to the engineer’s whistle signals. The train running perhaps + or – 20-25 mph. The photo shows the foot boards on top of the caboose, the gap between the cars (jumped) and the brake hand wheel on the boxcar. This was a day and night, all-weather job! Also the trains go-fer, he dealt with car coupling and uncoupling (link and pin), hot boxes, etc. A difficult, hazardous, very physical job. If he set a brake too tight and pulled a flat on a wheel, he had to buy the wheel, $45, a month’s wages.
Back in the day, on each end, maybe 50 or 100 yards before a tunnel, there was a horizontal beam suspended across the track at the height of the tallest cars, plus the height of a standing man and a few feet more. Maybe half a dozen or more knotted ropes hung from the beam, centered on the train, spread a little wider than the foot boards and hanging down to three or four feet above them. They were there to tell the brakeman, at night, that a tunnel was coming and he should lie down, maybe get his bandana over his face and eyes and pull his hat down low. These were steam trains, the ceiling would be low and there would likely be a lot of smoke and cinders…
Also, think mountain wintertime on top of those cars and TYH! to the brave and bold the men who did it!  Photo: U.S. PD Doc.  {001}
see also:
Caboose – below
Link and Pin coupler – below

XIT_Brands - DictionaryBranding Cows - Dictionarybrand (branding): The principal mark of ownership of a stock animal usually applied to an animal’s skin with a hot iron (today, sometimes with chemicals or dyes). The variety is amazing and reading them an art. Brands are are valuable property, some having been belonged to a family or a ranch for many generations. The brand inspector can always be found around livestock operations where animals are transported or sold. Photos: LH U.S. PD? internet branding cows; RH 2002 Leaflet, Display of local brands at the XIT Museum in Dalhart, Texas.  {001}
see also:
bob-tail – above
Mustang Freeze Brand – below

Brand Inspector – below
dewlap, ear marks, ear tags, waddle – below
Road Brand – below

Branding ax – (Logging) A tool used for marking ownership of a log.

Brand Artist – (Cowboy lingo)  A rustler who has a special gift with a runnin’ iron. The old time Aussie station men called these fellows “duffers”.
Wk. 25, 06/21/ 1880 – Camp Rucker

Brand Inspector – Men hired by cattleman’s associations to check the authenticity of brands and verify ownership of cattle, at sale, before trailing or shipment and other appropriate times.
brand – above
Pyrography below

brave maker – whiskey

The Originals Index, Entertainment in the Old West – Alcohol in the Old Westbrandy

break the barrier – (rodeo)  In calf roping, breaking the rope barrier in pursuit before the the calf clears the chute (10 second penalty).

brig – (nautical)  The jail or holding cell on a ship.  {001}

brig – (nautical)  A two-masted sailing vessel which is principally square-rigged on both masts.  {001}
Square Rig – below

brigantine – (nautical)  A two-masted sailing vessel with a fully square-rigged foremast and at least two sails on the main mast: a square topsail and a gaff sail mainsail (behind the mast). The main mast is the second and taller of the two masts.  {001}
Square Rig – below

broomie – (Cowboy lingo)  A wild horse [from broom-tail].

brothel – a whorehouse.
The Originals Index – Entertainment in the Old West – Brothels, Saloons, Dance Halls, Gambling

Brother Jonathon – Dating from at least 17th century England, Brother Jonathan developed in the early American Republic as a good-natured parody of all New England. Widely popularized by the humor magazine Yankee Notions and a weekly newspaper called Brother Jonathan. Outside New England, “Brother Jonathan” was usually depicted in editorial cartoons and patriotic posters  as a long-winded New Englander, dressed in striped trousers, a somber black coat, and a stove-pipe hat. Inside New England, “Brother Jonathan” was shown as an enterprising and active businessman who blithely boasted of Yankee conquests for the Universal Yankee Nation. The phrase “we must consult Brother Jonathan” is attributed to Gen. George Washington to celebrate the part that the northern colonies played in gaining independence from Great Britain. After 1865, the garb of Brother Jonathan was emulated by Uncle Sam, a common personification of the government of the re-united, United States.  {001}
Wk. 31, 07/27/1865 – Brother Jonathon

brush popper – (Cowboy lingo)  The cowboy who went after the cattle in the Texas mesquite thickets.  {001}

Bubonic plague – a disease.
The Originals Index – DiseaseBubonic Plague

buck – 1. The male of some animal species, ex.: antelopes, deer (most species), goats, hares, rabbits, and rats. (Male Elk are Bulls – Even though they are really Red Deer and a Moose (Bulls) is actually an elk.*)  2. An animal motion (bucking). Lowering the head, raising the hindquarters into the air and kicking out with the hind legs. Likely derived from a defense mechanism against predators, such as mountain lions that attack by leaping on an animal’s back. Sometimes it’s just an exercise in high spirits. Numerous other reasons. 3. A derisive old-time name for black and Indian males. {001}
* The Originals Index – Resources and Hazards –
Animals Index Page – Mammals Elk, Moose
– below

buck and ball – A fighting load for muzzle loading firearms. Just what it says: buckshot loaded with a ball or a bullet (below the ball, otherwise you would need to load a wad above the shot). A common load in older big bore, single shot cavalry pistols but effective/devastating in any firearm large enough to carry a sufficient load.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos Index – Firearms – Mikes Revolvers Page 1 – Top of page
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos Index – Firearms – HandgunsLeMatt Revolver
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos Index – Firearms – Ammunition Then and Now

bucking horse – aka: bronco, broncho, and roughstock.  Any gender or breed of horse with a propensity to buck. Saddle broncs are usually heavy bodied athletes of great strength and endurance, whereas bareback broncs are typically smaller and faster.  {001}

buck nun – (Cowboy lingo)  A bachelor.  {001}

buck sawyer – aka: bucker. (logging)  This lumberjack completes delimbing and cuts the logs of felled tree into logs of the desired length for various uses. Significant value can be lost by sub-optimal bucking because logs destined for different uses may well have their own value and specifications for length, diameter, and defects. Cutting from the top down is overbucking and from the bottom up is underbucking. This is a job for a very experienced and skilled individual. In modern times this job has been combined with the feller.  {001}
see also:
feller – below

buckshot – Larger shotgun pellets originally used to hunt big game such as deer (thus the name) but quickly discovered to be very effective on humans. #1 buckshot is .24 in. and the legendary 00 (“double ought”) equals .33 in [Nine would be a normal load for a 12 bore). For a graphic look at the effect of a charge of buckshot to a man*…  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Hangings and Shootings (Caution!) – Bill Doolin
Weapons Photos –Ammunition Then and Nowshotshell comparison photo

buffalo chips – Heat source of the early American plains, with an estimated 60 million depositors. After about the mid-1880’s you were gonna need cow chips or wood for your fire because the Buffalo were pretty well gone.  {001}
see also:
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – MammalsBison
The Originals Index – Cow? What cow?Buffalo?
The Originals Index –  TrailsThe Oregon Trail

Buffalo Robe – trade item: The tanned hide of a bison (buffalo), hair on, ready for trade.  {001}
The Originals Index – Resources and Hazards – Animals – MammalsBison
The Originals Index – Trade in the Old West – Commerce in the Old West
1830’s – 1840’s – Bents Old Fort

Buffalo Runners – Those who who hunted buffalo (bison) by riding alongside them on horseback and attempting to shoot and kill the speeding animal. An extremely dangerous practice.  {001}
Fuke – below

Buffalo SoldiersU.S. Cavalry
Timelines Index – Timelines A-L – Buffalo Soldiers Timeline

buffaloed – (1). baffled or confused. (2). caused to back down in a confrontation. Enlightened marshals, such as Wyatt Earp, who had learned that they did not wish to endure the fuss and proceedings that accompanied shootings, simply subdued recalcitrant miscreants by whacking them over the head with a six-gun.*  As in, “Wyatt didn’t say a damn word, he just pulled that long barreled pistol and buffaloed him”.  {001}
*(I’m guessing that action, then resulted in #1, # 2 or both of the above, in the recipient. – Doc)

bull – (1). A male of the bovine species (bison, cow, etc.). Also: camels, elk and moose, etc. (2). A more genteel way of describing the concoction of a fabulist without using the entire word of reference.  {001}

bull prick – (mining) 1. A single-jack hammer. 2. A miner’s hand drill.  {001}

Bullwhacker – The driver of a bull train usually walked alongside the wagons and used a long whip to communicate with his teams.  {001}

The Originals Index, Entertainment in the Old West – Alcohol in the Old West – bumbo

bummers – (Civil War) Rogue Union soldiers who (against standing orders) roamed the countryside to intentionally terrorize and loot Confederate civilians. The term came about during Sherman’s “March to the Sea” in late 1864.  {001}

Burdizzo – A castration device, used primarily on farm animals such as cattle and sheep, which employs a large clamp designed to break the blood vessels leading into the testicles. Once the blood supply to the testicles is lost, testicular necrosis occurs, and the testicles shrink, soften, and eventually deteriorate completely. When the device is used, the operator crushes the spermatic cords one at a time, leaving a space in between in order to maintain an interruption of blood-flow to the scrotum. Flyer: PD 1920 Wellcome Library, London – Photo: PD 2006 Jenniecares, a 9 in. clamp.  {001}
see also:
Castration – below
docking – below

Bureau of Land Management – (BLM). Its roots go back thru numerous land managment ordinances and agencies:
The Land Ordinance of 1785 and the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. These laws provided for the survey and settlement of the lands that the original 13 colonies ceded to the federal government after the American Revolution.
Later there was a need for more specific land management:
Office of the Secretary of State (1796-1812) – administered land patents .
Office of the Secretary of War (1789-1812) – War Department – Military land warrants .
General Land Office (1812), when the warrant lands were used to encourage homesteading and westward migration.
Ordnance Department (1821-46), supervision of lead and copper mines,.
General Land Office (1849-1946), within the Department of the Interior.
Division of Grazing Control (1934-35).
Bureau of Land Management, (1946), U.S. Department of the Interior. A consolidation of the General Land Office and the U.S. Grazing Service. Responsible for administering federal lands with oversight of 247.3 million acres, governing one eighth of the country’s landmass. Headquartered in Grand Junction, Colorado.  {001}

Burning Fluid – aka: Burning Oil
Camphine – below

Burro milk – (cowboy lingo) Nonsense or absurd…

Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie – aka: The Cowboy’s Lament, The Dying Cowboy, Oh, Bury Me Not, Bury Me Out on the Lone Prairie. Perhaps the most famous cowboy ballad of all time. The membership of the Western Writers of America chose it as one of the Top 100 Western songs of all time. The earliest written version of the song was published by John Lomax in “Cowboy Songs and Other Frontier Ballads” (1910). First recorded by Carl T. Sprague, released on a 10″ single through Victor Records (1926). The melody and lyrics were collected and published in Carl Sandburg’s American Songbag (1927).
However, the tune we sing today was not the original melody. Thought to be from North Carolina, the current version appeared in print in 1932. The most likely original source is an English sailor’s ballad called, “The Sailor’s Grave” aka: The Ocean Burial. Written by Edwin Hubbell Chapin, put to music by George N. Allen (1839). The first line was: “O bury me not in the deep, deep sea.”
There is another claim: The Uvalde Leader-News, Uvalde, TX, (1928) suggests that the origin of the song was the small town of Lohn, TX. The article claims the song was originally about the Lohn Prairie, but later changed to “Lone Prairie.” (Nice try. – Doc)
The song has been recorded by numerous artists over the years.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Pushin up Daisies

Button Blanket - CA - DictionaryButton Blanket – A functional as well as decorative/social art form developed by Northwest coastal tribes after the materials: woolen blankets, wool flannel and mother-of-pearl buttons from China, became available through trade with the fur companies in the 1840’s-50’s*. Historically, the “ground” of a button blanket was a dark blue, Hudson’s Bay trade blanket, bordered on three sides by a wide band Button Blanket - Dictionaryof scarlet wool flannel. Centered, in this frame, would be the heraldic design of the important person who would own and wear the blanket. The crest could be fabric appliqué, with or without buttons, or created entirely from buttons. The preferred button, was made from the colorful iridescent saltwater pearl shell. Less colorful freshwater shell buttons were also used. Today, the form has blossomed in style and popularity. Photos: U.S. PD, CA museum.  {001}
see also:
The Originals Index – Expeditions The Fur Trade
The Originals Index – Commerce in the Old WestThe Fur Trade

Bunco Artist – One who runs a swindle of some sort. Doc Holliday, among others, was occasionally accused of such behavior.  {001}

bushwhack – To ambush or shoot from behind.  {001}

buzzard – 1. If we ain’t talkin’ birds here; it’s a put-down or an insult.  2. If its birds, its probably this one…*  {001}
*The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – BirdsTurkey Vulture.

buzzard bait – Human or critter, something only fit for the vultures to eat. Could be said with a smile, but sometimes they mean it.  {001}
see also:
buzzard – above


caballo – (Sp.) Horse.

Cabinet Card – Popular, beginning in the early 1870’s, a photo print (4.5′, 110 mm ) by 6.5′, (170 mm), mounted on a cardboard back. They remained popular into the early 20th century. Many of the remaining photos of Old West Characters and Places, come to us as cabinet cards.  {001}
Albumen Print – above
Carte de Visite – below
Photography in the Old West – below

caboose – 1. A towed wagon.  2. see: cooney – below.  3. Nautical (obsolete): The galley on the open deck of a British Man ‘o War c. 1850’s. The actual origin of the word may be earlier from Dutch or low German.  {001}

Caboose RGW 0586 - Dictionarycaboose – 1. RR – aka: bobber, crummy, waycar. The last car on a freight or cattle train. The train’s “office”. This is where the Conductor keeps his paperwork and the brakemen take shelter from the elements. In the “old” days, a train crew lived with their train and had their own caboose; which was assigned to a train with its crew. These cars were often spruced up a bit  to be a more civilized home on the road. Later, a crew and a caboose were assigned to a train separately and the caboose became just another austere working environment.   Photo: U.S. PD Doc, a “large” narrow gauge caboose.  {001}
see also:
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation Photos – Railroads in the West

cackleberries – chicken eggs

CahokiaFrom about 700 CE to 1400 CE, the Mississippian culture flourished on this site. It was once one of the greatest cities in the world, well before European explorers landed in the Americas. Named by modern archeologists, we don’t know what it was called by its original inhabitants  (located across the Mississippi River from present-day St. Louis, MO). Illustration: U.S. PD? internet – Cahokia {001}
The Originals Index – Native American Tribes – Native American Pre-History
The Mississippian Culture

cahoots – in partnership/in calusion with, etc.  {001}

Caleb – Old Mountain Man name for the Grizzly Bear.  {001}
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Animals Index Page – MammalsGrizzly Bear

calf – A baby bovine (cow).  {001}

calf rope – (Cowboy lingo)  Words to acknowledge defeat, IE: I surrender.
(It was what I was taught from the git go. – Doc)

calf-wagon – aka: blattin’ cart (Cowboy lingo) After about 1876-77, some drovers (of those who drove mixed herds (steer, cow & calf) on a cattle drive, included a wagon to haul newly trail-born calves. Usually given to farmers/settlers along the trail (and a few, no doubt, to the cusi). Previously, calves had been killed because they couldn’t keep up with the steadily moving adult herd.  {001}

Caliber – (calibre) Relating to firearms: the approximate internal diameter of the barrel, or the diameter of the projectile it fires, usually shown in millimeters, or in hundredths or thousandths of an inch, shown in terms of a decimal fraction. When the barrel diameter is given in inches, the abbreviation “cal” can be used, such as “.38 cal.” When caliber is expressed in millimeters, it is noted such as “9mm pistol.” In the U. S., a rifled barrel is measured between opposing lands or grooves; groove measurements are common in cartridge designations originating here, while land measurements are more common elsewhere. Good performance requires a bullet to closely match the groove diameter of a barrel to ensure a good seal.
Today, cartridges and cartridge firearms are generally referred to by the cartridge name, grouped together based on bore diameter. For example, a firearm might be described as a ‘.30 caliber rifle’, which could be any of a wide range of cartridges using a roughly .30 cal. projectile, including such as 30-30 and 30-06; or a “.22 rimfire”, referring to any rimfire cartridge using a .22-cal. projectile. Firearm calibers smaller than .17 or larger than .50 (4.5 to 12.7 mm) exist, but are not common.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Ammunition Then and Now
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Firearms Oddities

calico – 1. (horse color) Usually a pinto.  2. Cotton fabric with a small, all-over floral print. First imported into the United States from Lancashire, England (c. 1780’s).  In Europe, the word calico, meant the fabric. In the U.S. the term referred to the printed design.  3. (Cowboy lingo) A lady/woman.  {001}
see also:
The Originals Index – Horses – Horse Colors
Fabrics of the Old West – below

calico fever – (Cowboy lingo)  Lovesick. It ain’t pretty!

Californio (plural Californios): Those descended from Spanish and Mexican settlers; originally applied by and to the Spanish-speaking residents of Las Californias during the periods of Spanish California and Mexican California, between 1683 and 1848. In practice, it became a term used to designate a person of Spanish, Mexican, Mestizo, or Indigenous Californian origins. While Californios are part of the larger U. S. Chicano/Mexican-American/Hispano community, they are different from the population of Mexican Americans which arrived after the Mexican–American War and the later Mexican Revolution. {001}
Hispanos, Mexican Americans, Tejanos – below

California sorrel – (horse color) Old term for a palomino.  {001}
The Originals – Horses – Horse Colors

Calotype – The first practical photographic process to create a negative that could generate multiple copies. Patented by Englishman William Henry Fox Talbot in 1841.  {001}
see also:
Photography in the Old West – below

calumet – the french (trappers) name for an Indian peace pipe; likely the oldest white man term for the implement.  {001}
peace pipe
– below

Campesino – (Sp) An encompassing term, which includes: small and medium-size farmers, women farmers, agricultural workers, indigenous people, landless people and migrants from around the world.  {001}

Camphene –  Should not be confused with camphine (next article), the burning fluid lamp fuel. Today, the chemical, camphene, is commonly used in cannabis based creams, salves and lotions to treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. It volatilizes readily at room temperature and has a pungent smell. It is NOT involved in any way with antique lighting. Clarification is provided here because the antique lamp trade seems not to understand the difference.  {001}

Camphine Lamp & Whale Oil Lamp c. 1835-45 - Dictionary Camphine – The first fuel used in burning fluid lamps. It was the the trade name of a purified spirit of turpentine, prepared by distilling turpentine with quicklime, then blending 1 part purified turpentine with three parts 93 to 94% grain alcohol; with a touch of camphor to give a nice smell.. Camphine delivered a brilliant white light (and was sweet smelling) when burned in a proper lamp. To prevent smoking, special lamps (Vesta lamps) were designed and constructed for the marketplace, they provided the strong draft required to burn the fuel cleanly.
Developed as a fuel for oil lamps by Isaiah Jennings of New York in 1830, patented as “burning fluid ” by Henry Porter of Bangor, MA (1835), it became “Porter’s Burning Fluid“.
A typical camphine lamp has wick tubes (two or more) forming a V, each tube with a cap, resembling a thimble, to extinguish the light and to prevent evaporation when the lamp is not in use. Far more volatile than Whale oil* or lard, camphine lamp accidents, the attendant fires and some deaths were noted in the press from time to time. Double burner, camphine lamps are often offered as “Whale Oil lamps” in the antique trade.
Whale oil lamps could be upgraded to use the new fuel by installing camphine burners (2), but the combination of a more flammable fluid and the larger fonts of whale oil lamps sometimes caused lamps to explode. These issues were not common and the product was used throughout the nation. Camphine became the major transition fuel for American lighting in the period of roughly the late 1830’s through the mid-1860’s. as America moved from whale oil to kerosene.  Photo: U.S. PD – LH – Camphine lamp, RH – Whale Oil Lamp c. 1835-40.  {001}
see also:
Lard Oil
– below
Kerosene – below
* Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – A Whale of a Tale About Oil

cantle – The raised, rear part of a saddle.

Canton Asylum for Insane Indians, aka: Hiawatha Insane Asylum (1902 – 1934).
Congress passed a bill creating the only ‘Institution for Insane Indians’ in the United States (1898). The first administrator, Oscar S. Gifford assumed office during construction of the first building. The first patient, a thirty-three year old Sioux man, came directly to Canton, South Dakota from the Santee reservation in Nebraska (12/31/1902), the official reception beginning in January of 1903. Between 1902 and 1934, approximately 374 Indians from 50 tribes were sent to the asylum. The names of 120 inmates who died there, were inscribed on a plaque. Not all of the Indians at Canton were insane: alcohol, excessive criminal activity, interfering with business interests or opposing the government might be deemed insanity. Odd behavior or being culturally misunderstood might do it as well. Over the years everything about the institution deteriorated. By 1934, Canton Asylum was deemed “hopelessly out-of-date and unsuitable for providing the modern and scientific therapeutics that mental illness required” and was therefore abolished. Photo: U. S. PD pre-1923.  {001}

caps – 1. percussion caps for cap and ball firearms.*  2. The offshoot of the Maynard Tape Ignition System used for children’ s toy guns.**  {001}
*Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Ammunition Then and NowPercussion Lock
**Just for Fun Pages – Cap Guns and More

Canyon Diablo Crater – aka: Barringer Crater, Franklin’s Folly, Meteor Crater – West of Winslow , AZ.  {001}
The Originals Index – Landmarks and RegistersBarringer Crater

capon – (livestock)  A rooster that has been castrated to improve the quality of its flesh for food. They develop a smaller head, comb and wattle than those of a normal rooster.

Capote – A traditional winter garment made with a Hudson’s Bay point blanket.*. Early in the fur trade,** French Canadian voyageurs and soon Native Americans were making hooded coats from wool blankets. You can still get the blanket and the pattern to make one!   {001}
*Hudson’s Bay point blanket – below
**The Originals Index – Expeditions The Fur Trade
**The Originals Index – Commerce in the Old WestThe Fur Trade

Captain – 1. The leader of a wagon train, hand cart company or the Trail Boss on a cattle drive. 2. A military rank: Army – above the lieutenants and below major. Navy: above lieutenant commander and below the first admiral. 3. The commander of a vessel, regardless of rank.  {001}

carboy – aka: carbuoy
demijohn – below

Card sharp – (American slang) A shortened form of card-sharper. (c. 1859)

carnivore – An animal anatomically and physiologically adapted to eating the flesh of other animals.

carpet baggers – Northerners with a profit motive who came south after the Civil War.  (c. late 1860’s -70’s) {001}

carrion – The decaying flesh of dead animals.

carry all – A lightweight covered carriage which could hold several passengers.  {001}

carvin’ scallops – (Cowboy lingo) Notching a pistol grip to represent a killing.

Casa Grande – (Sp.)  1. A grand/great house.  2. (Cowboy lingo) The ranch owners home or the ranch house of a big spread.

Cash in your chips – (Cowboy Lingo) to die.

carroting process for beaver pelts – The chemical scouring of wool. In its natural state animal fur has inadequate felting properties. Therefore, preliminary to the formation of a suitable fur felt to be used in the manufacture of such articles as hats, it must be subjected to a chemical treatment to impart the requisite felting properties. An aqueous solution of mercuric nitrate in nitric acid is used. The nitric acid acts simultaneously as an acid and an an oxidizing agent, producing a. hydrolyzing and oxidizing reaction on the animal fibers, while the mercuric nitrate has a catalytic action on the oxidizing process. At certain concentrations of these two reagents, felting properties can usually be imparted to the fur. The procedure is to brush the carroting solution into the fur while the latter is still on the skin and allow it to dry. Then, the fur is removed from the skin and made into felt.
This process is the source of the mercury poisoning common to hatters and the genesis of the folk term, “Mad as a hatter”.  {001}

Carte de Visite – A small photo print (2.125′ by 3.25′) on albumen paper mounted on a calling card (2.25′ by 4′). The process requires a glass-plate negative, from which multiple copies can then be made. Patented in France by  photographer André Adolphe Eugène Disdéri in 1854. The phenomenon swept the world as “cardomania” in the 1860’s; guests and visitors traded them, kept albums, collected photographs of prominent persons, etc. Not such a big deal in the West and supplanted by the “Cabinet Card” in the 1870’s  {001}
Albumen Print – above
Cabinet Card – above
Photography in the Old West – below

casts a big loop – aka: swings a big loop (Cowboy lingo) If that is said of someone, he is being called a rustler.

Castoreum - Dictionarycastoreum – a yellowish secretion of the castor sac (a scent gland) collected from both male & female beaver. Classically used in medicine [rarely modern], perfume manufacture and as a food additive. A modern trapper can expect $60 -$80 lb. (dry weight, good quality), in 2022. Photo: U.S. PD, 2012 H. Zell  {001}
see also:
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Animals Index Page – MammalsBeaver
The Originals – Expeditions The Fur Trade
The Originals – Trade in the Old West – Commerce in the Old WestThe Fur Trade

Castration – (livestock) aka: gonadectomy, is the removal of the testicles from a male animal. Livestock may be castrated when used for food; to increase growth, weight, or both, of individual male animals. Male cattle are castrated to improve fattening and docility in feedlots or for use as oxen. Castration may be used to reduce or prevent other manifestations of sexual behavior such as defending the herd from humans and other threats, to reduce intra-herd aggression (e.g. fighting between individuals or groups of entire (uncastrated) males of a species); or to reduce other consequences of sexual behavior that may make animal husbandry more difficult, such as boundary/fence/enclosure destruction when attempting to get to nearby females of the species. Male horses are usually castrated (gelded) because stallions can be aggressive and troublesome. The same applies to male mules, even though they are sterile. Other domestic animals are usually castrated to avoid unwanted or uncontrolled reproduction.
see also:
goodnighting – below

Catalogue woman – A mail order bride.
Mail Order Bride – below

cat fight – A fight between women.

cat house – A whorehouse.

cats-paw – To be  used as a tool, a dupe used for someone else’s gain is to be made a “cat’s paw. From the fable, The Monkey and the Cat, wherein a monkey persuades a cat to pull chestnuts out of a fire promising the cat a share which is never received.  {001}

catch dogs – Dogs trained to ferret out and “catch” wild cattle. Sometimes biting them on the nose or ears, nipping hocks, with some even capable of throwing the cow to the ground and holding it down until human help arrived to control the animal and gather it. (Old time Texas)  {001}

cattle lick – aka: cow lick (Cowboy lingo)  A place where cattle go to lick salt. Could be naturally occurring or where the cowboy’s put out salt and mineral blocks.

caught in his own loop – (Cowboy lingo) He’s tripped himself up, failed at something; probably important.

caught short – (Cowboy lingo) Unarmed at a very inconvenient time.

cavvy – (Sp. origin: caballada) aka: Remuda: An outfits string of saddle horses.

Celerity Coach – An Abbot & Downing “mud wagon”.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation PhotosHooves, Travois & Wheels – 3rd photo
Wk. 28, o7/09/1857 – “The Granddaddy of ’em All!”

cemetery – boothill; bone orchard; bury patch; marble orchard, plantin’ ground.
Photo Gallery Index – Pushin’ Up Daisies

Centerfire Cartridges – Almost all pistol, rifle, and shotgun ammunition used today is centerfire, meaning a cartridge with the primer located in the center of the cartridge case head. Unlike rimfire cartridges, the primer is a separate and replaceable component. In all but the smallest cartridge sizes and with the exception of a few .17 and .22 caliber pistol and rifle cartridges, small-bore shotgun cartridges (birdshot, snakeshot), and a handful of antique, mostly obsolete cartridges, centerfire cartridges have supplanted rimfire worldwide. Photo: U.S. PD ? Internet – Fired cases, centerfire (L) and rimfire (R)  {001}
Rimfire Cartridges – below
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos Index – Ammunition Then and Now Centerfire Cartridges
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos Index –Hand Guns
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos Index – Long Guns

center fire rig – A saddle with the cinch in the middle under the seat.

Central Overland California & Pike’s Peak Express Company – Operators of The Pony Express.  {001}
Timelines – Timelines M-Z – Pony Express Timeline

Changing Woman (Navajo)
Just for fun PagesMonsters and Supernatural Beings of the Old West

chaps – (pronounced “shaps”) from the Spanish – chaparreras, chaparajos, chaparejos. Leather, usually open seat, leggings worn to protect against things that might poke a riders legs, They might be made of almost any kind of leather (without or with the hair or wool), with, called woolies, of course. I’ve seen some nice hair-on bear hide “woolies.) Often made with pockets on the thighs, decorated with conchos or fringed. They come in two basic styles: chinks (armitas) [lighter and cooler to wear] which traditionally ended at the top of high boots but now more likely at the knees in modern rodeo; and shotguns which usually run down to the top of the foot.  Batwings are shotguns with wide wings which lay back and help protect the horse’s flanks in bad brush. (heavy and hot).
It’s possible, and likely, that the Mexican vaqueros copied the leather leggings they saw the Indians wearing and further adapted them to their needs.  {001}

Charlie – Another of the names for a stage driver.  {001)

Charlie Taylor – A butter substitute made of fat and molasses.  {001}

chaser – (logging)  Chasers removed the chokers (see next entry) once the logs had been dragged to the landing area by the yarder. Usually an entry-level position on a logging crew. {001}
see also:
yarder – below

choker – (logging)  The choker setters attached steel cables (chokers) to downed logs so they could be dragged into the landing by the yarder. Usually an entry-level position on a logging crew. {001}
see also:
yarder – below

Cherokee Outlet
Wk. 52, 12/29/1835 – Cherokee Outlet

Cherokee Strip
Cherokee Outlet
– above

Cheyenne Indian Tribe
The Originals Index – Native American TribesCheyenne
Timelines – Timelines A-L – Cheyenne Indians Timeline

Chihuahuan Desert (Sp. Desierto de Chihuahua) An ecoregion designation, mainly rain shadow desert* covering parts of northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. It occupies much of West Texas, parts of the middle and lower Rio Grande Valley and the lower Pecos Valley in New Mexico, and a portion of southeastern Arizona, as well as the central and northern portions of the Mexican Plateau. With an area of about 139,769 sq mi (362,000 km2), it is the largest in North America and the second largest in the Americas. Thought to be the most biologically diverse desert in the world as measured by species richness or endemism. Map: U.S. PD Chuahuan Desert by Cephas.  {001}
see also:
*Rain-shadow – below
Desert – below

Chimney Rock CO - DictionaryChimney Rock National Monument, CO – A landmark, known as Chimney Rock and Companion Rock lies within the San Juan National Forest, between Durango and Pagosa Springs in southwestern Colorado. Home to the ancestors of the modern Pueblo Indians with spiritual significance to many tribes. The monument includes 4,726 acres, preserving hundreds of prehistoric sites that dot the landscape around the twin spires. Photo: U.S. PD.  {001}
see also:
Photos Index – Landmarks and RegistersChimney Rock, CO

Chimney Rock - DictionaryChimney Rock, NE – An important trail landmark on the Oregon, California, and Mormon Trails. Photo: U.S. PD.  {001}
see also:
Photos Index – Landmarks and RegistersChimney Rock, NE

chindi – (Navaho) Believed to leave the body with the deceased’s last breath, it is the ghost left behind after a person dies. The chindi is everything that was bad about the person; the “residue that man has been unable to bring into universal harmony”.  {001}

– above

chip – A counter used in a game of chance. (c. 1840)

chippie – a prostitute

choker – (logging)  The choker setters attached steel cables (chokers) to downed logs so they could be dragged into the landing by the yarder. Usually an entry-level position on a logging crew. {001}
see also:
yarder – below

chuck – (Cowboy lingo)  Food

Chuck wagon – The cooks wagon on a cattle drive. Invented by, co-founder of the Goodnight-Loving Trail, Charles Goodnight. It was a Studebaker wagon (ex-Army supply wagon), with added steel axels and a “chuck box” at the back with a hinged lid that became a work table when the wagon was parked. The first “chuckwagon” appeared on the Goodnight-Loving Trail in 1866.  {001}
see also:
cook – below
Photo Gallery Index – Cowboy PhotosMess Scene (4th. photo down)
The Originals Index, – Commerce in the Old West1870’s Cattle industry wages
and  1893 – What would a cowboy crew on a trail drive be paid?

cibolero – Sp. – In the early times on the southern plains; a Mexican/Indian halfbreed (mestizo) who hunted buffalo with bow and arrow and lance. He hunted for the hides and the meat, which he jerked and sold in the Indian villages. He likely had good relations with several tribes and many individuals. Perhaps these men were the prototype of the Comancheros to come.  {001}

The Originals Index, Entertainment in the Old West – Alcohol in the Old Westcider

Circuit Rider – aka: saddlebag preachers, but officially – traveling clergy. Originating in the East, sent by the Methodist Episcopal Church (beginning 1784) and becoming less common by the early to mid 1800’s. There were a few other related denominations in some places, some by the Catholic Church in Texas, (c. 1850’s to maybe the 1880’s or later, the Catholic Cavalry). Usually itinerant preachers, occasionally self-appointed, who rode defined rounds in the old west to minister to the settlers, often carrying little more than a bible and a pistol. “Meetings” were held where ever a location could be found, where people could gather. Often outside, sometimes in the largest building in community, a schoolhouse or a saloon or a street corner, almost anywhere he could find. Usually housed and fed by the more devout in the places were he visited. Most kept on the move, a few would occasionally stay in a community long enough to get a congregation established and/or a church built.  {001}

claim – A government granted right to land for various purposes. The rules were different for farming, grazing, mining land or maybe a town site.
Wk. 20, 05/20/1862 – The Homestead Act
Wk. 17, 04/27/1956 – James Grimshaw Cayton

claim jumper – (mining)  One who attempts to steal the claim of someone else. This can take many forms, from intimidation and theft to legal maneuvers and outright murder.  {001}
The Originals Index – Range Wars and Feuds
– many of these had elements of land control mixed among the issues between the parties.

class goat – The cadet with the lowest academic rating in his class; at the U.S. Military Academy West Point, NY.  {001}

cleaned out – Where you are when you have lost your poke gambling. (c. 1812)  {001}

the Muse Clio - DictionaryClio – In Greek mythology, the muse of history. She is often represented with an open parchment scroll, a book, or a set of tablets. Sometimes referred to as the “Proclaimer” the glorifier and celebrator of history, great deeds and accomplishments (/ˈkl/; Greek: Κλειώ, Kleiṓ; “to celebrate”, “made famous”, “make famous” or “to recount”). Roman name: Kleio. Photo: U.S. PD internet? Clio, by Egisto Sani.  {001}

Clipper Ship
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation Photos – The Clippers

coach gun– A large bore shotgun*, usually 10 or 12 gauge, loaded with buckshot and having had the barrel (s) cut down to around twenty inches to cause the shot** to spread quicker. Makes the gun plenty handy as well.  {001}
*Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Long Guns  – shotguns
*Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Ammunition Then and Now – shotshells

coal oil – aka: Rock Oil. A shale oil obtained from the destructive distillation of cannel coal, mineral wax, or bituminous shale, once used widely for heating and illumination (sooty and smelly). The name was applied to kerosene for a time until folks learned the difference. It was also used, for a time, as an internal and topical home remedy and general cure-all for many ailments, including coughs, flu, cuts, abrasions, and wounds.  {001}
see also:
Lard Oil
– below
– above
– below
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – A Whale of a Tale About Oil

Corn Cob pipe bowl - Dictionary

Corn Cob pipe bowl

coat beaver pelt – Pelts that have been processed and worn for a season by hunters (usually Aboriginal peoples), before being traded. The inner sides were scraped and rubbed with animal marrow; then sewn into robes and worn with the fur side inward.  {001}

cob – 1. An ear of corn.  2.  The central core of an ear of corn (maize), the part of the ear on which the kernels grow.  {001}
Animal Bedding – cobs provide a compliant surface and absorb moisture.
Fodder fiber for ruminant livestock (very low nutritional value).
Making charcoal.
Poor man’s toilet paper (traditionally, two red one white).
The raw material for bowls of corncob pipes. Photo: U.S. PD 2019 – Martin Merinsky
numerous others…

Cocinero – (Sp) A cook.
Cook – below

coffin driver – The casekeeper in a Faro game.

cold-bloods – 1. (European) Traditionally this term meant horses of northern stock. 2. In the old west, it meant stock (cows & horses) of inferior blood or breeding.  {001}
The Originals Index – Horses

Colonial Spanish Horse – The original Jennet-type horse brought to North America. Today, with a number of modern descendants with various breed names.  {001}
The Originals Index – Horses – Horse Breeds

Farewell to Göteborg -1905 - Dictionary

Farewell to Göteborg -1905

colonial cars – The popular name for low cost (U.S.) railroad transportation used in various schemes to entice Scandinavian immigrants to come to America for land billed as free or cheap. (c. 1880 to about 1910) Usually government appropriated Indian lands, purchased by a company whose sales agents worked in Europe, or lands which a railroad* had acquired on its own. All of it, sold to immigrants/emigrants at inflated prices. These were strictly for profit operations, quite different from those of the Mormon Church, which had recruited among some of the same populations for the Handcart Companies of the 1850’s. Photo: U.S. PD 1905 LOC – Underwood and Underwood. Swedish Immigrants embarking.  {001}
*Photo Gallery Index – Transportation Photos – Railroads of the West Great Northern Railway
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation Photos Mormon Handcarts

Colorado Tick Fever – (disease)
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – DiseaseColorado Tick Fever

Comanche Moon – Late Spring, Summer and early Fall, Full Moons, Perfect light… and the best time for the Comanche to go raiding! Adventure! Horses, cattle, provisions, captives and scalps. {001}
Timelines Master Index – Timelines A-L – Comanche Indians Timeline
Just for fun Pages – Full Moon Names

Comancheria Map - DictionaryComancheria – (aka: Nʉmʉnʉʉ Sookobitʉ [“Comanche Earth”] in Comanche [Nʉmʉ Tekwapʉ]) is the common name of the region of New Mexico, west Texas and nearby areas occupied by the Comanche before the 1860s. Today, this region makes up West Texas, the Llano Estacado*, the Texas Panhandle, the Edwards Plateau (including the Texas Hill Country), Eastern New Mexico, western Oklahoma including the Oklahoma Panhandle and the Wichita Mountains, southeastern Colorado and southwestern Kansas.
The Comanches used their military power to obtain supplies and labor from the Americans, Mexicans, and other Indians through thievery, tribute, and kidnappings. Although powered by violence, the Comanche empire was primarily an economic construction, rooted in an extensive commercial network that facilitated long-distance trade. Dealing with subordinate Indians, the Comanche spread their language and culture across the region. Their empire collapsed when their villages were repeatedly decimated by epidemics of cholera and smallpox* in the late 1840s. By the 1870s, the population had plunged from 20,000 to just a few thousand. (Edited text from a Wikipedia article.) Map: U.S. PD Left Hook~commonswiki using Reynolds’s Political Map of the United States (1856) LOC.  {001}
see also:
PLAYERS – Timelines – Timelines A-L – Comanche Indians Timeline
*The Originals Index – Landmarks and RegistersLlano Estacado
PLAYERS – Timelines – Timelines M-Z – Staked Plains Horror Timeline
*The Originals – Resources and Hazards – DiseaseCholera and Smallpox

Comancheros – Go-betweens/traders working the Apache, Comanche and several other tribes, as well as the whites. Items or stock stolen on Indian raids in Mexico were brought north to the white settlers, just as things taken from them, found their way to Mexico. Guns, whiskey, cloth, slaves and other commodities might flow through them. Comancheros were also active in the bargaining/trading/returning of hostages from/to both sides. These men were often of mixed race, usually Indian/Mexican, who held no allegiance to anyone save themselves and generally remained relatively neutral.  {001}

Comanche Tribe
The Originals Index – Native American TribesComanche
Timelines – Timelines A-L – Comanche Indians Timeline

Comanche Trail – The commonly used raiding trail from the Staked Plains (Llano Estacado) down into Old Mexico.  {001}
The Originals Index – Landmarks and RegistersLlano Estacado

Concord Coach – A stagecoach built by the Abbot Downing Co. of Concord, NH (1827 – 1847 and in a reincarnation of sorts by his sons, ’til about 1900).  {001}
Photo Gallery – Transportation PhotosConcord Coach
Wk. 37, 09/16/1857 – Butterfield Overland Mail

OWDR-Confederate-Coins-WebConfederate Money – Worthless after April 9, 1865 and so are these, they’re replicas. Photo: U.S. PD 2014 Doc Boyle,  {001}

Conquistadors – (Sp.)  aka: conquistadores  They were the knights, soldiers, explorers and the Invaders, for the Spanish and the Portuguese Empires. During the Age of Discovery, they sailed  to the Americas,  exploiting territory and opening trade routes. They brought colonialism and Catholicism to the new world in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. They were almost always accompanied by Jesuit or Franciscan priests.  {001}

consumption – tuberculosis.
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Disease Tuberculosis

contract buster – (Cowboy lingo)  Often a traveling cowboy who would agree to break a given number of horses for a ranch at a fixed price.  {001}

Continental Divide
Great Divide – below

cook – A ranch or chuck wagon cook was called a lot of different names. Here are a few: Belly Cheater, Biscuit Roller, Cocinero, Cookie, Cusi (Coosie, coosy, cosi, cusie), Dough Boxer, Dough Puncher, Greasy Belly, Grub Worm, Gut Robber, Lean Skillet, Old Lady, Old Pud, Pot Rustler, Soggy, Sourdough, and others…  {001}

Cooke’s Pass – A narrow gap, running east and west, through the Cooke’s Range in NM. The scene of many an Apache ambush.  {001}
Wk. 40, 10/02/1863 – Fort Cummings
Cooke’s Spring – below

Cooke’s Spring – Located at the eastern mouth of the narrow upper Cooke’s Canyon, part of what was called Cooke’s Pass, a narrow gap, running east and west, through the Cooke’s Range. Elevation 4839′  in Luna County, NM. An important fresh water source for the Indians and early Western travelers.  {001}
Wk. 46, 11/16/1846 – Cooke’s Wagon Road
Wk. 40, 10/02/1863 – Fort Cummings

Cooke’s Wagon Road – (Construction – 10/19/1846 – o1/29/1847)
A segment explored and built by the Mormon Battalion led by Lieutenant Colonel Philip St. George Cooke* during the Mexican–American War. The first of the wagon routes between New Mexico and California. With time and changes, before and during the California Gold Rush, it eventually became known as the Southern Trail aka: Southern Emigrant Trail.  {001}
Wk. 46, 11/16/1846 – Cooke’s Wagon Road
Wk. 12, 03/20/1895 – Brig. Gen. Phillip St. George Cooke

cooney – aka: bitch, caboose,* coonie, cradle, possum belly (Sp.) cuna  (Cowboy lingo)  A dry cowhide (rawhide) slung under the wagon box (usually a chuck wagon) as a carry-all: buffalo chips, cow chips picket pins, stake pins, fire wood, etc.  (001}
*caboose & caboose (RR) – above
rawhide – below

Copperhead – A Northerner who sympathized with the South during the time of the U. S. Civil War.  {001}

Copyright – The exclusive, legally secured right to reproduce (as by writing, printing, internet, radio, TV, etc.), publish and sell creative endeavors in most any form: literary, musical, photographic, performance, etc. for a period of 28 years, with a right of renewal for a further 28 years (in the U.S.). Nothing before 1923 has a U.S. copyright, it is all Public Domain. Items created by the U.S. government, its employees or agents may not be copyrighted, it is all Public Domain. Old West Daily Reader usually shows only photos in the Public Domain, often placed there by the producer. Foreign rules vary widely.  {001}
see also:
OWDR Site Guide – Copyright Issues

runaway stage on a corduroy road - Dictionarycorduroy road – The roadbed is made of logs, laid side by side, across the road (perpendicular to the direction of travel), likely then covered with sand (if swampy) or dirt. Rough as a cob to ride in a wheeled conveyance; hard for man or beast to walk. Constructed to cross a swamp or such; to shorten travel or bypass an obstacle. Entrepreneurs sometimes built them as toll roads to recover construction costs and make a profit. Illustration: U.S. PD Charles M. Russell “Runaway Stage on a Corduroy Road”  {001}
see also:
Plank Road
– below

Corks – (Logging) Short, sharp spikes set in the soles of shoes. Very helpful to a man walking on wet, rolling logs in water.  (001)

corn crib
crib – below

Corn Mother aka: Corn Woman, Corn Maiden, Selu (Indian Mythology) –  Most of the indigenous agricultural tribes in North America believe in a mythological figure said to be responsible for the origin of maize (corn). The story of the Corn Mother is related with many variations by the various tribes. For the Navajo (Corn Woman), she stands in the North.  {001}

cornered – Caught without chance of escape; could be by man or beast.  {001}
see also:
treed – below

Corps of Discovery– The Lewis & Clark epedition (1803-06).  {001}

corral – 1. An enclosure or pen to confine livestock. 2. Circling wagons at night for protection and livestock control.  {001}

Cousin Jack – A Cornish Miner.  {001}

Counting Coup – (Indians & Cowboy lingo) 1. An Indian might count coup only by touching an enemy in battle, with a feather or a coup stick.*  2. A cowboy is either in a fight or just finished one.
* The Originals Index – Native American Tribes – Indian Warrior WomenThe Other Magpie

cow – (1). A female of the bovine species. (2). In the west it was generic for all stock bovines. “Cows”, included every animal in the herd.
The Originals Index – Cow? What Cow?

cowboy – buckaroo; cowhand; cowpoke; cowpuncher; cow waddy; driver; drover; ranch hand, ranger; rider, trail driver; trail hand; screw; vaquero; waddie.
Photo Gallery Index – Cowboy Photos
The Originals Index – ExpeditionsThe BeginningJesuit priest Eusebio Kino

Cowboy Hat
Boss of the Plains – above

cowjuice – milk

cowpoke – At first, it meant the men on the cattle trains who poked and prodded the cows with poles or goads to keep them on their feet during transit.

coyote – 1. A prairie wolf.*  2. The human kind: a low down person, mebbe a sneak thief, unreliable…, a whiskey dealer.  {001}
*The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Animals Index Page – MammalsCoyote
varmint – below

coyotin’ around – (Cowboy lingo)  Layin’ low and stayin’ out of sight, law trouble or maybe a woman…

cradle – [mining]  A device for working placer gold deposits.   {001}
riffle – below
Photo Gallery Index – Mining PhotosThe Cradle

crap – 1. excrement.*  2. junk or useless items, bad anything: information, material, etc.  3. there are numerous other uses of the word.  {001}
*According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the word’s first application to bodily waste appeared in 1846 under a reference to a crapping ken, or a privy, (ken meant a house). Looks like it had nothing to do with Tom (next two articles).

crapper – A toilet. This is English, and it was because Tom’s name was on the product of intended use. Not to sure it came to the old west. Photo: U.S. PD unknown.  {001}
(I split hairs like this because Old West Daily Reader needs it to be right and when I portray Doc Holliday, I try to edit out modern, and other out-of-context words, in performance. – Doc)

Thomas Crapper - DictionaryCrapper, Thomas – (1836 – 1910) An English plumber often credited with inventing the flush toilet. He did not, but he definitely improved it and popularized its use. He patented three major improvements: the floating ballcock, improving the S-bend trap in 1880 and inventing the plumbing trap (U-bend). Incidentally, he was also the inventor of the manhole cover. Photo: U.S. PD pre-1923, unknown, Thomas Crapper.  {001}
see also:
John – below

crap out – (American slang) A losing throw of two, three or twelve in Craps. (c. 1835 – 45)

Craps – A gambling game played with two dice.  {001}
see also:
Entertainment in the Old West – Brothels, Saloons, Dance Halls, Gambling

Crater Lake
The Originals Index – Landmarks and Registers Crater Lake

crepuscular – Animals who are active at dawn or dusk.

corn crib - Dictionarycribcorn crib – An outbuilding, usually with slatted sides (for ventilation) used to store corn. Today, it may well be constructed with wire. Photo: U.S. PD? internet.  {001}

crib – 1. A very small working room in a brothel. Sometimes with only a swinging door. 5′ x7′, 8′ x 10′ would be common, cribs generally imply a somewhat lower class establishment.  {001}

crib girl – a lower class prostitute.

criers – Warriors who moved behind the fighting lines and called out commands and instructions to the fighters from the chiefs managing the battle. Sioux criers were particularly effective at the Battle of the Greasy Grass (The Little Bighorn) 1876.  {001}

critter – any live animal (bug, cow, human, etc.)

Critters of the West – Photographs and some discussion about the animals that lived alongside our Western ancestors.
The Originals Index –  Cow? What cow?
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Animals Index Page – Mammals

crossroader – An old term used to denote cheats, having its origins in the Old West practice of cheating at saloons located at crossroads.  {001}

Crows Foot – (RR and mining) A iron bar with a forked end, used for removing rail spikes from ties. Available in variable sizes relative to the size of the rail and spikes being worked with, usually much larger as a railroad tool.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation Photos – Railroads in the West

Crow Beads
The Originals Index – Trade in the Old West – Beads in Old West TradeCrow Beads

crow hop – see: frog walk – below.

croup (mammals)
rump – below

crumbsLice;* the RR men knew them well and called a caboose a “crummy”.  {001}
*The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Animals Index Page – Arachnids and InsectsLice
(RR) – above

RR Durango bobber - A crummy - Dictionarycrummy – RR – A railroad caboose. In the old days, locomotives and cabooses were assigned to a specific crew. Train crews lived in the caboose on long hauls and made them up like the small home they actually were. There were some downsides…*  Photo: Doc Boyle, A nice old bobber on the D&SNG.  {001}
*crumbs – above
caboose (RR) – above

Cruiser – (logging) aka: timber cruiser.  A forester or logger who estimates the amount of timber in a sale, usually by walking over it. He may also mark trees to cut or save.  {001}

coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae) - Dictionary


Crynoid - Dictionary


cryptid – 1. An animal of interest to cryptozoology,* either unknown species of animals or those that are thought to be extinct but which may have survived into modern times and await rediscovery by scientists. Cryptids don’t have to be supernatural, mythical or even all that strange, think coelacanth (Latimeria chalumnae) or crynoids (Crinoidea), among others…  2. An animal whose existence is unsubstantiated.** Photos: Fair use –  LH coelacanth from Cool Dino Facts – RH crinoid from Litzsinger.   {001}
*cryptozoology – below
**Just for fun Pages – Monsters and Supernatural Beings of the Old West

Cryptozoology– “The study of hidden animals”. One of the newest life sciences (c. 1959).  {001}
Just for fun Pages – Monsters and Supernatural Beings of the Old West

cud – A ball of food forced up into the mouth, from the first stomach of a ruminant, for final/complete mastication.  {001}

cutting the dust – (Cowboy lingo) Having a drink (not water).

cusi – (Cowboy lingo)  The cook, on the trail or at the ranch. Likely derived from the Spanish “cocinero”. Several variants: coosie, coosy, cusi; all of it parlayed into the Western movie “cooky or cookie.
see also:
cook – above

cuspidor – a spittoon
spittoon – below

Cupid’s cramp – (Cowboy lingo) Said of a cowboy in love…

cut– 1. to separate one or group of animals from the herd for various reasons; perhaps to sell. 2. The name for that separated group of animals. 3. To castrate male animals.  {001}
see also:
First Cut – below
Castration – above

cut suspenders – (Cowboy lingo) When a man says he’s going to cut his suspenders, he’s quitting the outfit and moving on. He may or may not announce his future plans.

cutting horse – An agile saddle horse trained to separate individual animals from a cattle herd.  {001}

Preciptation tanks for cyanide process - Mining Photos

Precipitation tanks for cyanide process

cyanide process – (mining) Gold cyanidation (also known as the cyanide process or the MacArthur-Forrest process) is a hydrometallurgical technique for extracting gold from low-grade ore by converting the gold to a water-soluble coordination complex. It is the most commonly used leaching process for gold extraction. Photo: U.S. PD? – internet.  (Wikipedia)
Back in 1960’s I owned The Monarch Mill, a cyanide process mill dating to maybe the 1870’s. Most everything was still in place, the jaw crusher, all the overhead pullys and belts, three large redwood precipitation tanks (half full of sediment) and a large tailings pile. I saw, early on, that it wasn’t going to be a good idea to own something like that mill in the changing environmental climate and soon sold it. Glad I did! – Doc
see also:
Wk. 17, 04/27/1956 – James Grimshaw Cayton

cyclone – Old timers name for a tornado.  {001}


Daguerreotype – (1839) The first photographic process. Produced on a silver or silver coated copper plate made sensitive by treating with iodine or iodine and bromine. After exposure in the camera, the latent image is developed on the plate by exposure to mercury vapor.  {001}
, 08/19/1839 – Louis Daguerre
Photography in the Old West – below

Dairy cattle –  aka: dairy cows or milk cows, cattle bred for the ability to produce large quantities of milk, from which dairy products are made. In the U.S., all are Bos taurus.
The Originals Index – Cow? What cow?Dairy Cattle
Pauline Wayne – below

Dally method – One of two methods of roping. The rope’s free end is wrapped (turned) around the saddle horn several times to secure the roped animal to the cowboy’s horse. The free end might be tucked under a leg. This method occasionally removes a thumb or anything else caught under the rope against the saddle horn when whatever the rope is attached to hits the end of the line. A major advantage is the ability to release the line even under tension. Dally ropers usually use grass ropes. {001}
Hard and Fast method
– below
Photo Gallery Index – Cowboy Photos, to see what cowboys rope…
Wk. 44, 10/29/1922 – The Roping Fool)

daylight – (Cowboy lingo) The amount that can be seen between a cowboy’s butt and his saddle can lead to all sorts of different outcomes at different places and times.

dead man’s hand – The poker hand held by Wild Bill Hickok when he was shot in the back of the head by Broken Nose Jack” McCall at the No. 10 saloon in Deadwood, SD (08/02/1876). The ace of diamonds with a heel mark on it; the ace of clubs; the two black eights, clubs and spades; and the queen of hearts, with a small drop of Hickok’s blood on it. The actual cards picked up from the floor by Neil Christy.  {001}
Wk.  31, 08/02/1876 – Wild Bill Hickok

deadshot – 1. An excellent marksman. 2. An exceptionally strong liquor.  {001}

deadwood – (gambling) The “deadwood” is the discard pile. Going back through it (reviewing) during play is a forbidden practice, calling for forfeiture of the hand by the offending party, without consideration of the value of players hands.
PLAYERS – Timelines – Timelines A-L – Doc Holliday Timeline – Who Did Doc Holliday Shoot?
Fall 1877Ed Bailey – “monkeying with the deadwood

Death of Skins – (Cowboy lingo)  Rustlers  were wrapped in the fresh hides of cattle they were said to have stolen, and tied to a tree. The Texas sun did the rest, drawing the hides tight and hard as iron, suffocating and crushing the men. The Olive Ranch always made sure that their brand showed.  {001}
Wk. 11, 03/14/1876 – rustlers

Deciduous – Plants that drop their leaves every year.

De Facto – (also: de facto) Commonly used to refer to what happens in actual practice (practices that exist in reality), whether or not they are officially recognized by laws or other formal norms. In contrast with de jure (“by law”), which refers to things that happen according to law.  {001}

Dehorning – (livestock) The process of removing the fully grown horns of livestock. Cattle, goats and sheep are sometimes dehorned for safety and economic reasons.
Horns may cause injuries to handlers or other animals.
Horns may become broken, causing blood-loss and potential for infection.
In some breeds and in some individuals, horns may grow towards the head, eventually causing injury.
Horned livestock may become trapped in fences or vegetation.
Horned livestock take up more space.
Horned livestock may require specialized equipment, such as feeders and squeeze chutes.
Horned rams may be prone to fly strike where the horn grows close against the skull, maggots can even burrow into the horn itself.
Contrary indications:
Horned livestock are better able to defend themselves and their young from predators such as wolves and dogs.
Horns provide a secure point for roping or holding the animal’s head.
Horns are traditional in some breeds, and breed standards may require their presence (for example, Texas Longhorn, Highland and White Park cattle).
A very painful process for the animal, some may become infected and die..
see also:
Disbudding – below
Polled – below

Demijohn – aka: carboy, carbuoy. Originally,the term referred to any glass vessel with a large body and small neck, enclosed in wickerwork. In the Old West, most would have held around five gallons and many had no wickerwork. Shipping containers for all sorts of liquids: alcohol, acids, liquor, wine, etc. Often used to make home brew. {001}

demimonde – (Fr) trans: half-world, aka: netherworld, underbelly, underworld, etc. From 19th-century France (a play, 1855). 1. The class of women considered to be of doubtful morality and social standing.  2. One having low reputation or prestige. A group of people considered to be on the fringes of respectable society. {001}

democrat wagon – (Cowboy lingo) A light spring wagon.
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation photosA Spring Wagon

DenimIndigo Denim is sturdy cotton warp-faced textile, made using a twill weave, with the warp thread dyed (blue), while the weft thread is left white. The weft passes under two or more warp threads. This produces a subtle diagonal ribbing that distinguishes it from cotton duck. The warp yarns are more prominent on the right side resulting in one side of the fabric being predominately blue and the other predominately white. Photo: U.S. PD? – cropped from an ad.  {001}
see also:
Wk 39, 09, 26, 1902 – Levi Strauss

Lincoln Deringer - John Wilkes Booths - DictionaryDeringer – A concealable, short-barreled, non-automatic pistol, actually manufactured by Henry Deringer*.  Photo: U.S. PD 1997 FBI, the actual Deringer pistol (.41 cal. percussion, seven groove, left twist rifling) used by John Wilkes Booth to assassinate Abraham Lincoln in 1865. Confirmed by the 1997 FBI investigation into the assertion that the original pistol had been stolen from Ford’s Theater in the 1960’s and replaced by a replica.  {001}
*Wk. 09, 02/28/1868 – Henry Deringer

Frank Wesson Derringer - DictionaryDerringer –  A concealable, short-barreled, non-automatic pistol of any make. A reporter, writing about the Lincoln assassination, accidentally used an extra “r” when describing Booth’s weapon. The error was repeated far and wide in newspapers, etc., and the word became generic. Photo: U.S. © Dirk Lagerwij, by permission. Frank Wesson Small Frame Single Shot Pistol, Produced c. 1859 – early 80’s: 15,000, .22 rimfire short.  {001}
Deringer – above
more of Dirk’s fine collection at:
Photo Gallery Index- Weapons Photos – Dirk’s Derringers P. 1

Desert – A barren area of landscape where little precipitation occurs and, consequently, living conditions are hostile for plant and animal life. Deserts can be classified by the amount of precipitation that falls, by the temperature that prevails, by the causes of desertification or by their geographical location. About one-third of the land surface of the world is arid or semi-arid. The are four officially defined deserts* in North America. They have been defined biologically, by criteria from U.S. Government and some international agencies.  {001}
*Chihuahuan Desert – above
*Great Basin Desert – below
*Mojave Desert – below
*Sonoran Desert – below

Newspaper Rock crop - Dictionarydesert varnish – a blackish deposit which  gradually forms on exposed sandstone cliff faces in the American southwest. Today, geologists believe that desert varnish is a thin layer of minerals, clay and microbes that form on the surface of some desert rocks. The microbes are a varied group of fungi and bacteria, the minerals, which now exposed to the arid desert climate, are oxidized forms of iron and manganese. To create these petroglyphs, the dark desert varnish has been removed to show the lighter sandstone beneath.  Photo: U.S. PD, Jim, a crop.  {001}
Petroglyph and Pictograph – below

Devil’s PlaygroundThe Algodones Dunes , which straddle the Mexican border east of El Centro, CA.  {001}
The Originals Index – Landmarks and RegistersAlgodones Dunes

Devil’s Rope – Barbed wire.
Wk. 47, 11/24/1874 – Joseph F. Glidden

dewlap – A distinctive cut of skin, forming a highly visible hanging identifier on an animal, usually off the neck.  {001}
see also:
bob-tail; brand – above
ear marks; ear tags & waddle – below

die – become deceased; buck out; cash in; croak; dobie walled (shot against one); over the jump; pass in one’s checks; snuffed out; cross The Great Divide, etc.  {001}

die-up – The death of a large number of animals. Could be because of weather, poison plants (spurge, etc.), bad water, exhaustion, whatever.  {001}
The Originals Index – Plants – Hazardous Plants

diggings – (mining) – Excavations made for prospecting, along creek beds, ridges, etc. Anywhere a prospector found “color” and wanted to discover if there was something more at that location.  {001}
see also:
dog hole – below
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos

dip – (livestock) A large tank set up in such a way that animals move through from a chute to the tank for a full immersion bath in an antiseptic solution. This, to free the animals of fleas, lice, mites and other such.*  {001}
*The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Animals Index Page
Arachnids and Insectsfleas; lice; mites and ticks
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Diseasemange

dipsomaniac – An unquenchable, sometimes periodic craving for alcohol.  {001}

Dirty Socks Spring, CA - DictionaryDirty Socks Spring – This Sulphur spring in Inyo County, CA definitely has a “distinctive” odor. Legend has it that the name came from the fact that this was where the miners washed their smelly, dirty socks.  Photo: U.S. PD? internet.  {001}

Disbudding – (livestock) Cauterizes and thereby destroys horn buds before they grow into horns. Commonly performed early in an animal’s life, as with other procedures such as docking and castration. Much safer and less painful than dehorning.*  {001}
see also:
– above
Dehorning – above
docking – below
Polled – below

Discovery Doctrine – The doctrine can be traced to the Papal Bulls Romanus Pontifex (1452) issued by Pope Nicholas V and the Inter Cetera (1493), issued by Pope Alexander VI. Modified over time and applied worldwide it essentially states that; if a christian, “discovers” lands owned by a non-christian, he can claim title to them and any indigenous peoples present become merely “occupiers”. Descended through English law, affirmed and applied to U.S. law by The Marshall Court (see: Wk. 09, 02/28/1823), it became the legal basis for the relocation of the American Indians, the appropriation of their lands and the determination of their “legal” status.   {001}
PLAYERS – Timelines – Timelines M-Z – Time to Ponder – first article

Diurnal – Active during daylight hours.

divide – (land): In Western parlance it meant a ridge, where water went opposite directions from the crest and created a watershed drained by the stream between the ridges. Originally, land (range)was usually determined by the boundaries of those watersheds.One might have one or both sides of watershed extending back from the frontage at the lowest point claimed [in a one stream valley]. After that, things could get very complicated…
see also:
Great Divide
– below

dock – (mammals)
tailhead – below

docking – (livestock) The amputation of the tailbone at or near the dock.* Animals subject to docking for various reasons include: dogs, cats, sheep, pigs, and horses.  {001}
*tailhead – below

dodger – a wanted poster, also a flier.

Seibel Brothers show poster - DictionaryDog and Pony Show – 1. Originally used in the late-19th and early-20th centuries in the United States  to refer to small traveling circuses that toured through small towns and rural areas. Performances were usually held in open-air arenas, race tracks or public spaces in localities that were too small or remote to attract larger, more elaborate performers or performances. The name derives from the common use of performing dogs and ponies as the main attractions of the events.  The most notorious was “Prof. Gentry’s Famous Dog & Pony Show,”* started when teenager Henry Gentry and his brothers started touring in 1886 with their act, originally entitled “Gentry’s Equine and Canine Paradox.” It started small, but evolved into a full circus show. Other early dog and pony shows included Seibel Brothers United Shows, Morris’ Equine and Canine Paradoxes (1883) and Hurlburt’s Dog and Pony Show (late 1880s).
2. The term has now come to mean a highly promoted, often over-staged performance, presentation, or event designed to sway or convince opinion for political, or less often, commercial ends. Typically, the term is used in a pejorative sense to connote disdain, jocular lack of appreciation, or distrust of the message being presented or the efforts undertaken to present it. Poster: U.S. PD pre-1923.  {001}
see also:
* Navigation Panel – Just for Fun PagesProf. Gentry’s Famous Dog & Pony Show poster

dog hole – (1) (mining): a prospect hole*, diggings  They are ubiquitous in the West. Nowadays, they are prospected for potentially valuable old-time trash thrown away in them.  2. A prairie dog burrow**.  {001}
*Photo Gallery Index – Mining PhotosDog Hole
**The Originals Index  – Resources & Hazards – Animals Index Page – MammalsPrairie Dog

dogie (also: doge; dogey or dogy) – (Cowboy lingo)  1. A calf which has lost its mother; fair game for predators, either two or four legged. Those pot-bellied orphan calves, were originally called “dough-guts”, which was eventually shortened to “dogie”.  2. Sometimes, a generic term for any cow. It should be pronounced with a long “o” sound – not like “doggies”.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – People and Places Photos Where did all the little dogies git along to?

Doglock (firearms) Developed in 1630, this is the pre-cursor to the Flintlock ignition system for firearms. Numerous examples of this technology likely came to both coasts of the new world. Photo: US. PD 2012 Trulock – The lock is in the full-cock position. The dog has been automatically pushed out of the notch in the back of the cock and is lying back horizontally.  {001}
see also:
Photo Gallery Index –  Weapons Photos – Ammunition then and NowLocks

Dog Soldier –  1. A Cheyenne Warrior Society. A member had certain duties and responsibilities and therefore specific status and privilege; misunderstood and corrupted by the whites to mean most or all Cheyenne warriors.  2. Also an inclusive name for the Kiowa warrior societies.  {001}
Koitsenko – below

dog town – a collection of prairie dog holes. A dangerous place for heavy, four footed animals, especially at anything faster than a walk. Might break a wagon axle too.  {001}

Double Jack – (mining) A long shafted, eight pound sledgehammer, used with a large steel, chisel ended drill which was held by by a worker called the “shaker”. He rotated the drill a half turn and helped “shake” out the rock chips between each hammer blow. (perhaps 20 to 30 per minute). Not a job for one unsteady or the faint of heart!  {001}

double rig – A saddle with two cinches. One under the pommel and one under the cantle.

doves – short for doves of the roost – prostitutes. Singular, of course, a dove…

Down at the heel – Havin’ hard times…

downhill – 1. Where civilization is…  2. Where civilization is going…  {001}

doxy – A prostitute, loose woman, etc. Not exactly western but the English and Canadians used the word.  {001}

drag – (Cowboy lingo)  1. The position behind the herd (ridin’ drag) behind the flankers; an animal or cowboy there; lowest job in the outfit except maybe wrangler. Think tired and sick animals , those with young and dust, lots of dust… lots of dust…  2. (RR)  A freight train.  {001}

draughts – checkers

dream catcher (Native American)  1. Ojibwa legend says the dreamcatcher originates with Spider Woman (Asibikaashi). She took care of the people and in particular the children. As the Ojibwa Nation grew, it became difficult for Asibikaashi to reach all the children. So, mothers and grandmothers would weave magical webs for the children using handmade willow hoops and sinew, or cordage made from plants. In old times, the netting was likely made of nettle fiber. It was said that the net “caught any harm that might be in the air as a spider’s web catches and holds whatever comes in contact with it.”
Infants were often provided with these protective charms. Consisting of wooden hoops about 3½ inches in diameter, filled with a replica of a spider’s web made of fine yarn, usually dyed red. Two spider webs were usually hung on the hoop of a cradleboard.
Condensed from Ojibwa Legend recounted by American ethnographer Frances Densmore
2. The modern version sounds more like this: Traditionally made for an individual at birth. Symbolic decorations may be added throughout the person’s life. Placed at the head of the bed, the prayer beads within the net sort the dreams. Bad dreams are caught in the web, while good dreams pass through the hole in the center to be distributed onto the feathers almost like dew, ready to be absorbed by the dreamer. When the person dies, the dream catcher will be placed with the body to help guide the spirit into the next world. Photo: U.S. PD Internet – A more “modern” dream catcher.  {001}
Since becoming popular outside the Ojibwa Nation, and the pan-Indian communities (c. 1960’s – 70’s) who have adopted them, numerous variations of “dreamcatchers”, many of which bear little resemblance to the traditional styles, are now made, exhibited, and sold by New age groups and individuals. Considered by some traditional Native peoples to be yet another example of an undesirable form of cultural appropriation. Other Native groups and individuals have actively joined in the economic exploitation of Native American art and culture. – Doc

drift – (Cowboy lingo)  The slow motion of cattle in a direction [downwind in bad weather]. This can be controlled by the cowboy to move cattle slowly in a desired direction without actually driving them. A skilled man can can move a lot of cows this way by himself.

drift (mining)  A dead-end side tunnel.
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos – Some Types of Mines – diagram

drifter –  1. A person who continually moves about, having no permanent home.  2. (mining)  A hard rock drill (a “Leyner” drill).  {001}

drift fence – (Cowboy lingo)  A section of fence erected to control cattle drifting. Perhaps to prevent stock being pushed off the spread by weather. (This can have disastrous results) or stop a neighbors cows from plundering the home range. Might be used to collect someone else’s cows for a nefarious purpose. There’s been more than one altercation over drift fences.  {001}

Driving the Nail – Cowboy gun game. Just what it says; pistol or rifle. If you’re gettin’ good at it. Move back.  {001}

Drover – This is the proper name for the men who moved cattle, cowboy is slang. It took maybe 15 or so drovers and remuda of about 100 to 125 horses to move a herd of 3,000 cows on a long trail drive.  {001}

Drummer – A traveling salesman. (Because some beat a drum to draw a crowd.)

dry diggings (mining)  A mine where there is no water to work with.  {001}

dry drive – (Cowboy lingo)  Taking a herd across water-less country; always a risk.

dry-gulch – To attack from ambush.

dude – In the Old West, this originally meant a man dressed in “store boughts,” fancy clothes (often an Easterner), much different from the dress considered “normal” or appropriate in the west of the time. He likely didn’t care to get his hands dirty either. Legend has it that an unknown number of whiskey laden cowboys, with six-guns, addressed some of these miscreants with an invitation to “dance”.  {001}

dude – “Someone who came out West to enjoy the activities they offered: horseback riding, fishing, camping, hunting, swimming, evening entertainments in beautiful lodges, even helping wrangle the livestock.”
According to The Dude Ranchers’ Association  {001}

dudine – ( pl. dudines) A female dude.
According to The Dude Ranchers’ Association  {001}

Dude Ranch – An operating ranch which also accepts guests and provides them with the “Western Experience“.*
* dude, just above.
Wk. 39, 09/27/1926 – Dude Ranchers’ Association

dun  –  horse color: A bay of faded dull brown with black mane and tail, perhaps with dorsal strips, dark extremities, ears and muzzle.  {001}
The Originals – Horses – Horse Colors

Durham Cattle –  Called shorthorns in the West. Imported from England c. 1870’s in an attempt to improve Texas longhorns and other range cattle. Not much success and generally replaced by Hereford breeding stock in the 1880’s.  {001}
The Originals Index – Cow? What cow?

Dust Devil - Dictionarydust devil – A well-formed, strong, relatively long-lived whirlwind. Ranging in size from small (half a meter wide and a few meters tall) to large (more than 10 meters wide and more than 1000 meters tall). They form as a swirling updraft under sunny conditions during fair weather, usually harmless, only rarely coming close to the intensity of a tornado. Photo: U.S. PD? internet, Dust Devil.  {001}
see also:
Tornado – below

Dying Dancing
Suicide Boys – below

Dynamite – Invented by Alfred Nobel in 1867. The process involved mixing nitroglycerin with diatomaceous earth, which had the effect of stabilizing the explosive and making it far safer to handle. Numerous modern variations exist and today the panoply of explosives extends far beyond this first practical and safe high explosive. {001}
Wk. 16, 04/16/1866 – The Parrot Building


Cattle Earmarks chart - Dictionaryear marks – (Cowboy lingo)  Notching, shaping, or removing various parts (or all) of a cow’s ear to declare its owner or for other identification purposes on a ranch. There were more than a dozen traditional cuts…  As in: “Johnny boy, see them under-slope ear marks there, that’s box M cows, that one with the steeple fork is a Bar-Z and the one with with the jingle bob is ours, we got to cut him out of this herd.” Ear Mark Chart U.S. P.D.   {001}
see also:
bob-tail, brand, dewlap – above
ear tags & waddle – below

Ear tagged Sheep - Dictionaryear tags – Animal ear tags were developed in Canada as early as 1913 as a means to identify cattle when testing for tuberculosis.  Today, ear tags in a variety of designs are used throughout the world, on many species of animals, to ensure traceability, control disease outbreaks, help prevent theft and for numerous scientific purposes. Photo U.S. P.D. 2008 John Haslam – Ear tagged sheep.  {001}
see also:
bob-tail, brand, dewlap; ear mark – above
waddle – below

eau de vie – (French)  “water of life”

El-Camino-Real-Adentro-map - Dictionary

Photo: U.S. PD USNPS

El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro – (Sp) The Royal Road to the Interior Lands. The 1,200-mile Spanish colonial trail from Mexico City to Santa Fe. Originally, its northern terminus was  the  San Juan Pueblo (Ohkay Owingeh*), NM. In use from 1598 to 1882. It was the northernmost of the four major “royal roads” that linked Mexico City to its major tributaries during and after the Spanish colonial era. {001}
see also:
Jornada del Muerto – below
* The Originals  Index – Native American Tribes –
Pueblos of New MexicoOhkay Owingeh Pueblo

El Paso Salt War
San Elizario Salt War – below

emigrant – A person who departs from a country or a region.  {001}
see also:
immigrant – below
pilgrim – below

Endorheic basin –  aka: a sink. (geology) A depressed land area which has no visible outlet for water. There is often a lake (an endorheic lake), usually saline as a result of being unable to get rid of solutes left in the lake by evaporation. These lakes are often reliable indicators of anthropogenic change,* (such as irrigation) or natural climate change, in the areas surrounding them. There are a number of important sinks in the West.
see also:
anthropogenic climate change
– above
Great Basin – below

Engage – (fur trade) A man supplied and salaried by the company. All the furs he collected belonged to the company. {001}

entheogen – (“generating the divine within”) A psychoactive substance used in a religious, shamanic, or spiritual context as opposed to recreational uses.
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Plants – Hallucinogenic Plants

epishmore – Pieces of hide sewn together to make a blanket/quilt, or maybe we should think tarp, usually made from buffalo hide. (Osborne Russell)  {001}

Frances Densmore recording Mountain Chief (1916) - Dictionaryethnomusicologist – One who studies music from the cultural and social aspects of the people who make it. Photo: U.S. PD Frances Densmore recording Mountain Chief (1916). Bureau of American Ethnology.  {001}
Wk. 23, 06/05/1957 – Frances Theresa Densmore

Equine Breeds:
Coldbloods – Larger, gentle horses for working or hauling.
Hotbloods – Swift, fast horses used for racing and speed.
Warmbloods – Good horses for equestrian sports and competitions.
see also:
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Horses
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Horses – Horse Breeds
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Horses – Horse Colors

essence peddler
polecat – below

exalted – to be hung or lynched.

Expressman – A messenger carrying express items on a stagecoach.  {001


Fabrics of the Old West

This is a short list of the fabrics and materials likely available in the trade

Calico - Dictionary


Calico – A plain-woven textile made from unbleached and often not fully processed cotton with a small, all-over floral print
used for bed, bath, table and kitchen textiles, clothing, wainscoting and other uses. Photo: US PD Internet

Canvas – cotton

Coir - Dictionary


Coir – Fiber from the husk of the coconuts. Used to make rope, matting, etc. Photo: US PD; Britannica

Denim – cotton

Cheesecloth – extremely soft and fine cotton fabric with a very open plain weave.

Gauze – Any very light fabric, generally with a plain weave.

Hemp - Dictionary


Hemp – Cannabis sativa, grown for fiber, fabric and cordage. Photo: U.S. PD Internet.


Jute cord - Dictionary

Jute cord

Jute – Produced primarily from plants in the genus Corchorus. It is used to make twine, rope matting and burlap.



Kapock- Dictionary


Kapok – A massive tropical deciduous tree (Ceiba pentandra) of the silk-cotton family. The silky down that invests the seeds of a silk-cotton tree was likely used (if at all) in the times as pillow stuffing. Photo: US PD Internet

Linen – An absorbent textile made from the fibers of the flax plant (Linum usitatissimum). A food and fiber crop.
– bed, bath, table and kitchen textiles, clothing and accessories.

Muslin – simple, cheap equal weft and warp plain weave fabric in white, cream or unbleached cotton.

Muslin gauze – the very lightest, most open weave of muslin.

Ramie - Dictionary


Ramie – An Asian shrub (Boehmeria nivea) in the nettle family. The fibers are used in making textiles.

Silk – Imported from China as fabric and finished goods. Made from the fiber of unwrapped cocoons of the mulberry silkworm (Bombyx mori ). There are other lesser sources).

Sisal - Dictionary


Sisal – A plant fiber from the sisal plant, a Mexican agave (Agave sisalana),with large fleshy leaves. Long cultivated for fiber production (now, worldwide). Products are: cordage, rope, matting, footwear, brushes, paper, and cloth, etc. Photo:US PD? internet.

Wool – from sheep, domestic and wild. Imported garments, blankets, etc.

? Did any of these find use in the West?
(this reference is on it’s way to becoming a page…)

fabulist – Fancy word for a liar (OK, storyteller). The old timers said, “After some folks tell you all they know, they keep talkin”.  {001}

The Face on the Barroom Floor – The painting of a beautiful woman on the floor of  the Teller House Bar in Central City, CO. Preserved yet today, is it the work of a wronged painter who was obsessed by the poem?  {001}
Just for fun Pages – The Face on the Barroom Floor

The Face on the Floor – The 1887 poem about an artist who dies while painting his love’s face on the floor of a bar.
The Face on the Barroom Floor – above article
Just for fun Pages – The Face on the Barroom Floor

factor – (an agent) One who ran a government (fur) trading post.  {001}

factory – A government (fur) trading post (sometimes operating as forts). These were allegedly intended to offset the plethora of dishonest traders, supposedly honest because they were run by the government. However, “honesty” depended on the factor, his suppliers and the political chain above him. As with Indian agents, the actual results were highly variable.  {001}

Fair Use – As pertaining to copyright law – fair use can include include: commentary, search engines, criticism, parody, news reporting, research, teaching, library archiving and scholarship. You will note that Old West Daily Reader does occasionally claim “Fair Use” for material that may be copyrighted.  {001}
see also:
OWDR Site Guide – Copyright Issues

fan – (Cowboy lingo)  A bronc riders demonstration of mastering the situation. He might “fan” the horse or himself with his hat.  {001}

fancy – A high dollar whore or a kept woman.

Fandango – (Sp.) 1. A dance performed with castanets, in triple time, by either a man or a woman.  2. A ball or a fancy party which includes dancing. 3. Inappropriate action/behavior/words in an inappropriate situation/location; tomfoolery, etc.  {001}

farm – (agriculture)  1. A tract of land, and/or multiple parcels, used for: the growing of crops for humans or animals, vegetables, raising domestic animals or birds for wool, hides meat eggs, etc.  2. aquaculture – A tract of water used to produce an aquatic species for food and/or other purposes: fish, alligators, oysters, etc.  {001}
FYI : These are the definitions of “farm” that concern us in Old West Daily Reader, but there are numerous others of this old word. It can make some interesting reading. Look it up. – Doc

fast trick – A loose woman. Not necessarily a prostitute.  {001}

far – (Texan)  1. A long ways away (a far piece).  2. the thing that burns stuff up (far).  3. alright, OK, fair (far ’nuff).  4. The command to shoot.  {001}

Farrier - DictionaryFarrier – “A specialist in equine hoof care, including the trimming and balancing of horses’ hooves and the placing of shoes on their hooves, if necessary. A farrier combines some blacksmith’s skills (fabricating, adapting, and adjusting metal shoes) with some veterinarian’s skills (knowledge of the anatomy and physiology of the lower limb) to care for horses’ feet.” In the Old West, this fella could put shoes on an ox as well – Doc. The quote, verbatim from Wikipedia. Photo: U.S. PD , a farrier.  {001}
see also:
Anvil – above
Hardy tools – below

Faro – A gambling game. Bets were placed on an oilcloth painted with a suit of cards. Cards were drawn from a “shoe”; the first of each set of two was a loser, the second a winner. Many variations of play. This was the game Doc Holliday ran for a number of employers and occasionally for himself. The ‘shoe”, a not always honest box from which the cards were drawn, was usually painted with a tiger; thus, “Bucking the Tiger” was to play faro.  {001}

Far West – It meant anywhere west of the Mississippi River. In use up to about 1900.  {001}

Far West – A three deck, shallow draft (30″), stern wheel steamboat (190′ long by 33′ beam) plying the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers (1870 – 1883). A well known, fast and reliable vessel; holding numerous speed records. Involved with the “Custer Massacre” in 1876. Sunk near St. Charles, MO in October of 1883. Sister ship to Louella*.  {001}
*Wk: 27, 07/05/1876 – Far West
The Originals Index – Lost Treasures of the Old WestCuster’s Gold

fathom – A nautical measurement, six feet. Traditionally the span of a man’s outstretched arms.  {001}

feller – (logging crew)  A highly experienced and skilled man who actually cut down the trees. In modern times this job has been combined with the bucker. {001}

Fenn Tresure (The) – A modern trove…
The Originals Index – Lost Treasures in the Old WestThe Fenn Treasure

fer – (Texan)  1. What didja do that fer? (for).  2. The soft fuzzy stuff on the outside of some critters. (fur).  {001}

Ferrotype – aka: tintype or melainotype (1853) A photographic image produced by a collodion emulsion containing suspended silver halide crystals (in a wet or a dry process) on a thin iron plate* prepared with a dark surface (black enamel) or chromium plated. An underexposed negative image is produced in the emulsion when exposed in the camera and then fixed by exposing the plate to potassium cyanide, resulting in a visible positive image, as seen against the dark background. The image produced, is reversed left to right unless the camera was equipped with a mirror or a right-angle prism. The process could produce inexpensive, durable photos in a few minutes and was therefore a popular carnival and sideshow attraction during the 1860′ -70’s and on into the twentieth century.  {001}
*Tintypes contain no tin.
see also:
Photography in the Old West – below
Photo Gallery Index – Billy the Kid Photos
Photo Gallery Index – Doc Holliday Photos
Photo Gallery Index – Jesse James Photos

Fiddler’s Green –  1. The sailor’s name for the waterfront district in a large seaport.  2. The traditional afterlife/heaven of sailors. A place where the rum flows free and all that a sailor desires is his for the taking, an endless shore leave of free tobacco, girls, dance halls and taverns.  {001}

At Fiddler’s Green where seamen true,
When here they’ve done their duty,
The bowl of grog shall still renew,
And pledge to love and beauty.

Capt. Fredrick Marryat – Snarley yow (1837)

Many the sailor jumped ship in California (1850-51) to see if Fiddler’s Green could be found in the goldfields.
Photo gallery Index – Transportation PhotosThe Clippers

fifty-niners – Those who joined the Colorado Gold Rush of 1859.
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos

filibuster – (military/foreign policy) aka: freebooter: one who engages in an unauthorized (at least nominally) military expedition into a foreign country or territory to support or  foment revolution. (Such expeditions have occasionally been used as cover for deniable, government-approved, operations.) The term was used, particularly in the mid-19th century, to describe U. S. citizens who fomented insurrections in the U.S. (California and Texas) and in Latin America (Colombia, Cuba and Nicaragua) among others. The Spanish form (filibustero) entered the English language in the 1850s, applied to U.S. military adventurers, operating in Central America and the Spanish West Indies at that time. The English word “freebooter“, also derives from the Spanish, which originally came from the Dutch “vrijbuiter”, meaning pirate, privateer or robber.  {001
Wk. 37, 09/12/1860 – William Walker

filly – 1. A young, mare horse. 2. A young, unmarried woman.

fines – (mining) The smallest particle mix still containing precious metal with other materials. (ex.) The black sand and gold flakes left from panning gold.  {001}

Fire Bag - Western Cree - pre-1860 - Dictionaryfire bags – Extra trappings, such as: flint and iron (strike-a-lights), (source of the name for the bags), spare arrow points (steel and/or stone), extra sinew, and other useful items were carried in these small cloth or leather bags. They were often decorated with bead or quill work. Photo: U.S. PD internet? – Western Cree, w/pony beads (pre-1860).  {001}

fire or fall back – (Cowboy lingo) If the camp cookie hollers this at you, quit daydreamin’ fill your plate and move on, or go to the end of the line. Now!

Fireman – 1. One who fuels the boiler fire (coal or wood) on a locomotive or a stationary engine. 2. One whose task is to care for the holy fireplace, making sure that it burns consistently all night during the ceremonies of the Native American Church.  {001}.
Steam Donkey – below
Steam Locomotive – below
Native American Church – below

firewater  – whiskey; in Texan – farwater.  {001}

First Cut – The choice animals from a group. (see: cut – above)  {001}

Five Dollar Indian – 125 years ago people paid government agents $5.00 under the table for falsified documents declaring them Native on the Dawes Rolls in order to reap the benefits that came with having Indian blood.  {001}

flanker – (Cowboy lingo)  1. Cowboys who rode behind the swing riders to the side of a herd to keep ’em in the line of march.  2. Branding Time: the cowboy who received the calf and threw it on it’s side it to be branded.

flannel mouthed – A smooth talker. Maybe a bunco man, a drummer, certainly a politician or a suitor.  {001}

flea bag – (Cowboy lingo)  A sleeping bag.

flea trap – (Cowboy lingo)  A cowboy’s bed roll.

flier – a wanted poster, also a dodger. (Where is that cat?)  {001}

Flintlock  (firearms) An ignition mechanism, (lock) used on muskets, pistols, and rifles in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. The term “flintlock” is also commonly used for the weapons themselves as a whole, not just the lock mechanism. {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Ammunition Then and NowLocks

float gold – [mining]  Gold washed downstream from it’s original location; could be a long distance.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos

fluff (beaver) – The first step in processing a beaver pelt for a hatter was to pull out all of the remaining guard hairs, and then tear or shave the beaver wool off of the pelt. the resulting balls of beaver wool were referred to as beaver fluff. The work was not considered skilled, therefore earned a lower wage. This step was often done by women.  {001}

Flume outfall & pipe - Dictionaryflume – (civil, industry, mining, RR, etc.) An open structure, not a ditch or a canal, constructed (concrete, metal, stone, wood) to relocate water for: agriculture, a camp or a town, canal locks, mill races, mining, moving logs, railroad water tanks, water measurement, etc. They had to follow the land contour but also used bridges and trestles to get where the water was needed. Photo U.S. PD, 2012 Gillphoto, flume outfall at Gold Creek.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos

Foamer – A relatively modern term for a railroad fan. After you have been around them for a while you begin to understand…  {001}

foliage – the leaves of a tree or bush.

Following the tongue – Pointing a wagon tongue at the polestar at night so as to know which direction to start out in the morning.

forbs – Herbaceous plants other than grasses.

fork a horse – to mount

fore and aft rig - Dictionaryfore and aft rig – (nautical) The sails are not attached to yards but are bent to gaffs or set on the masts or on stays in a fore-and-aft line.  {001}
Square Rig – below
Sailing Ships – below

foreman – The overall leader on a ranch or job. He may or may not be a worker, depending on the size of the job and crew(s).  {001}
see also:
straw boss
– below
walking boss – below

Fort Fizzle – Named by local settlers; An armed camp (white men, no military) along the Musselshell River (MT), passed by the fleeing Nez Perce (1877), with no trouble.  {Andrew Garcia}
References – Books used as ReferenceTough Trip Through Paradise (1878 – 1879)

fort up – To prepare for a defensive battle using any available protection.

 - DictionaryCalifornia half dollar obverseforty-niners – Those who came by land and sea seeking their fortune in the California Gold Rush of 1849. Photo: U.S. PD 1925, California commemorative half dollar depicting a forty-niner panning gold.  {001}

fractional coins – Coins minted by a government that are denominated as fractions of the basic currency unit. For example, the U.S. dollar is divided into 100 cents. Fractional coins are any coins that represent less than one dollar. These are the fractional coins that have been issued by the U.S. government: $.50 (4 bits), $.25 (2 bits, quarters), $.20, $.10 (dimes), $.05 (nickels & half dimes), $ .03, $ .02 and $.01 cents  In his annual report submitted October 1, 1863, Mint Director James Pollock noted that “whilst people expect a full value in their gold and silver coins, they merely want the inferior [base metal] money for convenience in making exact payments”. Well, yes and no! It took some time and plenty of convincing to the get the populace to accept even fractional, base metal coinage. Especially out West! Too complicated a tale for The Reader; look it up.  {001}

Half Dime seated Liberty 1853 rev - Dictionary

Half Dime $.05 1853

1864 2 Cent Sm Motto (obv) - Dictionary

$.02 coin 1864

Half Dollar 1838 - Dictionary

$.50 coin 1838

Twenty Cent coin 1875 - Dictionary

$.20 coin 1875

5 cent bill - Dictionaryfractional currencyPaper currency’s issued by a government that are denominated as fractions of the basic currency unit. For example, the U.S. dollar is divided into 100 cents. Fractional currency in the U.S. was issued between 08/21/1862 and 02/15/1876 in notes of: $.03, $.05, $.10, $.15, $.25, and $.50. Nobody liked it! It could be also be redeemed by the U.S. Postal Service for face value, in postage stamps. Then, in 1876, congress authorized minting of fractional silver coins to redeem the outstanding fractional currency.  Photo: U.S. PD, $.05 note.  {001}
see also:
shinplasters – below

‘fraid hole – [afraid hole]: a storm cellar or “cave”. If you lived out there in “twister” country, you damn sure had one!  {001}
(All my Kansas and Oklahoma relatives had ’em and I sat in the dark in one a few times myself as a kid.[Sublette, KS & Burbank, OK] – Doc)

filibuster – above

freemartin – Name for a female twin of a bull, which usually becomes sterile (all cattle species).

Free Trapper – (fur trade)  A man who worked for no single company and sold his furs to the highest bidder. Usually working alone or in small groups. By the 1830’s there were usually several hundred free trappers in the mountains at any one time, less than 10% of working trappers. Even so, they were considered the “Kings of the Mountains”.  {001}

French leave – aka: Irish goodbye or Irish exit. 1. A departure from a location or event without ceremony, informing others or without seeking approval. Perhaps an  informal, hasty, unauthorized or secret action.  2. The act of leisurely absence from a military unit (desertion).  {001}

frog walk – aka: crow hop. A bronco buster’s term for horse movement consisting of jumping around with stiffened knees and arched back. (frog walkin’)  {001}

from the get-go – Right from the start.

fuke – A sawed of shotgun loaded with a big charge and a heavy ball. Used by some hunters back in the early days when they ran along side the buffalo on horseback to shoot it. Not the best way to hunt buffalo (bison). Abandoned in favor of the more efficient and vastly safer method of “Getting a Stand“.*  {001}
*Getting a Stand – below



Full House – A poker hand, three of a kind and a pair.

Full Moon Names – Indian names and a few white man name for the Full Moon.
Just for Fun Pages – Full Moon Names

fur bearers – Exploited by Native Americans and Europeans in the old west: bears, black & grizzly; beaver; badger; bobcat; buffalo; coyote; ermine (a small weasel, winter phase); fisher; fox (all), lynx; marten; mink; muskrat, opossum; otter, seal (several); sea otter, squirrels (some); weasels (most, listed individually); wolf (all).
[Trappers; if I’ve left anything out please email me. – Doc
see also:
Fur Trade – next article
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Animals Index Page – Mammals – FB (fur bearers)
The Originals Index – Expeditions The Fur Trade
The Originals Index – Commerce in the Old WestThe Fur Trade

Fur Trade – The North American Fur Trade extended from the 1740’s to the early 1850’s. Newly minted Americans, Native Americans, the British and the Russians were the primary players. Competition was fierce with the various governments, (sometimes their navies) and a number of private companies and entrepreneurs engaged. Even national boundaries were settled with the Fur Trade in mind (Salmon fisheries and some other things…).  {001}
see also:
The Originals Index – Expeditions The Fur Trade)
The Originals Index – Western Forts and Trading Posts
The Originals Index – Trade in the Old West)
The Originals Index – Trade in the Old West –  Commerce in the Old WestThe Fur Trade
The Originals Index – Trade in the Old West – Beads in Old West Trade)


gain – [mining]  The amount of the desired metal recovered.  {001}

Gaited Horse – This term includes a number of breeds with a hereditary intermediate speed, four-beat ambling gait, including the Tennessee Walker, Paso Fino, and numerous others.  {001}
The Originals Index – Horses – Horse Breeds

gallin’ – (Cowboy lingo)  Courtin’ a calico (lady).

galloping consumption – tuberculosis, most likely miliary if they called it this…  {001}
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – DiseaseTuberculosis

Galloping Goose #2 - DictionaryGalloping Goose – A unique solution to the foundering economics of Colorado mountain railroading c. 1920’s – 30’s. Photo: U.S. PD Doc, Galloping Goose # 2.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation Photos – Railroads in the WestGalloping Goose)

galoot – Actually an old British military term for an awkward soldier, which crossed the pond and, in the old west, became a word used for a man not present (sometimes a tad derogatory). However, it was also used as a mostly good-natured description for an ungainly, awkward or unusual person. Many western movie sidekicks would serve as examples for this perspective.  {001}
FYI: In his song about a “sure enough bronc buster in a continental suit”, Marty Robbins called him a galoot. Doc

Gandy Dancer – (RR)  A long handled shovel ma de by the The Gandy Shovel Company of Chicago was often used in the process of leveling ties; levering the heavy tie would occasionally cause the worker to be suspended in the air on the end of his shovel handle, he was said to be “gandy dancing”. Other definitions exist. I like this one by old Wobbly, Utah Phillips, from “Moose Turd Pie“.  {001}

gas – (mining)  Usually associated with coal mines, but the hardrock mines had their share of poisoned air incidents as well. Most often methane or related hydrocarbon gasses associated with coal. It can seep out of the mountain and replace the air causing asphyxiation and/or large explosions.  {001}

gather – (Cowboy lingo)  1. The cattle which have been collected in a round-up. 2. The Round-Up itself.  {001}
FYI: I think first use was in old Texas. Doc

gauge – (RR) As measured between the rails inside. U.S. standard gauge {Stephenson gauge] is four feet, eight and one-half inches (1,435 mm). The narrow gauge mountain railroads in the west were built at three feet (914 mm). The Cripple Creek and Victor RR in Cripple Creek, CO is two feet (610 mm).  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation Photos – Railroads in the West

gauge – Shotguns & old rifles: the unit of measurement used to express the diameter of the barrel; determined by the weight of a solid sphere of lead which will fit the bore of the firearm. Expressed as a fraction of a pound, a 1⁄12th pound ball fits a 12-gauge bore (twelve, 12-gauge balls to the pound. The term is related to the measurement of cannon, which were also measured by the weight of their iron round shot; an 8 pounder would fire an 8 lb (3.6 kg) spherical cast iron ball and had a bore diameter of about 91 mm (3.6 in).  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Ammunition Then and Now

gee – Used by bullwhackers, teamsters, muleskinners, farmers and no doubt others: the verbal command for an animal team to swing to the right.  {001}
haw – below

gelding – A castrated equine: horse, donkey or mule.
castration – above

genocide – The systematic killing of substantial numbers of people on the basis of their ethnicity, religion, or nationality.
FYI: Coined by Polish legal scholar Raphael Lemkin in 1943 or 1944 in reference to the Armenian Genocide and the Jewish Holocaust.  {001}

genvägar är senvägar (Swedish) A very rough translation of this old proverb says: Trying to take a shortcut often costs you time, rather than saving it.
The Donner Party being a case in point…  {001}
Wk. 35, 08/31/1847 – Donner Party. (there’s more…)

get the drop on – Usually means to get your gun out first, but it could mean obtaining any good advantage ahead of the game.  {001}

getting a stand – shooting as many buffalo from one position as possible without spooking the herd (you shoot the animal most downwind). As long as they don’t smell blood they won’t run. Longest stand on record is over two hundred animals. The skinners were busy for a while on that one. See the skull pile*.  {001}
*The Originals Index – Cow? What cow?Buffalo

Ghigau – (Native American) Beloved Woman – A woman’s highest role in Cherokee society.  {001}

Ghost Dance – There were two incarnations of the Ghost Dance:
1869 – see: Wodziwob – below
1889 – see: Wk. 01, 01/01/1889 – Ghost Dance
PLAYERS – G – Ghost Dance

gib – A rather rare term for a castrated (neutered) tomcat.  {001}

GGill - copper measures - Dictionaryill – An archaic  unit of measurement for volume, equal to a quarter of a pint. Today, only used to measure the volume of alcoholic spirits, mostly in pubs in the United Kingdom. It was likely used in the U.S. colonies, on ships and may well have been used in the old west. In the U.S. a gill = four ounces (118 ml), 1/32 of a U.S. gallon. Photo: U.S. PD 20017 Joshknauer – These are English, copper gills, such as used in a pub. (Pronounced with a hard G, sounds like “Jill”, to me – Doc.)  {001}
The Originals Index, Entertainment in the Old West – Alcohol in the Old West

The Originals Index, Entertainment in the Old West – Alcohol in the Old Westgin

girls of the line – prostitutes

Glory Hole – (mining)  Any of several different types of excavations that commonly occur during the process of creating an open pit mine. Drilling a mine shaft, or using the block caving method of creating and managing a mine.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Mining PhotosGlory Holes

go-round – (rodeo)  A go-round is complete when every contestant has had an opportunity to compete in the events of their choice. A large rodeo may have more than one go-round.

Gold Ring (The) – 1869
Black Friday – above

goober peas (aka: goobers) – Peanuts; this term came west with the southerners.  {001}

goodnighting – A procedure developed by famous New Mexico cattleman Charles Goodnight; which consisted of removing a bull’s scrotum and sewing the testicles up inside the body to prevent chafing and damage (sometimes fatal) to the animal on long drives. It did not adversely affect the animal’s ability to breed.

Goofus – A person low in intellectual curiosity and indifferent to their forward direction.  {001}
The concept likely derives from the Goofus Bird, a cryptid from lumberjack folklore.
see also:
Just for Fun Pages – Monsters and Supernatural Beings of the Old WestGoofus Bird
cryptid – above

goosey – (Cowboy lingo)  Nervous and easily spooked.

gouge – To cheat or swindle someone.

Grabbin’ the Apple – (Cowboy lingo)  Taking a hold on the saddle horn in a “situation”.  {001}

grade horse – a horse of unknown or mixed breed parentage.

Grandee – Sp. In 1520, Spanish Kings re-established  the ancient dignity of Grandee (Grand noble) to confer as an additional rank of honor to distinguish them as a Grand señor (Lord of the realm), from lesser ricoshombres (Nobles de naturaleza), whose rank evolved into that of Hidalgo. It was not a general term denoting a class, but “an additional individual dignity”. A number of these personages received land grants in the old Spanish Southwest, thereby coming into conflict with the newly arriving Anglo culture after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.  {001}
Wk. 05
, 02/02/1848 – Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
The Originals – – Outlaw Gangs Index – Las Gorras Blancas (reference not yet available)

Granger – A member of the National Grange of the Patrons of Husbandry.
Wk. 49, 12/04/1867 – National Grange

Grasshopper Maneuver – (Steamboats)  The smaller lighter River Steamboats had a unique method of crossing shallow sand bars to reach deeper water beyond. Using spars and steam capstans on the front of the boat to lift and swing the bow of the boat onto the sand bar, the boat was moved forward a few feet at a time, until at some point when the boat was lifted, the current under the hull began to dislodge the sand and loose sediment under the boat. Often, the paddle wheel could then be used to facilitate the process. Slowly, the boat would create its own passable channel across the bar into deeper water.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation PhotosSteamboats

grass rope –  (Cowboy lingo)  A twisted stock rope made from maguey, manila or hemp (preferred). Very strong and durable, some easier to use than a rawhide Reata.
– below
Dally method – above
Hard and Fast method – below)
Wk. 44, 10/29/1922 – The Roping Fool

graze – To feed primarily on grasses and forbs.

greasy sack outfit – (Cowboy lingo)  A drive that has no chuck wagon and so the drovers (cowboys) have to carry everything on their own horses, and maybe a pack horse or two, startin’ out.  {001}
wallet – below

Great Basin – The largest endorheic basin in the Western U.S. (drains internally, no connection to the ocean). All precipitation in the region evaporates, sinks underground or flows into lakes (mostly saline). There are a number of named sinks* within the basin. The hydrographic Great Basin (magenta outline) is 209,162-square-miles (541,730 km2). Climate and flora within the Great Basin are strongly dependent on elevation: as the elevation increases, the temperature decreases and precipitation increases. Also outlined on the map: the Great Basin Desert (black), and the Basin and Range Geological Province (teal). Map: U.S. PD Wikimedia {001}
see also:
Endorheic Basin – above
Rain Shadow – below
– below

Great Basin Desert – A rain shadow* temperate desert with hot, dry summers and snowy winters. The desert spans a large part of the state of Nevada, and extends into western Utah, eastern California, and Idaho. This desert is characterized by basin and range topography, wide valleys bordered by parallel mountain ranges generally oriented north-south. More than 33 peaks within the desert summit higher than 9,800 feet (3,000 m), valleys in the region are also high, most with elevations above 3,900 feet (1,200 m). Biological communities vary according to altitude, from low salty dry lakes, up through rolling sagebrush valleys, to pinyon-juniper forests. Map: U.S. PD – Great Basin Desert by USGS
see also:
*Rain-shadow – below
Desert – above

Great Divide – 1: The high spine of The Rocky Mountains from which the waters flow either East or West.  2. to cross the “Great Divide” is to die*.  {001}
*die – above

Great Spirit – is the supreme being and principal deity of Native Americans.

Greenback Dollar (1862) - Dictionarygreen-broke – (Cowboy lingo)  A horse that has only been ridden once or twice, an unknown quality.

greenback – Paper currency issued by the United States during the American Civil War. They came in two forms: Demand Notes, issued in 1861–1862, and United States Notes issued in 1862–1865. They were legal tender by law, but they were not backed by gold or silver, only the credibility of the U.S. government. Photo: U.S. PD – internet.  {001}

Greenback Party – aka: the Independent Party, the National Independent Party, and the Greenback Labor Party, was an American political party with an anti-monopoly ideology, active between 1874 and 1889.  {001}

greener – Old name for a shotgun. Actually from the English gun maker W.W. Greener Ltd. (established 1829) who made high quality firearms then and still do.  {001}.

greenhorn – A newcomer; someone unfamiliar with the west. Also a pilgrim or a tenderfoot.

gringo – Sp. Originally a term for foreigners but in the southwest it became a derogatory term for Anglos, likely anyone not Mexican or Indian.  {001}

grog – Traditional drink of sailors – spirituous liquor (usually rum) cut with water.  {001}
The Originals Index, Entertainment in the Old West – Alcohol in the Old Westgrog

groom – A stableman who takes care of horses.

A glass growler - Dictionarygrowler – The can/jug that one brings to the saloon/bar to fill with beer to take home. The practice was more or less ended by bottled beer, but today, revived by the craft breweries. Photo: U.S. PD? internet. A glass growler.  {001}
The Originals Index, Entertainment in the Old West – Alcohol in the Old West

growler – (morache) A Ute musical instrument, traditionally made from an animal shinbone notched along its length; held in one hand, notches up, with the other end pressed down against a hollow log. When the notches are stroked with another bone, the growling sound which is part of the Bear Dance is produced. Today, growlers may well be made of wood and the hollow log is often replaced by corrugated sheet iron, but the Bear Dance  is still held annually, today, usually in late May but historically in March (when the first spring thunder occurs). The sound made by these “growl sticks” imitates both the noise made by the bear and the spring’s first thunder, which is believed to awaken the bears from their winter hibernation.  {001}
Bear Dance – above

grub – food

grubstake – 1. mining – To supply the food and equipment for a prospecting expedition for a share of the proceeds.  2. Later, it was used to describe supplying money to support someone’s skills or endeavors, expecting money, ownership or both from a success.  {001}

grubstake – It stared out to mean; finance a man to go prospecting but became generic;

G.T.T. – (Cowboy ling)  Gone To Texas, run off for whatever reason… Desert the army, hide from the law or maybe a woman.  {001}

gully washer – (Cowboy lingo) Enough rain to move everyone to higher ground and stay out of the arroyos.

gunman – a gunfighter

gunfighter – Popularized by Bat Masterson in the articles he wrote about the characters he knew in the West.

Black Powder – above

gunslinger – A modern term used first in the 1920 western movie Drag Harlan.  {001}
Wk. 23, 06/05/1953 – William Farnum

The Gun that Won the West! – Which one was it?
I can think of three candidates, all very different…
1. The Model 1873 Winchester Lever Action Rifle (cal. 44-40).
2. The  1872 Colt “Peacemaker” Single Action Army Revolver (.45 cal.).
3. The 1779 Girandoni Air Rifle, a 20 shot repeater (.46 cal.)
Truth is, many carried both of the first two, and rightly so. But that Colt was probably a 44-40 so as to carry only one type of ammunition. The third one was carried only by Meriwether Lewis.
Here’s the story: Winchester coined the phrase in a full-page magazine advertisement (1919). The idea had come from Edwin Pugsley, an engineer who had married into the Winchester family and later became company vice president. Winchester never trademarked the thing, and Colt eventually used the phrase in it’s advertising and the movies also said it was so, and there you have it, “The Guns that Won the West!”.  Not too many will see the Girandoni in the contest, until they read about what Lewis accomplished with that unusual gun*. {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Long GunsModel 1873 Winchester
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Handguns 1873 Colt Single Action Army
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Long Guns – Girandoni Air Rifle
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Ammunition, Then and Now
Wk. 02, 01/10/1862 – Samuel Colt
Wk. 50, 12/11/1880 – Oliver Winchester
PLAYERS – Lewis & Clark Expedition; Meriweather Lewis & William Clark

gun wadding – (Cowboy lingo)  Light bread


Haboob Ransom Canyon TX 2009 - DictionaryHaboob – (Arabic: هَبوبhabūb “blasting/drafting”)  Gust-front downdraft (downburst) dust cloud windstorms which occur worldwide. Common in the American Southwest; AZ, CA, NM, TX, etc. The wall of dust may approach with little or no warning and can be tens of miles wide and a mile or more in height, with winds of 20 to 50+ mph. Photo: U.S. PD 06/18/2009, Leaflet; a Haboob, moving across the Llano Estacado toward Yellow House Canyon near Ransom Canyon, TX.  {001}
see also:
The Originals – Landmarks and RegistersLlano Estacado
– below

hair drop – An ornament worn by men from Great Lakes and Plains tribes. Tied to the man’s hair, a typical example could consists of porcupine quillwork or a beaded section on a strip of leather, which might be later attached to a bison tail. During the 1840’s, glass beadwork became more common. Frequently adorned with tin cones, silver, and feathers, they could be over two feet long. One Piegan Blackfeet hair drop was worn to bring prosperity and included horse hair to protect the owner’s horse. Horse hair drops could be dyed for various effects. An 1870 Cheyenne hair drop was adorned with peacock feathers. In the late 19th century, hair drops incorporated German silver disks known as hair plates. Hair plates were most popular from 1835 to 1870, but are still made today for powwow and ceremonial regalia. Men’s hair drops are distinguished from women’s hair plates, because the women wear theirs from belts at the waist.  The term hair drop is also used for braids of human hair worn by Plains men, attached to adornment. Hair drops might have ceremonial importance, they have been attached to the Kiowa mescal bean bandoleer worn in Native American Church* regalia.
Today 19th century hair drops are highly collectible and often sold by non-Native traders for thousands of dollars. Photo: U.S. PD Pacer’s nephew wearing a hair drop. {001}
see also:
*Native American Church – below

Hair reata – A rope made from horse tail and or mane hair. Pretty and feels good but usually too light to throw well.  {001}

hame – One of two bars fitted to a horsecollar, holding the traces of a harness.  {001

Hand – A measurement used to determine the height of horses. With origins in ancient Egypt, it was originally based on the breadth of a human hand. However, the adoption of the international inch in 1959 allowed for a standardized imperial form and a metric conversion, now used in: Australia, Canada, the Republic of Ireland, the United Kingdom and the United States. It may be abbreviated to “h” or “hh”. Measurements between whole hands are usually expressed in what appears to be decimal format, but the subdivision of the hand is not decimal, but is in base 4, so subdivisions after the radix point are in quarters of a hand, which are inches. Thus, 62 inches is fifteen and a half hands, or 15.2 hh (normally said as “fifteen-two”, or occasionally in full as “fifteen hands two inches”). [article from Wikipedia] {001}
see also:
The Originals Index  – Resources & Hazards – Animals Index Page — Mammals – Horse Breeds

hand-game-set - DictionaryHandgame (Native American) – aka: stickgame; bones: A Native American gambling game classically played with two “bones”, with distinct markings, which may be concealed by the hand and ten sticks for tallying score. The two teams take turns guessing which hand has the winning bone. Played until one side loses all of its sticks. Horses, wives, land and lives have been lost and won. The game, with modern variations, is played regularly today, sometimes for big money. Photo: U.S. PD? internet – a nice modern hand-game set.  {001}
I played bones quite a bit in my youth. – Doc
for other Indian games see:
Snow Snake
– below
Photo Gallery Index – Indian PhotosGeorge Catlin paintings

Hangmans Bench - Dictionaryhanging – Dropped or raised up with a rope around the neck, usually fatal. Dropped properly the neck is broken and death is immediate. Improperly done or just lifted by the rope results in choking to death and the time can vary a bit* . Old Timers described it like this: being exalted; get your neck stretched; neck tie party; stretch hemp; string up; meet Judge Lynch, etc. Art work: U.S. PD, Hangman’s Bench.  {001}
Wk. 30, 07/29/1874 – Bully Brooks
Photo Gallery Index – Hangings and Shootings (Caution!)

Hankering – to have a desire for something. (lots of times that “g” on the back end ain’t there… Just sayin’. – Doc)

Hard and Fast method – One of two roping methods; this one uses a fixed small loop on the free end of the rope which is dropped over the saddle horn to secure the roped animal to the cowboy’s horse. This is certainly somewhat safer in general practice than the Dally method. However, it can occasionally be difficult to release whatever is on the other end of the rope. That can lead to some very exiting cowboy action. Hard and Fast ropers might use either a grass rope or a reata.  {001}
– below
Dally method – above
Photo Gallery Index – Cowboy Photos – for some idea how things might go…
Wk. 44, 10/29/1922 – The Roping Fool

Hardy Hole – (metal working, blacksmithing) The square hole in an anvil. It is the socket for a set of specialized forming and cutting tools, called Hardy tools. (see next entry) It will also be used for various punching and bending operations.  {001}
see also:
Pritchel Hole – below

Hardy tools - Dictionaryanvil bottom tools - DictionaryHardy Tools – (metal working, blacksmithing) [aka: anvil tools, bottom tools]  These specialized tools have a square shank which fits securely into the hardy hole of an anvil (solid fit, no rotation). The LH photo shows a “hardy” (the only tool so called), a hot cutting chisel, set in the hole. A bending fork lying on the anvil shows the square shank which sets the tools in the hardy hole. RH photo: Numerous specialized tools allow a great variety of, cutting bending and forming operations. This is a small selection.  {001}
see also:
Anvil – above
top tools – below

Harington, Sir John (sometimes, Harrington) (1560 – 1612). Inventor of the flush toilet. Then called the Ajax (aka: “jakes”, an old slang word for toilet). Portrait: U.S. PD by Hieronimo Custodis (1589).  {001}
see also:
Crapper, Thomas – above
john – below

Hassayamper – An Arizona Liar.

Hatałii –  (Navaho) A Singer, medicine man.
Photo: U.S. PD, Nesjaja Hatali-1907-Navajo-medicine-man {001}

Hatchet, The – A publication of Carrie A. Nation.  {001}
Wk. 23, 06/09/1911- Carrie Nation

HatchetationsCarrie Nation‘s self created name for her assaults’ on saloons after her husband had jokingly suggested she use a hatchet instead of rocks for her vandalisms (sometime in 1900).  {001}
Wk. 23, 06/09/1911- Carrie Nation

haulin’ coal – Railroader’s term for a visit to the red-light district.  {001}

haw – Used by bullwhackers, teamsters, mule skinners, farmers and no doubt others: the verbal command for an animal team to swing to the left.  {001}
gee – above

Snake Oil - Dictionaryhawk – 1. see: tomahawk  2. to sell something…  “That drummer‘s in town fixin’ to hawk some kind of snake oil” Snake Oil?* – {001)
*The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Plants – Medicinal PlantsPatent Medicines

head and tail string – A pack train where the lead line of an animal is tied to the tail of the animal in front [usually mules].

header – The rider in Team Roping who ropes the steer’s head.

headframe – (mining) The structure over the vertical shaft opening to a mine which holds to pulleys to whatever lifting gear is used to access the mine and/or remove ore.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index  – Mining Photos

headstamp – (firearms) The makers mark on a cartridge. Usually giving the manufacturers name or trademark and the caliber of the cartridge. Military headstamps often have only the year of manufacture, sometimes with letters or symbols denoting the manufacturer. Photo: U.S. PD ? A nice old Winchester headstamp on a 10 bore shotgun shell.  {001}

hear the owl hoot – to have numerous and varied experiences, among these; getting seriously drunk.
see also:
see the elephant – below

heeled – (1). armed . (2). has a lot of money (well heeled).

heeler – The rider in Team Roping who ropes the steer’s hind feet.

heifer – A young female cow.

Hell on Wheels Towns – The temporary and often portable “towns” that sprang up along the construction path of the the Transcontinental Railroad as it built out from Omaha, NE towards Promontory Point in Utah to meet the Central Pacific coming from the west.  {001}
The Originals Index – Railroads in the WestTranscontinental Railroad

hemp committeeVigilantes or a lynch mob.  {001}

Hemp fever – A fatal high temperature brought on by being abruptly suspended by the neck with a rope.

hen fruit – Chicken eggs.

hep – (Tx) – Help. As in: Kin I hep’ee? – or maybe… They ain’t no hep fer it, Curly, it’s broke! – or the classic… I cain’t hep it!  {001}

hepped up – (Tx) – excited. Often “all hepped up!”  {001}

Herbalism – A traditional medicinal practice based on the use of herbs, plants and plant extracts as the source of healing remedies. The use of herbs is combined with Spiritual Healing to treat the whole person:  mind, body and spirit.  {001}
see also:
The Originals – Resources & Hazards – Plants –
Medicinal Plants

herbivore – An animal anatomically and physiologically adapted to eating plant material, for the main component of its diet. {001}

Hereford Cattle – Brought for England in the 1880’s in yet another attempt to improve the Texas longhorn and other range cattle.  {001}
The Originals Index – Cow? What cow?

Hero Gun – A movie prop gun, cobbled from pieces parts for bling, close-ups and such. Often a one-off.  It’s what movie prop people call such things.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Firearms Oddities – A little Sci-Fi, anyone?

Hiawatha Insane Asylum
Canton Asylum for Insane Indians – above

hide-hunter – A buffalo hunter who killed animals only for the hide (c. 1870-80’s). Also known as buffalo runners although the practice of killing bison in that fashion had long been abandoned.  {001}
fuke – above

Bents Fort Hide Press - Dictionary

Buffalo Hide Press
Photo: U.S. PD

Hide Press – A large heavy tool for compressing Buffalo Robes into bales for shipment. Ten hides to the bale. This one is a modern replica at Bent’s Old Fort, CO.  {001}

Hide Rustler – One who killed cows and stole the hides, c. 1860’s – 70’s at a time when hides were worth as much or more than the meat and were certainly easier to handle and secrete.  {001}

Hidalgo – Sp. A lesser nobleman or a proprietor of extensive lands. Usually a man of pure or near pure Spanish descent.  {001}
see also:
Grandee (above)

High Climber – aka: tree topper (logging crew). Using rope and iron climbing hooks to ascend a tall tree in the landing area of the logging site, the high climber chopped off limbs as he climbed, chopped off the top of the tree, and then attached pulleys and rigging to the tree so it could be used as a spar to skid logs into the landing area. The job gradually phased out as portable steel towers replaced spar trees (1960s – early 1970s.  {001}
see also:
landing area – below
spar – below

Hi-grade – (mining) Very good ore.

Highgrading – (mining) To remove the most valuable part of the ore. Usually done by dishonest employees. 2. It came to be generic for taking the best of anything.{001}
see also:
Wasichu – below

high lonesome – 1. a heavy drinker.  2. A drunken spree.

high roller – 1. A gambler that plays high bets.  2. An extravagant spender  (c. 1873)  Likely an original reference to a Craps player.

hinny – a sterile hybrid created by crossing a male (stallion) horse with a female (jenny) donkey [Equus caballus x Equus asinus]. Not common, I knew an old cowboy in Hotchkiss, CO who rode one (1970’s).  {001}
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Animals Index Page – MammalsHinny

Hispanos – aka: Neomexicanos: Ethnic descendants of the Spanish and Mexican settlers of New Mexico and the southern portion of Colorado, including mestizo heritage from Indigenous Americans and Mexicans. While they are part of the larger Chicano/Mexican-American/Hispano community of the United States, who have lived in the American Southwest since the 16th century; They are different from the population of Mexican Americans which arrived after the Mexican–American War and the later Mexican Revolution.  {001}
see also:
Californio – above
Mexican Americans, Tejanos – below

History – is the discovery, collection, organization, analysis, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean a continuous, typically chronological record of important or public events or of a particular trend or institution. Scholars who write about history are called historians. It is a field of knowledge which uses a narrative to examine and analyze the sequence of events, and it sometimes attempts to objectively investigate the patterns of cause and effect that determine events. Historians debate the nature of history and its usefulness. This includes discussing the study of the discipline as an end in itself and as a way of providing “perspective” on the problems of the present. The stories common to a particular culture but not supported by external sources are usually classified as cultural heritage rather than as the “disinterested investigation” needed by the discipline of history. Events of the past prior to written record are considered prehistory.  The modern study of history has many different fields, including those that focus on certain regions and those that focus on certain topical or thematic elements of historical investigation. Often, history is taught as part of primary and secondary education, and the academic study of history is a major discipline in university studies. – edited from Wikipedia

hobble yer lip – Shut up!

hoe-down – (hoe-dig) A dance.

Hogan mud - DictionaryHogan - Navajo - DictionaryHogan – A Navaho home. In the old days, a relatively temporary structure; a conical or dome shape of sticks and branches covered with brush and grass then plastered with mud. The door would always face east. Photos: U.S. PD internet; LH a more modern wood hogan; RH classic mud plastered hogan.  {001}

hog-leg – A large, long barreled pistol.

hog ranch – where pigs are raised, true; but it could also mean a whorehouse in the old west. If the Post Commander didn’t let the “laundresses” live at the fort and there was no town, the brothel and the booze were often at the hog ranch. Required to be several miles downwind of the fort, the hog ranch was often the only “civilization” and safety available for the camp followers.  {001}

hoist (mining) – What ever apparatus or machinery used via the headframe to do the work of raising and lowering the miners, tools, ore, etc in the mine.

hole up – 1. To take shelter in bad weather (could be all winter). 2. To hide from pursuit, be it man or beast doing the hiding.  {001}

hombre – Sp. = man. Sometimes with derogatory adjectives; bad, dangerous, desperate, tough,  etc.

hombre del campo – A title of respect. A sign reader, tracker, hunter and trapper extraordinaire. One who is expert in the ways of the wild. Often used by J. Frank Dobie.  {001}
Wk. 38, 09/18/1964 – J. Frank Dobie

homesteader – 1. One who intended to prove up land under the U.S. Homestead Act.*  2. One of a cowman’s generic names for farmers.  {001}
*Wk. 20, 05/20/1862

horn in – to butt in or push into a situation, particularly where you aren’t wanted.  {001)

hook – (logging crew)

hooker – a prostitute. English in origin, but used in the U.S. as early as 1845.

hookshop – a brothel.

hoolihan – 1. A wild cowboy celebration. 2. A minimal action rope throw designed to take one horse out of a band without getting the whole group excited. 3. To jump from ones horse and land on a cow so as to knock it off its feet. 4. When a bucking horse somersaults.  {001}

hooraw – 1. A wild ride through a town with lots of noise and maybe some shots fired. To generally cause an uproar. 2. To deride someone.  {001}

hoosegow – A jail.

Horn in – To participate without invitation or consent. Consent might be obtained… or not.  {001}

Horno – A traditional southwest adobe (mud brick) oven – The design actually comes from the Moors via the
Spanish to the New World, c. 1500’s.  1. Build a big fire inside the oven for several hours. 2. Clean the fire out of the oven. 3. Block the smoke hole. 4. place items to be baked in the oven. 5. Close and seal the door. Baking time 1 to 3 hours depending on numerous variables. You learn your oven with use. Photo: LH U.S. PD This is a modern one but nothing has changed. RH Illustration: U.S. PD  Pueblo Oven by Frederick Webb Hodge – Handbook of American Indians North of Mexico (1912).  {001}

horns – Paired growths on the heads of many ungulate animals. They have a bone core, covered with a keratin substance (think fingernails). Hard and solid, they are effective weapons. Horns are permanent, never shed and regrown, as are antlers. If broken or lost, they do not regrow. Horns may appear on both sexes of some species. Animal horn is extremely useful for numerous purposes. {001}
The Originals Index – Cow? What Cow?
see also:
The Originals Index – Trade in the Old WestHorn
antlers – above

hornswoggle – To cheat, fool or trick someone. Could be at cards, a bunco operation or most anything else.  {001}

Horse Colors
The Originals Index – Horses Horse Colors

Horse in Motion Study
Wk. 25, 06/19/1878 – Horse in Motion Study

horse thief – a horse thief (rustlers steal cattle). Often a hanging offense by law or otherwise…  {001}

The Originals Index – Horses
The Originals Index – Horses Horse Breeds
The Originals Index – Horses Horse Colors
Mustang – below

Hosteen – also Hastiin, (Navajo) 1. A term of respectful address meaning man or husband. Often used before a last name, functioning in a way that is similar to the usage of Mister (Mr.) in English.  2. In the Navajo Origin Story, “First Man,” is called Áłtsé Hastiin.  {001}

hostile – An Indian who did not do what the government desired, IE: go to the reservation and stay there.  {001}

Hozhonji Songs – (Navajo) Holy songs given to the people by the gods.  {001}

Hudsons Bay point blanket - DictionaryHudson’s Bay point blanket – The first Hudson’s Bay “pointed” blankets appeared in 1780 and became a staple of the fur trade*. The short black lines woven into the blanket just above the bottom set of stripes are referred to as “points”. About four inches in length (except in the case of half points, which are two inches), they indicate the finished overall size (area) of a blanket and allow a blanket’s size to be easily determined while remaining folded. Blankets of 2.5, 3, 3.5 and 4 point were most common during the fur trade era. Often produced with a green, a red, a  yellow and an indigo stripe on a white background. The colors were popular and easily produced using the colorfast dyes of the times. Some solid color blankets were also produced.  {001}
see also:
*The Originals Index – Expeditions The Fur Trade
*The Originals Index – Commerce in the Old WestThe Fur Trade
– above

hostler – 1. A stableman. 2. A railroad employee who moved the locomotives around the roundhouse or marshaling yard.  {001}

hot box – RR – The journal boxes enclosing the bronze bearings on the wheels of much older railroad cars were filled grease and a cloth product, soaking in it, called waste. If the grease ran out the overheating bearing would usually set the waste on fire,

hundred-men’s-wives – Chinese term for prostitutes.  {001}

hunker –  or hunker down: 1. To squat on one’s heels or hams. 2. to lay low for a spell…   {001}

hurricane deck – The back of a bucking horse.

hydraulic mining
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos, Hydraulic Mining by Grabill, 4th pic down


immigrant – A person who comes to a country to be a permanent resident.  {001}
see also:
emigrant – above

Indian Agent – An individual authorized to interact with Indian tribes on behalf of the U.S. government. 1793 to 1849 The Bureau of Indian Affairs and its Agents were part of the Department of War.
Their Original duties included:
“Work toward preventing conflicts between settlers and Indians.”
“See to the successful removal of tribes from areas procured for settlement to reservations.”
“Maintain flexible cooperation with U.S. Army military personnel.”
“See to the proper distribution of annuities granted by the state or federal government to various Indian tribes.”
“Keep an eye out for violations of intercourse laws and to report them [violations] to superintendents.”

In 1849, the Bureau of Indian Affairs became part of the Department of the Interior, placing Indian agents under civilian jurisdiction. A Board of Commissioners now managed the Bureau’s affairs and had the power to appoint and fire the Agents.
By the 1880’s an Agent’s duties had become the following:
“See that Indians in one’s designated locality are not “idle for want of an opportunity to labor or of instructions as to how to go to work.”
“Absolutely “no work must be given to white men which can be done by Indians.”
“See to it that the Indians under one’s jurisdiction can farm successfully and solely for the subsistence of their respective family.”
“Enforce prohibition of liquor.”
“Both provide and supervise the instruction of English education and industrial training for Indian children.”
“Allow Indians to leave the reservation only if they have acquired a permit for such.”
(permits were only irregularly granted)
“As of July 1884, Indian agents will compile an annual report of their reservations for submission, aimed at collecting the following information from Indian respondents: Indian name, English name, Relationship, Sex, and Name among other statistical information.”
When Theodore Roosevelt became President (1901 – 1909) every Indian agent still remaining on the government payroll was replaced by a school superintendent.  {001}

Indian Blood Laws – The first law addressing this issue was passed in the Colony of Virginia (1705 ), to define Native Americans and to restrict the civil rights of people who were half or more Native American. Over time, there were more “Indian Blood laws” or blood quantum laws to regulate who would be classified as Native American. The Indians were never consulted as to their views on the subject, yet were finally forced to observe the government’s rules to some extent even in their own tribal membership management.
A vastly complicated issue that affects such things as: tribal membership, land ownership, property rights, civil rights, government benefits  and much more, it is a story far too complex and convoluted to sort in Old West Daily Reader. That said, it is a vital chapter within the story of the Old West and an issue close to the heart of Indian Affairs yet today.  {001}

Indian broke – A horse trained to be mounted from the off side (Indian side, the right side), as the Indians did.

Indian Country – aka: Indian Territory. The term originates with the Indian Intercourse Act (1834).  {001}
PLAYERS – Timelines Index – Timelines A-L – Indian Treaties TimelineIndian Intercourse Act

Indian Directions – for some tribes: Earth Woman – East; Mountain Woman – South; Water Woman – West; Corn Woman – North.  {001}

Indian post office –  Piles of rocks and/or sticks and bones at strategic or high points, bearing messages for those who could read them.

Indian Pueblo Cultural Center – Founded in 1960 by Friends of the Library and The Indian Pueblo Council and others. Located in Albuquerque, NM. Owned and operated by the 19 Indian Pueblos of New Mexico. Dedicated to the preservation and perpetuation of Pueblo Indian Culture, History and Art.  {001}
Links to Friends – Indian Pueblo Cultural Center
Native American Tribes – Pueblos of New Mexico

Indian signboard – A buffalo shoulder blade (scapula) used to leave “signs” (message marks) on the prairie.

Indian Sign Language Council of 1930 – The largest intertribal meeting of Indian chiefs, elders, medicine men, and other representatives ever filmed (09/4-6/1930, in Browning, MT)  {001}
see also:
Wk. 01, 10/03/1959 – Dr. Lanny Real Bird

Oklahoma and Indian Territories map - DictionaryIndian Territory – Created in 1834 and used as the location to force many Indian Tribes to move out of the way of white settlement in other parts of the country.
After the failure of the attempt to create the Indian State of Sequoyah,* President Theodore Roosevelt proposed a compromise that would join the Indian Territory with the Oklahoma Territory to form a single state. This resulted in passage of the Oklahoma Enabling Act, (o6/16/1906). Oklahoma soon became the 46th state*. Map: U.S. PD, Oklahoma and Indian Territories c. 1895 by Kmusser.  {001}
see also
Indian Country – above.
Wk. 52, 12/29/1835 – Treaty of New Echota
Sequoyah, State of – below
*Wk. 46, 11/16/1907 – Oklahoma

Indian Tribes
The Originals Index – Native American Tribes

Indian Warrior Women – Most Indian women did not pursue warfare as a way of life, though they could do so without censure if they wished. It was not uncommon for childless married women to accompany their husbands into battle zones. Proximity to the fighting could bring them into an active role in a conflict, particularly if a husband were wounded or killed. Natural female warriors usually became apparent in childhood and joined in warfare at their own choice. There were certainly mothers among the fighters.
These brave and bold women were often war chiefs, leaders and notable warriors, well known within their tribe and certainly by their enemies.  {001}
The Originals Index – Native American Tribes – Indian Warrior Women

Indians not taxed – (1790) – “Omitting Indians not taxed, distinguishing free persons, including those bound to service, from all others.” Indians living “wild,” generally meaning plains Indians in the west, or on reservations were not taxed, but those who were enumerated were recorded in the “all other free” column on the census form. In point of fact, Indians who were not considered citizens.  They were not taxed because they were treated as outside the American body politic. They were not United States citizens, and they were not governed by ordinary federal and state legislation. Tribal laws, treaties with the United States, and special federal Indian legislation governed their affairs.{001}
Wk. 10, 03/06/1857 – The Dred Scott Decision
Wk. 22, o6/02/1924 – Indian Citizenship Act of 1924

Indigenous Peoples’ Day – Founded in South Dakota (1989), the holiday is now celebrated across the United States on the second Monday in October. It is an official city holiday in dozens of localities and state holiday in seven states (as of 2019). Beginning as a counter-celebration to Columbus Day, held on the same day as the U.S. federal holiday, this holiday celebrates and honors the Native Americans and commemorates their shared history and culture.
Today, many view the 1492 “discovery” of American by Christopher Columbus as the merely the beginning the violent history of  colonization and genocide in the Western Hemisphere and the man himself as a racist, looter and murderer.  {001}

IWW union label. - DictionaryIndustrial Workers of the World – aka: IWW, the Wobblies. Founded in 1905, a “model of workplace democracy” an international labor union for all. Not required to work in a union shop, other union membership not forbidden. Still exists today. TYH! Art work: U.S. © IWW, Union Logo – Fair Use.  {001}

In over his head – Said of someone in a situation he doesn’t understand and/or can’t manage.  {001}

inter arma enim silent leges – (Latin) “for among arms, the laws are silent.”

Intertribal Buffalo Council – Aa federally chartered Indian Organization under Section 17 of the Indian Reorganization Act. Founded in 1990, the ITBC cooperative was formed to coordinate and assist tribes in returning the buffalo to Indian country in a manner that promotes cultural enhancement, spiritual revitalization, ecological restoration, economic development and to reestablish hope for Indian people. The organization has a membership of 56 tribes in 19 states with a collective herd of over 15,000 bison. Membership in ITBC remains open.
The role of the ITBC is to act as a facilitator in coordinating education and training programs, developing marketing strategies, coordinating the transfer of surplus buffalo from national parks to tribal lands, and providing technical assistance to its membership in developing sound management plans that will help each tribal herd become a successful and self-sufficient operation, thereby helping to heal the spirit of both the Indian people and the buffalo. Logo: © Intertribal Buffalo Council.  {001}
The originals Index – Cow? What Cow?Buffalo? Current Status

Irish goodbye – aka: Irish exit.
French leave
 – above

iron – (1). a firearm, usually a revolver  (2). a branding iron

ironclad possum – An Armadillo.
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Animals Index Page
MammalsArmadillo & Opossum

irons – a cowboy’s fork and spoon.

ivories – Dice or poker chips. Back when they really were made of elephant ivory; billiard balls were as well.  {001}

Izze-kloth – aka: Medicine cord. A sacred cord worn by Apache medicine men, believed to confer special powers of healing and strength upon the wearer. Usually made from strands of animal hide, likely four, most often dyed yellow, blue, white and black with beads and shells, added at appropriate locations, bringing their structure, meaning and power to the whole. “… so sacred that strangers are not allowed to see them, much less handle them or talk about them.”  {001}


jakal hut - Dictionary

Jakal hut

Jacal – (sp. jacales) In the southwestern U.S. and Mexico, a hut with a thatched roof and walls consisting of thin stakes driven into the ground close together and plastered with mud. (1830-40 from the Spanish, from the Nahuatl, much earlier)   {001}
see also:
Native American Pre-History – The Southwest
– 750 to 900 A.D – Pueblo I

jackpot – (poker) A big prize. The original meaning was the series of antes that results when no player has an opening hand consisting of two jacks or better.  (c.1881)

Janney railroad coupling - Dictionary

Janney railroad coupling,
view from above

The Janney coupler (RR) aka: knuckle coupler, automatic coupler, Buckeye coupler, etc., was invented by Eli H. Janney (1864/1873 patents). The design worked like a pair of human hands grasping one another while a pin, situated inside the coupler, closed and locked the coupler automatically via the force of the cars coming together. Its use eliminated the need for a worker to go in-between the cars, risking life and limb to make connections. A lever placed to the side of the car disengaged the locking pin, allowing easy, safe uncoupling of the connection, again, without going between the cars.
This was an extremely important invention which improved not only the safety of railroad employees but ultimately railroad safety in general. For example: later improvements in the coupler aided in preventing cars from disconnecting and telescoping during accidents. Photo U.S. PD? internet – A modern Janney coupling. Diagram: U. S. PD 1873, the top view of Janney’s coupler design as published in his patent application in 1873.  {001}
see also:
Wk. 07, 03/02/1896 – Railroad Safety Appliance Act
Wk.17, 04/29/1873 – Janney coupler
Link and Pin coupler
– below

javelina – (Sp) – A Collared Peccary.
The Originals Index – Resources and Hazards – Animals Index Page – MammalsCollared Peccary

jawbone– (trade term) A credit transaction. Not too common. It would require special circumstanes and considerable trust between the parties.  {001}

Jayhawker – A pre-civil war term applied to partisan “Free Staters”; those opposed to a designation as a slave state. Today: Kansans or one born in Kansas.  {001}
Wk. 22, 05/30/1854 – The Kansas-Nebraska Act
Photo Gallery Index – People and Places Photos –  Silas S. Soule – The Jayhawker Ten

Jehu – A generic name for a stagecoach driver. A biblical character who was said to have proceeded fast and furiously.

jerk line – Used to control a large team; a single line from the teamster (driver, mule skinner) ran to the left side of the left leaders bit, one jerk left, two jerks right. “He’s driving a jerk-line string.” A second man, the lasher or swamper, rode the lead wagon and applied the brake or the whip as needed.  {001}
Wk. 2, 02/08/1856 – John Veatch

jerk wire – (Logging) A line attached to the whistle on a yarding donkey*, with which the Whistle Punk** blows starting and stopping signals.  {001}
see also:
* Steam Donkey
– below
* Yarder and Yarder Operator – below
** Whistle Punk – below

jiggle – The normal ground covering, waggling trot of a cow pony.  {001}

Jim Crow – (mining) A mining tool used to bend rails.{001}
see also:
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos

john – (slang) a toilet.
Harington, Sir John – above

John B. Stetson – 1. A hat maker.  2. One of his hats (a John B.) 3. A statement of durability and quality [think arbuckle or kleenex].   {001}
Wk 07, 02/18/1906 – John B. Stetson
Boss of the Plains
– above

John Chinaman – A Chinese (sometimes, just John).  {001}
see also:
Wk. 18, 05/06/1882 – Chinese Exclusion Act

Joker – 1. The non-royal face card in a poker deck. (c.1868) Likely a reference to the generic Britih slang meaning any chap, fellow or man.  2. Black Joke, mentioned in the 1857 Hoyle’s edition of games, notes all face cards as jokers.

Jornada del Muerto – (Sp) translated loosely from Spanish, as the “Journey of the Dead Man“. It refers to the particularly dry 100-mile (160 km) desert region the Conquistadors had to cross to make it from Las Cruces to Socorro, New Mexico on the on El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (the Royal Road to the Interior Lands); the 1,200-mile Spanish colonial trail from Mexico City to Santa Fe. (First Spanish crossing in 1598*.) Map U.S. PD by Thaddeus P. Bejnar {001}
El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro – above
*The Originals Index – Expeditions Juan de Oñate y Salazar 



Judge Lynch – Vigilantes often introduced killers, outlaws, rustlers and others they didn’t like, to Judge Lynch.  {001}
– above
Lynch, Charles – below

jug-head – 1. A horse lacking horse sense. They never seem to get it.  2. Might be said of a man as well, for the same reason.  {001}


KKK – see: Klu Klux Klan.

Kachinas – The deified ancestral spirits of the Pueblo people and spirits of natural phenomena. The term Kachina is also applied to a masked dancer believed to embody a particular spirit during a religious ceremony or ritual.  {001}

Keep your eyes peeled – It means to watch the surroundings/situation, etc. very carefully. Keep a sharp lookout. Be extremely alert. Look out!  {001}

Keetoowah Nighthawk Society – A Cherokee Indian organization which strongly believed in the preservation of traditional ways. Including active rejection of American-European lifestyles and intermarriage between the races, with particular disapproval of Cherokee women being involved romantically with white men.  {001}
Wk. 15, 04/15/1872 – Going Snake Massacre/kidnapping – The first kidnapping of a Native  American by Europeans was said to have occurred in July of 1524 when Italian explorers took an Indian child to France. No word on whether he? or she? was ever returned…  {001}

Keratin – One of a family of structural fibrous proteins. Alpha-keratin is found in vertebrates as claws, feathers, finger nails, hair, hooves, horns, scales and the outer layer of skin.  {001}

Abraham Gesner - Dictionary

Abraham Gesner
Photo: U.S. PD

Dietz Kerosene Lantern - Dictionary

Dietz Kerosene Lantern

kerosene – aka: paraffinlamp oil, and coal oil (obsolete). A combustible hydrocarbon liquid distalate of petroleum. Registered as a trademark by Canadian geologist and inventor Abraham Gesner (1854), the name soon evolved into a genericized trademark. It gradually replaced all of the other lighting alternatives (lard oil, whale oil, Camphine/burning oil and coal oil) by the early 1860’s. There were other household and industrial uses. It is sometimes spelled kerosine in scientific and industrial usage. Today, it’s mostly jet fuel. Its name derives from Greek: κηρός (keros) meaning “wax”. Kerosene was eventually replaced by electric lighting, at first DC then AC. Photos: U.S. PD LH –  {001} Dietz No.2 Wizard NY USA. – RH – Abraham Gesner.  {001}
Lard Oil
– below
Coal Oil
– above
– above
Whale Oil – below
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – A Whale of a Tale About Oil

Kinetoscope – (1897)
Wk. 35, 08/31/1897 – Kinetoscope patent by Thomas Edison.

kick the bucket – to die.  {001}

Kinnikinnick – Originally a Chippewa word implying a mixture, but it came to be the generic name for all Indian tobacco mixes such as: tobacco/dried sumac leaves/and the inner back of a certain species of dogwood and various Bearberry mixes, all of which often include some tobacco. Later, it came to mean only Bearberry [bear’s berry, bear’s grape]: (Arctosta’phylos uva-ur’si; a manzanita) with an edible berry enjoyed by a number of species of animals and birds. Occasionally, the medicine men may have added other ingredients.  {001}
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Plants – Hallucinogenic Plants
medicine pipe – below
peace pipe – below

Kit Fox Society – (Cheyenne) An Indian warrior society. Some of these groups extended beyond tribal boundaries.  {001}
Koitsenko below
from Kiowa Black Leggings Warrior Society – A Kiowa warrior society.

kitty – The pool of money in a card game. (c. 1887).  Probably from”kit”, a collection necessary supplies or possibly from British slang for a jail or prison, also “kit”. (c.1833)

Kiowa Gourd Dance Clan – A Kiowa warrior society.
Koitsenko below

Kiva - sm - Dictionary

A small kiva, (uncovered)

Kiva diagram - DictionaryKiva – A room used by Pueblo Indians for religious rituals, ceremonial, social and other functions. Classically round and underground. Over the years designs have varied with belief, location and tribe; including partially buried structures, some built above ground and a few towers. Most are associated with the kachina belief system.
Archaeologists believe the structures originally evolved from simple pit houses, but today, among the modern Hopi and most other Pueblo peoples, kivas are square-walled, underground, and used mostly for spiritual ceremonies. Photo and illustration: U.S. PD NPS  {001}
see also:
Pit house – below

Kleio – Roman muse.
– above

KKK logo - DictionaryKlu Klux Klan – The name taken by three distinct movements in the United States. The first played a violent role as the military arm of the Knights of the Golden Circle (see next entry) against African Americans in the South during the Reconstruction Era (1865-70’s). The second was a very large controversial nationwide organization (1915-44). The current manifestation consists of numerous small unconnected groups that use the KKK name (1946 to present). They have all emphasized secrecy, distinctive costumes, and called for purification (all white) of American society. Current membership is well under 10,000. All are considered right-wing hate groups but their tactics have always been: intimidation, vigilantism, assassination and lynching. They are today, and have always been, terrorists. KKK Logo U.S. PD  {001}

KGC History of Seccession cover 1862 - DictionaryKnights of the Golden Circle (KGC) – (1854 to 1916 to present..?) A mid-nineteenth century para-military pro-slavery secret society whose original objective was to annex a “golden circle” of territories in Mexico (which would be divided into 25 slave states), Central America, northern South America, and Cuba and the rest of the Caribbean for inclusion in the United States as slave states. After the Dred Scott Decision (1857); the members proposed a separate confederation of slave states, with US states south of the Mason-Dixon line to secede and to align with other slave states to be formed from the golden circle. The goal was always to increase the power of the Southern slave-holding upper class. In late 1863, the KGC reorganized as the Order of American Knights. In 1864, it became the Order of the Sons of Liberty. Allegedly, the KGC is a secret society yet today, still plotting a second civil war.  Legends exist (numerous variations) of secret hoards of gold and silver, spirited away, as the Southern government disintegrated at the end of the Civil War, and hidden in various locations around the country. Buried to be recovered in the future, to finance a new Confederacy. Book cover U.S. PD 1862 KGC.  {001}
The Originals Index – Lost Treasures in the Old West

Knight of the Green Cloth – A gambler.

Knights of the Road – Stage robbers. In Arizona, starting in 1879 and for at least a decade thereafter, stage holdups occurred at the rate of nearly one per month.  {001}

Koitsenko – [aka: Real Dogs] A Kiowa warrior society. Membership was limited to the top ten living Kiowa warriors as elected by all the warriors in the six military societies. Five of these were for adults [Kiowa Black Leggings Warrior Society; Kiowa Gourd Dance Clan; Koitsenko; O-Ho-Mah Warrior Society, Tiah-pah Society] and the sixth [Rabbit Warrior Society] included all young boys in the tribe. All grouped together under the title, “Dog Soldiers” said to be due to legends of visions and dreams of dogs by members but perhaps also, because members of other tribes called them “dog soldiers”.  Their duty was to protect the tribe even at the cost of their own life. Among other duties, members served as tribal “police”, and organized hunts and raids.  {001}
Dog Soldiers – above

Petroglyphs Mortendad Cave - Dictionary

Petroglyphs in Mortendad Cave

Kokopelli– (wooden-backed and others – Hopi) Mythical Hopi symbol of music, dance, replenishment, fertility, mischief and so much more! The iconic humpbacked flute player of the Southwest. The only anthropomorphic traditional figure to have name, gender, legend and a 3,000 year long history in Native American art. It was the Spanish missionaries who finally emasculated him as we see him depicted today. An excellent History Riders study subject; a Western Icon/legend of the original residents of the West and how he lives on in the modern world.  Look him up and enjoy the stories! Photo: U.S. PD Larry Lamsa  {001}


Ladies of the Evening – prostitutes.

Ladies Silk Sponges - DictionaryLadies Silk Sponges – A 19th century birth control method. Women could discretely purchase these walnut sized sponges by mail order from the Sears and Roebuck catalogue. Photo: U.S. PD? internet – The modern product.  {001}

ladino – Sp. 1. A wild longhorn. 2. The, the word became generic for any wild and dangerous sort of critter…  {001}

landing – (logging) aka: yard. A small flat area where the yarder pulls the logs for final trimming and to await transportation.
see also:
yarder – below

Land Rush – Free land given by the government. Implying that there was a starting line and time for the aspirants to enter a defined section of country and stake claim to a piece of land. Yes, well…*  {001}
*sooner – below
Wk. 37, 09/16/1893 – Cherokee Strip Land Run

Lard Oil Lamp c. 1840's - DictionaryLard Oil – A colorless or yellowish oil expressed from pure lard after it has been crystallized, or grained, at 7° C (45° F), used for lighting in the late 1830’s and early 40’s to offset/compete with the rise in price of whale oil. Numerous special designs were patented for lardoil lamps from the 1840’s to the 1860’s. Most wick holders were wide and flat, some of the lamps used a plunger to force the lard into the wick. Lardoil burners were often made to bring heat to the fuel for a better flow to the wick. Certainly cheaper, but definitely outsold in the marketplace by the brighter, better smelling, “Burning Fluid”* technology. Made totally obsolete by kerosene (1860’s)**. Today, lard is used mainly as a lubricant for cutting tools.  Photo: U.S. PD? Lard Oil Lamp c. 1840’s.  {001}
see also:
*Camphine – above
**Kerosene – above
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – A Whale of a Tale About Oil

Llano EstacadoThe Staked Plains
Staked Plains – below

lasher – The number two man driving a jerk-line team.* He rode the lead wagon, applied the whip and the brake as needed. aka: Swamper.** {001}
see also:
*Jerk-Line – above
**Swamper – below
Wk. 35, 08/27/1931 – Borax Smith
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation PhotosLast Large Bull Team

lash rope – A length of rope used to secure the packs onto a pack saddle (usually on horses or mules).  {001}

Laudanum - Dictionarylaudanum – An over-the-counter medication until 1906; tincture of opium, about 10% opium, by weight, dissolved in ethyl alcohol. Used to control diarrhea, prescribed as an analgesic, a cough suppressant or for menstrual cramps. Widely abused, it also produced calm babies and numbed or dead doves. Photo: U.S. PD 2008, Cydone.{001}
see also:
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Plants – Medicinal PlantsLaudanum 

leaders – The front pair in any team of four or more animals.  {001}
– below
wheelers – below

Lead Poisoning – Probably wasn’t from eating paint chips in these times, most likely a shooting.  {001}

Leaving Cheyenne – A man who announces this is fixin’ move on down the road. He may or may not, allow as to where he’s goin’ or what he intends to do. Said to have come from the old cowboy song “Goodbye Old Paint, I’m leavin’ Cheyenne“.  {001}
see also:
cutting suspenders – above

leggin – A cowboy punishment, to “give a leggin” was to bend a man over a wagon tongue and beat him with a pair of leggins or chaps. An infraction of rules or behavior might be determined to be a “leggins case”.

leggins – Another term for chaps. More likely in Texas.

leppy – Cowboy term for an orphaned calf. Usually identifiable by it’s pot belly and/or poor condition.  {001}

Life  Preserver – (Cowboy Life Preserver) – A revolver.

light writing – (Indian slang) Photography.  {001}

Lincoln shingles – A hard cracker-like bread issued as rations for army troops and part of the food stocks distributed at the Indian Agencies.  {001}

lines — reins

link and pin – (RR) The system for coupling railroad cars together before the knuckle coupler. The links were kept short to reduce slack between cars. Most old-timers wouldn’t bother using the brake clubs, issued to allegedly make the task safer, so the brakeman held the link in one hand and the second pin in the other, while the cars were pushed together. Note, that he has to step between the stationary car and oncoming car to do this. At exactly the right moment, he had to set the link in the pocket of the moving car, let go, quickly remove the body parts currently at risk, and insert the second pin into the pin socket of the oncoming car that has just bumped/crashed into the one standing still. If the brakeman slipped, his timing was off, or the engineer pushed the car too hard, he could loose fingers, a hand, or even be crushed completely between the two cars. Photos: U. S.  PD 2009 Ben Ficaske, Voices of Harvey County (KS) website.  {001}

Link and pin RR coupler demonstration

Old friend and mentor in my youth, Virgil Weaverling had done more than a few unusual jobs in his life and working on the railroad was one. Virgil said that back in his early days on small railroads, a lot of ‘em were still using link and pin couplers. When the foreman was interviewing new hires, he would always ask if any of them had railroad experience. After taking their answers, he would ask them to hold up their hands. He would hire the men who were missing fingers first, because he knew for sure that they had experience with link and pin couplers. A personal conformation of the same story one always hears about link and pin railroading.
Link and pin didn’t just roll over an die in 1900. Changing the couplers on every car was lots of manpower and money for a small railroad. Here’s proof it lived on for a spell and a side thought or two on what might have helped it modernize away:  This photo shows an early Janney coupler, also set up for link and pin. The link goes into the horizontal slot on the knuckle and the pin drops in the hole. That would be if… you can find the right size of both link and pin when you need them. That was common problem for any inter-connected link and pin road. Another regular issue was that those heavy iron parts weren’t bolted down. Wages were low everywhere and scrap iron was worth cash money…  Doc
RH Photo: U.S. PD? internet – Janney Coupler w/ Link and Pin connection
Janney coupler (RR) aka: knuckle coupler – above

Little Big Horn College
Links to FriendsLittle Bighorn College

Little People (Native American) – aka: “spirit dwarves“or stick people. Numerous Native peoples of North America told variations of legends concerning a race of “little people” who lived in the woods near sandy hills and sometimes near rocks located along large bodies of water, such as the Great Lakes.  {001}
Tommy Knockers
– below
Just for fun pages – Monsters and Supernatural Beings of the Old West Little People

lizard bird – A roadrunner, it’s what they eat.  {001}

Llano Estacado – The Staked Plains, Gaines County, TX.
PLAYERS – Timelines – Timelines M-ZStaked Plains Horror

loaded for bear - Dictionaryloaded for bear – Heavily armed, ready to fight, well prepared. Photo: U.S. PD unknown.  {001}

Lock, Stock and Barrel – This folk saying of completeness goes back to early America when one built his own firearm by purchasing the components separately from the individual craftsman who made them. Then came a time when you could purchase lock, stock and barrel at the same location and soon it was already put together for you. Manufactures of arms for the military sold “leftovers” to the public and discovered a market to make firearms for civilian purposes. {001}

locking horns – (Cowboy lingo) A serious disagreement or a fight.

locoed – (swainsonine disease, swainsonine toxicosis – wainsonine) Range animals can become addicted to eating loco weed. This can cause weight loss, eye problems and brain degradation resulting in muscle control issues. Cattle will grow longer hair on their flanks and horses will show abnormal hair growth on mane and tail.  {001}
The Originals Index – Resources and Hazards – Plants
Hazardous PlantsJimson Weed & Loco Weed

lodge – 1. A Native American habitation place, permanent or temporary.*  2. A groups meeting place or sometimes the group itsself. IOOF, the Masons, etc.
see also:
Tipi, wickiup.

Logging – The process of cutting, processing, and moving trees to a location for transport. It may include skidding, on-site processing, and loading of trees or logs onto the currently available means of transport. It has always been one of the most hazardous industries.  {001}
see also:
billet, bolt, buck sawyer, chaser, choker, feller, Lumberjack, splash dam, round, Steam Donkey, Whistle punk, Yarder, Yarder Operator and more…
Photo Gallery Index – Railroads in the WestLogging Railroads

log drivers – (Logging) aka: river pigs. The men who herded logs downriver to sawmills, pulp mills or a collection point for the timber trade. Extremely dangerous work, they were paid two dollars a day, twice the wages of a common lumberjack.  {001}

Log Jam 2008log jam – (Logging) – Just what it says, think giant pick-up-sticks that can kill. Logs caught and piled up in such a way that they can’t be moved on down the river. An  expensive, time consuming and very hazardous situation. The log drivers often resorted to explosives to free the jam. Inordinately dangerous when the jam lets go. Photo: U.S. PD 2008, Laimot, Goodell Creek, WA. (this, is a very small jam)  {001}

longrider – an outlaw.

Long Tom – (mining)
Cradle – above

Long Tom – A large caliber, long barreled rifle, likely used in hunting buffalo.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos Index – Long GunsA few more Military and “Buffalo” Rifles

Long Walk map - DictionaryLong Walk – The Long Walk of the Navajo, (Navajo: Hwéeldi), Long Walk map - Dictionarylocateraka, the Long Walk to Bosque Redondo. 53 forced marches occurred between August 1864 and the end of 1866. The U.S. government, via the army, forced the Navajo people to walk from their reservation in what is today’s Arizona to be relocated in Bosque Redondo, eastern New Mexico.  {001}

Loose herd – Allowing a herd of animals to spread out but not scatter. Ordinarily to allow grazing, but still maintaining the integrity of the herd and quick control.  {001}

Louella – Steamboat – A three deck, shallow draft (30″), stern wheel steamboat (190′ long by 33′ beam) plying the Missouri and Yellowstone Rivers (1870 – 1883). Sister ship to Far West.  {001}
see also:
Far West – above)
The Originals Index – Trade in the Old West – Commerce in the Old West1866
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation PhotosSteamboats

Loggers - DictionaryLumberjack – (Logging) The men who felled the tress and moved them out of the woods for the timber business. A dangerous, difficult trade; with its own culture in the old days. Peak employment was around 500,000 in 1906.
Today, they prefer to be called loggers and they consider “lumberjacks” to be the contestants in modern contests of logging skills. Photo: U.S. PD c. 1910 near Bellingham, WA, a postcard published by Sprouse & Son, Importers & Publishers, Tacoma, Washington.  {001}
Logging – above

Long-eared – (livestock) aka: full-eared. A animal which has not been earmarked and is maybe of an age where it should have been.  {001}

long tailed – Cattle or horses whose tail hair has not been cut for some purpose.  {001}
Bob-tailed – above

lucky break/lucky strike – 1. A fortunate failure (c. 1872)  2. (billards) At least one ball landing in a pocket on the break. (c.1884)

Lucky Strike – An American cigarette brand. (c. 1872)

Lynch, Charles – (1737-1796), A Revolutionary War era Virginia farmer noted for summarily hanging “lawless” people.  {001}


Beaver Pelt - A Made Beaver - Dictionarymade beaver – (fur trade) A beaver pelt, cleaned, stretched and dried (finished pelts would be off the frame), ready for transport. A basic item of trade, setting value for other items. Photo: U.S. PD? internet.  {001}
Wk. 27, 07/05/1837 – Rendezvous
The Originals Index – Trade in the Old West1742
The Originals Index – Trade in the Old West – Commerce in the Old West
The Originals Index – ExpeditionsThe Fur Trade
Parchment Beaver
– below

mail order bride – The mail-order bride “industry” emerged in the old West in the 1800’s. Very few women lived there in the times and two similar systems evolved, serving two very different groups of men seeking wives. European American men who had headed west to seek their fortune out on the frontier and early Asian workers scattered throughout the frontier regions and later those brought in to work on the railroad. Asian men worked through families and the Tongs* to find wives and resolve communication, legal, political, immigration and cultural issues.
European and American men coming west who wished to settle down and start a family attempted to find and attract women living back East. Letters to churches, personal advertisements in magazines and newspapers and several agencies could provide a first contact. The women would write to the men and send photographs of themselves. The courtships were conducted by letter, and perhaps a woman would agree to marry a man she had never met.
Most of these women were single, some were widows, divorcées or runaways, but most wanted to escape their present situation and see what life on the frontier could offer them. Perhaps gain financial security and have children.  {001}
Tong – below

maize – (NatAm) corn

make a stake – 1. To acquire enough resources to set up in an endeavor of maybe for life.  2. Hit it rich in some fashion.  {001}

make tracks – to leave, to travel, to get a move on, get the hell out of somewhere quick.  {001}

makin’s – Tabaco and cigarette papers.  {001}

malpais – (Sp.) bad country.

Man at the pot – (Cowboy lingo) If a cowboy gets up from the campfire to fill his coffee cup, someone hollerin’ “Man at the pot” obliges him to refill everybody’s cup.

manada – (Sp.) 1. A band of mares (and colts) with a stallion as the leader, often with a mule as the sentinel. 2. in more generic use: a herd of cattle or horses.  {001}

Manifest Destiny – A widely held belief in the 19th-century U. S., that its settlers were destined to expand across North America.
There were three basic themes: (c. 1845 and beyond…)
The special virtues of the American people and their institutions.
The mission of the United States to redeem and remake the west in the image of agrarian America.
An irresistible destiny to accomplish this essential duty.

Born out of “a sense of mission to redeem the Old World by high example. …generated by the potentialities of a new earth for building a new heaven”.
“From the outset Manifest Destiny, vast in program, in its sense of continentalism, was slight in support. It lacked national, sectional, or party following commensurate with its magnitude. The reason was, it did not reflect the national spirit. The thesis that it embodied nationalism, found in much historical writing, is backed by very little real supporting evidence.”
Frederick Merk – Historian

Interpreted by some as the underlying cause of what has been denounced as “American imperialism”. It had grave consequences in relation to the Oregon Territory, the annexation of Texas and the Mexican-American War, the treatment of Native Americans, the American Civil War and numerous other issues, domestic and foreign. It appears to have been rephrased at the end of the twentieth century as “nation building”. An extremely complicated and controversial issue, well beyond the scope of  Old West Daily Reader.  {001}

manumit – to liberate, set free – as from slavery.  {001}
Wk. 01, 01/01/1863 – Emancipation Proclamation

manumitted – liberated, released from slavery, set free.  {001}
Wk. 01, 01/01/1863 – Emancipation Proclamation
Wk. 06, 02/07/1912 – James “Nigger Jim” Kelly

Marble Orchard – A cemetery.
Photo Gallery Index – Pushin’ Up Daisies

Maritime Fur Trade was a ship-based fur trade system that focused on acquiring furs of sea otters and other animals from the indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast and natives of Alaska. The furs were mostly sold in China in exchange for tea, silks, porcelain, and other Chinese goods, which were then sold in Europe and the United States.  {001}
The Originals Index – Expeditions The Fur Trade
The Originals Index – Resources and Hazards – Animals – MammalsFur bearers, FB
The Originals Index – Trade in the Old West – Commerce in the Old WestThe Fur Trade

martinet – 1. A strict military disiplinarian.  2. One who lays stress on a ridged adherence to the details of forms and method.

matchlock – firearms
Photo Gallery Index –  Weapons Photos – Ammunition then and NowLocks

Mavrick Samuel 1803 – 1870 - Dictionarymaverick – 1. An unbranded bovine of either sex on the range. 2. Samuel Maverick (1803 – 1870) An old time Texas cattleman who didn’t believe in branding his cows; so any unbranded cows were “mavericks”. Photo: U.S. PD pre-1870, Samuel Maverick.  {001}

Maxpe – “The Sacred”, a fundamental tenet of Crow Indian religious belief.  {001}

meat in the pot – (Cowboy lingo) Said of a good rifle for hunting.

Medicine (Native American) – The essence of one’s being and relationship with the unknown, the spirit world, the world of natural/supernatural power, the sacred. It permeates the individual for good or for ill. It can help or hinder, for one’s medicine can be good or bad. It encompasses all the attributes of a person; their personality, courage, honesty, luck, their standing with others, their worldly skills and much more. Medicine was seen to be strengthened or weakened by behavior and/or ritual. As it manifested in dreams and ritual, the Indians were far more aware of this greater self and reacted with it in the real world. This individual perspective of spirituality was lost on most of the Europeans. (see also: bad medicine)  {001}

Medicine Bag (Native American) – 1. Usually a small leather bag or a skin in which are carried personal power objects. A relic, soil from an important place, a certain stone, a carving, a totem, items thought to have spiritual/power influence, etc for the owner. Likely blessed by a medicine man at some point.  2. Usually a leather or skin bag, given to one who is an invalid or ill, during a medicine ceremony. The bag will contain various items, likely selected by the Medicine Man : stone , herbs and perhaps other objects, such as feathers, thought to be sacred able to hold medicine/power relevant to the situation.  {001}

Medicine cord (Apache)
Izze-kloth – above

Medicine Feast (Native American) – A religious/spiritual occasion.  {001}

A tovero horse with blue eyes and "Medicine hat" markings - Dictionary Medicine Hat horse – A form of pinto horse with peculiar markings, a white coat offset by Dark pigmentation around the ears called a “Medicine Hat” or sometimes a “War bonnet”. Highly prized by Native American warriors. Sometimes thought to have mystical or spiritual qualities. Photo: U. S. PD 2008 by Kersti Nebelsiek  – A tovero horse with blue eyes and “Medicine hat” markings.  {001}
The Originals Index – Horse BreedsAmerican Paint Horse

medicine lodge (Native American) – A structure (highly variable) set aside for healing/ritual/spiritual purposes.  {001}
see also:
kiva – above
The Originals Index – Hazards & Resources – Plants – Medicinal Plants
The Originals Index – Hazards & Resources – Plants – Hallucinogenic Plants

Medicine Man/ Woman – (Native American)  A Spiritual/philosophical leader/advisor/healer, one who had real world and spiritual skills to aid the people. Think: counselor/ priest/ doctor/ diagnostician/herbalist//wise man, and you still might not have it quite right or all of it…  They acted as intermediaries between the supernatural world and the natural world, mediating those two planes and the people. Likely using divination and whatever hallucinogenic substances were available within their culture to communicate and interact with: ancestors, wild plants, animals or other spirits and creatures. Individual cultures have their own names for the spiritual healers and ceremonial leaders in their particular cultures, in their respective Indigenous languages.  {001}
see also:
The Originals Index – Resources and Hazards – Plants –
Hallucinogenic Plants & Medicinal Plants

medicine pipe (Native American) – A pipe smoked with tobacco and perhaps other herbs for spiritual purposes.  {001}
The Originals Index – Hazards & Resources – Plants – Hallucinogenic Plants

Medicine Show WagonMedicine shows – Traveling horse and wagon teams which peddled “miracle cure” medications and other products between various entertainment acts, such as: freak shows, a flea circus, musical acts, magic tricks, jokes and storytelling. Old timers said, “If the wife of a patent medicine man kisses you, count your teeth!” Photo: U.S. PD, museum picture of a medicine show wagon.  {001}
see also:
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Plants – Medicinal Plantsnostrum remedium)

Medicine Wheel – A stone monument created by Native Americans. Constructed by laying stones in a particular patterns on the ground, usually oriented to the four directions, often used as an astronomical tool and always, a functional symbol of culture and religion.  Found occasionally throughout the West.  {001}

Medicine Wheel Elements and Directions
Four Elements:
Air, Water, Fire, Earth
Four Directions:
North, East, South, West
Five Directions:
North, East, South, West, Center (Heart)
Six Directions:
North, East, South, West, Sky, Earth
Seven Directions:
North, East, South, West, Father Sky, Mother Earth, Center (Self)

The Originals Index – Landmarks and RegistersBighorn Medicine Wheel

Melchor Diaz – A Spaniard, was the first European to arrive in North-Western Arizona (1540).
Wk. 28, 07/11/1598 – Melchor Diaz
The Originals Index – ExpeditionsSpanish Expeditions
see also:
Just for Fun Pages – Firsts in the Old West – (same reference)
References – Dictionary – (same reference)

Mescal – 1. This is the the Mexican liquor with with the agave worm in the bottom of the bottle, not Tequila. 2. The agave plant. (see: Agave (above)
The Originals Index, Entertainment in the Old West – Alcohol in the Old West – Mescal

Mess Beef – Old Texas term for pickled barrel beef.  Often carried on a small drive to save cooking chores or to have solid nourishment in an emergency.  {001}

methaneCH4, aka: Marsh Gas, Natural Gas, Carbon tetrahydride, Hydrogen carbide. The largest component of natural gas. Usually the cause of coal mine explosions. (Coal dust can do it too.)  {001}

Mexican American – The portion of the U.S. Hispanic population which arrived after the Mexican–American War and the later Mexican Revolution. While they are part of the larger U. S. Chicano/Mexican-American/Hispano community, they are distinct from the older Hispanic populations which arrived between 1683 and 1845.  {001}
see also:
Californio, Hispanos – above
Tejanos – below

Mexican-American War – (1846-1848). Having won a War of Independence, the Republic of Texas was, de facto*, an independent country. However, the Mexican government did not recognize the Treaty of Velasco, which had been signed by Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna when he was a prisoner of the Texian Army. Most of its citizenry wanted to be annexed by the United States.  {001}
see also:
De Facto – above
Manifest Destiny – above

Mexican iron – rawhide

milker – aka: house cow; A cow kept to provide milk for a family.
Pauline Wayne – below

Mill – (mining) 1.An industrial facility which processes ore from mining. 2. A piece of equipment used to crush rock/ore.  {001}
Ball Mill – above
Photo Gallery Index – Mining PhotosBall Mill

mine (mining)
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos, Montana Mine by Grabill, 1st pic

mine – “A hole in the ground with a liar at the top.” Old tyme wisdom.

miner’s consumption – silicosis.​

mining dredge (mining)
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos

mitakuye oyasin – (Sioux) “all my relations”. The final words of a prayer. It includes everything that lives: grows, crawls, creeps, hops, walks or flies.  {001}

Moccasin Telegraph – A term reputed to have been used by whites to describe how information moved between the Indians. At times appearing mystical as no direct mechanism of communication seemed apparent or possible.

mochila –  Mochila is the Spanish word for a knapsack, but the mochilas used by pony express riders did not resemble knapsacks in any way. Designed by Pony Express rider Jay G. Kelley and made by Israel Landis of St. Joseph, MO, who also made the special 13 pound saddles used in the system. The Pony Express mochila was made of 1/8 ” leather, with four locked pockets, or cantinas to hold the mail It fit over the saddle with slots for the saddle horn and cantle. It could easily and quickly be moved from one saddle to another when the riders changed horses at the remount stations. The saddle, mochila and mail only weighed about 20 pounds. No original mochilas have survived.  {001}
Timelines – Timelines M-Z – Pony Express Timeline
Pony Express Saddle – below

Mojave Desert – Located in the Southwestern U.S., primarily within southeastern California and southern Nevada with small areas extending into Utah and Arizona. It occupies 47,877 sq mi (124,000 km2). An arid rain-shadow desert,* it is the driest in North America. In keeping with the biological determination of Noth American Deserts, the Mojave’s boundaries are generally noted by the presence of Joshua trees, native only to the Mojave and considered an indicator species. It is thought that this desert area also supports an additional 1,750 to 2,000 species of plants. Map U.S. PD Mojave Desert by Cephas.  {001}
see also:
*Rain-shadow – below
Desert – above

monogastric – An animal which has a simple single-chambered stomach; such as humans, pigs and rats (omnivores);  cats and dogs (carnivores) and  horses and rabbits (herbivores). Herbivores with monogastric digestion can digest cellulose in their diets by way of symbiotic gut bacteria. However, their ability to extract energy from cellulose digestion is less efficient than ruminants. Cows, goats and sheep are ruminants.* They have a four-chambered complex stomach.  {001}
*ruminants – below
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Animals Index Page – Mammalsbolded animals.

Monte – 1. (Sp.) mountain.  2. A card game, so called because of the pile of cards left after the deal. (c. 1824) Particullary popular in the California Gold Rush.* The three card version arose in Mexico. (c. 1887).
Wk. 04, 01/24/1848 – Sutter’s Mill

montezuma castleMontezuma Castle – Pueblo ruins of the Sinagua People. An impressive 20 room, 5 story pueblo, containing some 4,100 square feet (381 square m) of floor space. Built into a white limestone cliff some 90 feet (27 meters) above the ground, near a small tributary of the Verde River (AZ). Beaver Creek (todays name) was reliable source of year-round water. It provided irrigation for their stream-side fields of maze, squash and beans and was also was a source of fish and turtles. Construction of the pueblo began around 1100 C.E. Abandoned sometime around 1299 C.E. One of the best preserved and well known Sinagua ruins. Photo: U.S. PD, 1st photo – 1887.   {001}
Wk. 23, 06/09/1906 – Antiquities Act
Wk. 49, 12/08/1906 – Montezuma Castle

Mormon Battalion (The) Serving from July 1846 to July 1847 during the Mexican–American War of 1846–1848*. The only religion-based unit in United States military history. A volunteer unit of about 550 Latter-day Saint men, led by Mormon company officers, commanded by regular U.S. Army officers.
The battalion’s notable march, a grueling, almost 2,000 miles from Council Bluffs, IA, to San Diego, CA and their service, supported the eventual cession (particullary the Gadsden Purchase of 1853**) of much of the American Southwest from Mexico to the United States.  The march had also opened a southern wagon route to California. Veterans of the battalion played significant roles in America’s westward expansion in California, Utah, Arizona and other parts of the West. Map: U.S. PD by Brian Cole.  {001}
see also:
*Wk. 05, 02/02/1848 – Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo
Wk. 17, 04/25/1854 – Gadsen Purchase

Mormon brake – a heavy log chained to drag behind a wagon: (1) traveling down a steep hill; (2) or a lighter one up hill to keep from rolling backwards when stopped.

Moon – (Native American) A measure of time. The number of “sleeps” between New Moons.  {001}
see also:
Sleep – below
Just for Fun Pages – Full Moon Names

mosey – (Cowboy lingo) A slow and easy pace.

Mother Lode – (mining) The highest grade and/or largest part of an ore body.  {001}
see also:
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos

Mother Orange Tree (The) – The first and oldest living orange tree in Northern California. Originally planted by Judge Joseph Lewis at the western approach to the Bidwell Bar Bridge in Bidwell’s Bar. The tree is a Mediterranean sweet orange Citrus × sinensis cultivar. The two-year-old rootstock was was purchased in 1856 and shipped from Mazatlán, MX.
Over the years the tree flourished, growing to a height of over 60 feet (18 m). On average, it yielded about 600 pounds (273 kg) of oranges that ripened between February and May each year. It was a favorite attraction of miners, sampling its fruit and saving  seeds to plant in the dooryards of their cabins. Carefully cared for, cloned and replanted, this California Historical Landmark is currently located at 400 Glen Drive in Oroville, California. Photo: U.S. PD? internet.  {001}
Wk. 27, 07/04/1848 – John Bidwell

Serpent Mound - Dictionary

Serpent Mound

Mound Builders – Various Native American indigenous cultures were collectively termed Mound Builders. During a 5,000-year period they constructed numerous  styles of earthen mounds for ceremonial, religious, burial, and elite residential purposes. Dating from the construction of Watson Brake (about 3500 BCE to the 16th century CE, these included: Pre-Columbian cultures of the Archaic period (3500-1000 BCE); the Woodland period (1000- 700BCE) (Adena and Hopewell cultures) and the Mississippian period (around 900–1450 CE).  Also found in regions of the Great Lakes, the Ohio River Valley, the Mississippi River valley and tributary waters. All in the central or eastern U.S. Illustration: U.S. PD 1890 –  Image of the Serpent Mound from The Century; a popular quarterly. Appeared in Volume 39 Issue 6, April 1890.  {001}
see also:
The Originals Index – Native American Tribes – Native American Pre-History

Mountain Men – Part of the the vanguard of the relentless tide to come; they were a subset of the first of European stock (mostly British and French at first) explorers (white men), trappers and traders who ventured into the uncharted west to pioneer Indian relations for good or ill, determine the trade routes and lay out the first trails, roads and Emigrant routes. Most active from about 1820’s until the decline of the fur trade  beginning in the late 1830’s. The last Rendezvous was at Daniel, WY in 1840. Many of the these men settled on land they had come to know or transitioned into the jobs of the new frontier as teamsters and freighters, muleskinners, guides and scouts for the army or commercial endeavors. A few hung on to the old ways well into the 1850’s.
Wk. 27, 07/05/1837 – Rendezvous
Wk. 34, 08/21/1849 – Old Bent’s Fort
Wk.29, 07/17/1881 – Jim Bridger
Wk. 34, 08/26/1892 – Osborne Russell
Wk. 04, 01/22/1900 – “Liver Eating” Johnston
The Originals Index – ExpeditionsThe Fur Trade
The Originals – Trade in the Old West – Commerce in the Old West The Fur Trade
FYI: They were “created”, in large part, by the competitive practices of the Canadian fur companies. Yup. Look it up. – Doc

Mount Mazama
The Originals Index – Landmarks and RegistersCrater Lake

mouth – (mining) The end of a miners cradle (rocker) where the sieve was attached to catch the fines.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Mining PhotosThe Cradle

Movers – 1. Actually, an old term for emigrants. 2. Later, it got some darker, implying a person incapable of proving up land, restless travelers without roots; people to watch out for…  {001}
Rawhider – below

muck-a-muck – (Cowboy lingo) Grub, food, from the Cayuse Indians of the Northwest.

Muck Stick – (mining) A shovel.  [001}

mud wagon – Usually meant an Abbot & Downing Celerity Coach.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation PhotosHooves, Travois & Wheels – third photo
Wk. 28, o7/09/1857 – The Granddaddy of ’em all!

mule – A hybrid, a cross between a male (Jack) donkey and a female (mare) horse (Equus asinus x Equus caballus).  {001}
The Originals Index- Resources & Hazards – Animals Index Page – MammalsMule

Mule ears – 1. Tall boots with long pull-on straps. Might be worn in or out (flapping like mule ears) of the boot top.  2. The exposed hammers on old double barrel, black powder, shotguns (a mule-ear shotgun*).  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Index – Long GunsThe Scatterguns – Mule ear 10 bore

Muleskinner – One who drove wagons pulled by mules, normally riding the wagon.  {001}
see also:
Jerk-line – above

Muley – A one horned or hornless cow. Observed to be distant and careful with normally horned animals. Muleys usually bed together or join horned cattle after they lie down for the night. They often rise and separate before the other cows arise. They also have a reputation for being edgy and spooky.  {001}

Muley saddle – A saddle with no horn. Ex. An English saddle.  {001}

Mustangs in Utah 2005 - DictionaryMustang – A feral (wild) horse [Equus ferus caballus]. From the Mexican/Spanish mestengo,a feral or wild stock animal. There is a great debate about whether these critters are feral or wild as it affects their “legal” status. They are all actually feral as none are descended from true wild stock. It is thought that the only true living “wild” horse in the world is Przewalski’s horse (Equus ferus) of the Mongolian steppe, and even that has recently come into question. Photo: U.S. PD 2005 Jaime Jackson – Utah mustangs)  {001}
Wk.51, 12/18/1971 – Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Animals Index Page – MammalsHorse
The Originals Index – Horses
The Originals Index – Horses – Horse Colors
The Originals Index – Horses – Horse Breeds
range horse – below

Mustang Freeze Brand – The U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) brands wild horses and burros on the left side of the neck when the animal is rounded up and removed from public lands. This is to indicate that it is now Federal property. The iron is supercooled using liquid nitrogen and held onto the shaved and prepped skin. The large U shaped mark is the BLM code. The next two marks (one on top of the other) are the estimated year of the horses birth. The next six marks are the registration code. The registration code is made up of two digits identifying the region taken and the next four are the “tag number.” Many of these animals will be put up for adoption.

BLM Freeze Mark interpretation

Photo: U.S. PD – BLM

see also:
Brand – above
Bureau of Land Management – above

mutton puncher – A sheepherder.


“N” word – nigger. An explosive word in modern society with a plethora of historical baggage.
The word originated in the 18th century as an adaptation of the Spanish word negro, a descendant of the Latin adjective niger, which means “black”. Over time it took on a derogatory connotation and became a racist insult by the 20th century. Its inclusion in classic works of literature has sparked controversy and ongoing debate.
In English, the word is an ethnic slur usually used against black people, particularly African Americans. It is considered extremely offensive, even if only mentioned and not used as a slur. it is often referred to by the euphemism the N-word.
Thoughts on the Historical use of the “N” Word
Please keep an open mind and read this article. A touchy but important issue.
see also:
squaw – below

National Historic Landmark (NHL)A building, district, object, site, or structure that is officially recognized by the United States government.
for its outstanding historical significance.
Example – see:
The Originals Index – Western Forts and Trading Posts – Trading Posts – Fort Union

National Park Service – In 1894, a buffalo poacher’s boasting had led to President Grover Cleveland signing an “Act to Protect the Birds and Animals in Yellowstone National Park.” * But there were three other parks: Yosemite, Sequoia, and General Grant (now Kings Canyon), who would protect them?
The Departments of Agriculture, Interior, and War all claimed to protect the National Parks, but no one was actually doing much. The Army patrolled for poachers and vandals, but they had no legal recourse to deal with criminals.  John Muir died in 1914 after losing a long struggle to preserve Yosemite’s stunning Hetch Hetchy Valley against developers. However, some public interest had been fired and the matter was brought to Congress, where it died.
Secretary of the Interior Franklin Lane, a conservationist, decided he would need a persuasive lobbyist to convince Congress to protect the parks. He asked Stephen Mather, a millionaire with the advertising and promotional skills and the personal interest to do the job. Mather had written a protest letter after visits to Yosemite and Sequoia saying that he was dismayed by the sight of cattle grazing, development, and trails nearly impassable. He was in Washington at the time as assistant secretary of the Interior.
Taking up the challenge, paying their salaries himself, Mather hired Horace Albright, a legal assistant, and Robert Sterling Yard, editor of the New York Herald as head of the National Park Education Committee to coordinate their various communication efforts. Fully funded by Mather, fifteen, extremely influential business leaders and politicians in the Sierra Nevada were taken on a luxurious two-week vacation, hiking and fishing, with fine dining in the heart of the parks. The guests of the “Mather Mountain Party” came away in full support of his request for a national agency to administer the national parks.
He partnered with the railroads for a “See America First” promotion.  He persuaded national newspapers to run headlines stories for the cause, launched school essay contests, and convinced National Geographic to devote an entire issue to the parks. Mather saw to it that every member of Congress received a copy.
Albright drafted a bill to create a parks agency, as part of the Department of the Interior. President Woodrow Wilson signed it into law (08/25/ 1916) and the National Park Service was created.  {003 & 001}
Logos: above – U.S. PD – U.S. Park Service; below – U.S. PD See America First c. 1906? Photo: U.S. PD – Franklin Knight Lane.
*Wk. 11, 03/13/1894 – Edgar Howell
Wk.34. 08/25/1916 – National Park Service

Native American Church – (aka: NAC, the “Peyote Road” or the “Peyote Way”) is a religious tradition involving the ceremonial and sacred use of peyote (Lophophora williamsii).*  The religion originated in the Oklahoma in the late nineteenth century, said to have been founded by Quannah Parker, aided by Chivato, Jim Aton, John Wilson, and Jonathan Koshiway, after peyote was introduced to the southern Great Plains from Mexico. The  “founding” tribes appear to include: the Apache (Lipan and Mescalero), Caddo/Karankawa, Carrizo, Plains Cree and Tonkawa.
Since then, despite various state and local efforts to make peyote ceremonies illegal, ceremonial peyote use has spread from Mexico and Oklahoma to the western part of the U.S. Today, it is the most widespread indigenous religion among Native Americans in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, with an estimated 250,000 adherents as of the late twentieth century. Peyote’s illegal status in the U. S. prevents non-Natives from participating in peyote ceremonies.**
It should be noted that the use of peyote for religious purposes is thousands of years old and numerous southwestern tribes had a variation of the old ways. The Hopi, Navajo and others had practiced the “religion” long before it was formalized in an attempt to deal with the white man’s laws.  {001}
The Originals – Resources and Hazards – Plants – Hallucinogenic PlantsPeyote
References – Dictionary – American Indian Religious Freedom Act

Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act – U.S. federal law (11/16/1990) requiring federal agencies and institutions that receive federal funding to return Native American cultural items and human remains to their respective peoples. Cultural items include funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony. (NAGPRA), Pub.L. 101-601, 104 Stat. 3048.  {001}

Native American Tribes
The Originals Index – Native American Tribes

navvy – a railroad worker. Derived from “navigator” an old term for one who built canals and railroads.  {001}

nawai – see: Tiswin

NayenezganiKiller of Alien Gods” – Navajo mythical Hero/God who, with the help of his twin brother Tobadzischini, slew the ancient monsters/evil Gods called the Anaye   {001}
Just for Fun Pages –Monsters and Supernatural Beings in the Old WestSlaying the Anaye

near – (animal/side) – The horse, mule, ox, etc. on the left side of a team. The side from which one mounts (usually left). [Indians usually mounted from the right: off side].  {001}

neck tie party – a lynching (hanging).  {001}

needle gun – The nickname was inspired  by the long slender firing pin of the “modernized” ’73 Springfield Trapdoor Rifle (45-70) or carbine (45-55).
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Firearms Photos – Long Guns The “Trapdoor”

negative – (photography) An image, originally on glass*, today, usually on a strip or sheet of transparent plastic film, in which the lightest areas of the photographed subject appear darkest and the darkest areas appear lightest. This reversal occurs because the extremely light-sensitive chemicals, which camera films use to capture an images quickly enough for ordinary picture-taking, are darkened, rather than bleached, by exposure to light.))
In the case of color negatives, colors are also reversed into their respective complementary colors. Typical color negatives have an overall dull orange tint due to an automatic color-masking feature that ultimately results in improved color reproduction.
Negatives are normally used to make positive prints on photographic paper by projecting the negative onto the paper with a photographic enlarger or making a contact print. The paper is also darkened in proportion to its exposure to light, so a second reversal results which restores light and dark to their normal order.

*Negatives were once commonly made on a thin sheet of glass and some of the earliest negatives were made on paper.
see also:
Photography in the Old West – below

nestor – aka: nester. 1. Originally, a squatter, one who settled on land without ownership or permission. 2. Southwest Cattlemen’s term for homesteaders, squatters, farmers, etc. Anyone who was on land or range the cattleman assumed was his, legal or not.  {001}

neutered – More modern term for castrated domestic animals, usually pets.  {001}

NHL – as used in The Reader: National Historic Landmark.
see above.

nidus – Latin – nest, The reservoir for a disease.  {001}
The Originals Index  – Resources & Hazards – Animals Index Page – MammalsArmadillo

nighthawk – (1). a prostitute (2). aka: night wrangler, the cowboy on night-watch with the remuda on a trial drive.  {001}

night horse – The quietest, calmest and most reliable horse in the remuda. A horse that would not disturb the sleeping cows on night watch or spook in a stampede. Sure-footed and capable of following running cows in the pitch-dark. Very likely to continue circling the sleeping herd even the cowboy goes to sleep.  {001}

Blasting with nitroglycerin - Dictionary

Blasting with nitroglycerin
Drawing: U.S. PD? internet

Nitroglycerin – ( 1,2,3-trinitroxypropane) aka: glyceryl trinitrate, (GTN), (TNG) or nitro. An unstable, dangerous, powerful high explosive invented in 1847 by Ascanio Sobrero, an Italian chemist. Although the explosive was shipped and used worldwide, a number of catastrophic accidents led to it being banned in many places. Eventually it was rendered safer by Alfred Nobel’s invention of dynamite in 1867. Other uses include the manufacture of modern gun powders and a medical treatment for Angina pectoris patients.
In the illustration, notice the nitro is in small cans, not sticks, it comes as a dense, colorless, oily liquid. Different size cans, sometime the cans had hooks and rings and could be strung together as shown. This assembly can be inserted into a drill hole or let down vertically into a well, using enough cans for the specific job.  {001}
Wk. 16, 04/16/1866 – Wells-Fargo Parrot Building

A side note: Years ago, an old friend spoke of driving the nitro truck in the oil fields of Oklahoma in the 1920’s. (Read, well rutted, unmaintained dirt roads.) An old Ford pickup with a “hammock” strung sideways across the truck bed. The nitro cans were in a straw filled wooden box suspended in the hammock in such a way that it couldn’t bump into the truck as it swung around back there… Virgil claimed he was a “very careful” driver. He said one well got 21 cans. – Doc

Nocturnal – Active during the night.

norther – A cold wind blowing from the north over the southwest and the plains. It might well be a cold, wet wind before which cattle would drift for many miles or pile up and die before an obstacle. If it was a real bad one, it was a Blue Norther.  {001}
Blue Norther – above

North Shore Monster of the Great Salt Lake
The Originals Index – Resources and Hazards – Animals Index Page – Monsters and Supernatural Beings of the Old West

nose paint – Whiskey

Nunna-da-ult-sun-yi – (Cherokee) The Trail of Tears (1830 – 1850)  {001}


Ochre – (pronounced OAK-er) Clay pigmented by limonite (yellow ochre) or hematite (red ochre), relatively common minerals. Grated on a coarse stone or ground by mortar and pestle into a powder that can be mixed with liquid, water or saliva and turned into pigmented paint. Mixing with egg whites or animal fat greatly improves adhesion. Ochre is a mineral, so it doesn’t wash away or decay. Its ability to adhere to surfaces and its vibrant colors can be readily be seen in the ancient rock art of the American Southwest.
Used as a paint or crayon for body ornamentation on people and horses. Chunks of ochre are often found in burials. Always an item of trade.  {001}

OK CorralOld Kinderhook.
Wk 43, 10/26/1881 – Gunfight

Oklahoma rain – A dust or sand storm.  {001}
(My shoe-string OK relatives knew this one! – Doc)

oaters – The common movie parlance for “B” Western movies.  {001}

off – (animal/side) – The horse, mule, ox, etc. on the right side in a team. The right side of the animal. Indians mounted on the right side.  {001}

Oglala Lakota College
Links to FriendsOglala Lakota College

O-Ho-Mah Warrior Society – A Kiowa warrior society.
Koitsenko – above

omnivore – An animal that has the ability to eat and survive on both plant and animal matter.  {001}

On a toot – gettin’ drunk…

on the dodge – (Cowboy lingo) Laying low, hiding out, making oneself scarce. Often from the law or maybe from a woman.  {001}

on the prod – Looking for trouble. Could be a man or a critter.  {001}

on the wrong track – Said of someone who doesn’t understand the situation, is doing the wrong thing in the circumstance, is managing their life in way that may not prove beneficial, is just plain wrong.  {001}

Kennecott Copper Mine, UT - Dictionary

Kennecott Open Pit Copper Mine in UT

Open Cut mine – (mining) A mine which executes all excavation from the surface. aka: an open pit mine. Photo: U.S. PD  {001}

Open Pit mine – see: Open Cut mine  – above

Opium – 1. Source of laudanum and morphine.  2. Smoke-able hallucinogen.  {001}
The Originals Index – Plants – Hallucinogenic PlantsOpium Poppy

opium den –  An establishment where opium was sold and smoked. In the Old West, opium dens  were usually run by Chinese who supplied the opium and prepared it for patrons. Most opium dens supplied the opium and various opium paraphernalia such as the specialized pipes and lamps that were necessary to use the drug.  Smokers would recline and hold the long opium pipes over oil lamps that heated the drug until it vaporized, allowing the smoker to inhale the vapors and likely nod off for while. In the United States, particularly on the West Coast, there were opium dens that mirrored the best to be found in China, with luxurious trappings and female attendants. There were many low-end dens with sparse furnishings for the working class. These establishments were more likely to admit non-Chinese smokers. The drug became popular and a problem until it was finally banned everywhere. Photo: U.S. PD opium den in Chinese boarding house in San Francisco, CA c. 1890.  {001}
see also:
Opium – above
Wk. 43, 10/28/1880 – Marshal Fred White

Order of American Knights – (see: Knights of the Golden Circle)

Order of the Sons of Liberty – (see: Knights of the Golden Circle)

Ore – (mining) Any rock of value. (Not applied to coal)  {001}

outhouse – an outdoor toilet (a toilet shed).  {001}
privy – below

outlaw – aka: owl-hoot, 1. a human criminal. (One who rides the owl-hoot (night) trail.)  2. A vicious animal (horse, cow, etc.). Could be they just don’t want bothered.  {001}

out West – Where you should be, instead of, back East.  {001}

overland trout – Bacon.

over the jump – Dead or killed.  {001}

Ox – pl. Oxen; aka: a bullock in other parts of the world. Usually a castrated Bull of various cattle species used as draft animals. Stronger than horses and mules and able to pull using a yoke. Oxen have been used for plowing, transport (pulling carts, hauling wagons and occasionally riding), for threshing grain by trampling, and for powering machines that grind grain or supply irrigation among other purposes. They may be used to skid logs in forests, particularly in low-impact, select-cut logging. Usually yoked in pairs, light work such as carting household items on good roads might require just one pair, while for heavier work, further pairs would be added as necessary. A team used for a heavy load over difficult ground might exceed nine or ten pairs.
In the great western migration, the large wagons, Conestoga’s and such, had to pulled by oxen and the going was slow…  {001}
Photo – in ox yoke below
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Animals Index Page – MammalsOx
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation Photos

ox bow – 1. The part of an ox yoke that circles the neck of the animal. 2. The bend of a river takeing that shape, also the land within that loop. 3. The fastener that connects the stirrup iron to the stirrup leather on a saddle.  4. An old-time wooden stirrup with a bow shape.  {001}

Ox cue – An iron shoe for an ox. It takes two, a right and a left for each foot, because they have cloven hooves. There is one other issue as well… oxen can’t stand on three legs, so you either have to suspend them or support them in some fashion to work on their feet. Since they are large and heavy, that can be an interesting problem…  {001}

Ox yoke - single - Dictionary

single yoke

Ox Yoke - double - Dictionary

double yoke

ox yoke – A wooden device used to help oxen pull a load. The bow is a u-shaped piece of wood inserted into the bar of the yoke, so as to encircle the animal’s neck.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation Photos Last Large Bull Train

Oxen - yoked - Dictionary

yoked oxen


packer – The one in charge of pack animals (burros horses, mules or oxen). The job involved caring for and feeding the animals, loading and unloading them and trailing them where the goods were to go. The supplies could be for the army, a mine, an exploration or survey party, a wealthy traveler, whatever. A packer could be an independent, work for a freighter or be in the army. It was always a full-time, tough job, requiring multiple skills.  {001}
pack train – below

pack iron – Carry a gun [usually a sidearm].

pack rat – 1. A petty thief. 2. One who collects things. 3. A packer, one who works horses, mules or donkeys as pack animals (see above).
see also:
The Originals Index- Resources & Hazards – Animals Index Page – MammalsPack Rat

pack train – A number of animals, usually mules or horses, but could be burros or occasionally oxen, used to carry, “pack”, supplies in terrain too rough for carts or wagons.  {001}
packer – above

Pahahpooch – (Ute legend) The Original Water Baby ( Pawapict).
The Originals Index – Resources and Hazards – Animals Index Page
Monsters and Supernatural Beings of the Old West – Pawapicts

Paha Sapa – (Sioux) The Black Hills.  {001}

Paint – horse color: (pinto, maybe piebald) A horse with large spots of color, brown and white; black and white or perhaps all three colors. Favored by the Indians and disdained by cowboys as inbred and therefore weak. This, likely because paints were somewhat common in the mustang herds.  {001}
The Originals Index – Horses – Horse Colors

palaver, powwow – To have words, talk or discussion. (derived from Spanish and Indian terms)

palomino – horse color: (aka: California Sorrel) A horse of a golden color usually sporting a light colored mane and tail.  {001}
The Originals Index – Horses – Horse Colors

panning – (mining) A technique using a wide flare sided pan using water to wash metal bearing dirt/sand or gravel in such a way as to separate the heavier precious metals: gold, silver and other metals (which, usually being heavier, sink to the bottom of the pan) from the other materials. Often used as a prospecting method.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos, Panning Gold by Grabill, 3rd pic down

Paraje – (Sp.) A camping place along a long distance trail where travelers customarily stopped for the night.  {001}

Parchment beaver pelt – Pelts which were sun dried immediately after skinning. No further processing.  {001}

Parlor House – Fancy name for a brothel.

Pash – Old timer’s name for the Apache.  {001}
The Originals Index – Native American TribesApache
PLAYERS – Timelines Index – Timelines A-L – Indian Treaties Timeline
(and: PLAYERS – Timelines Index – Indian Wars Timeline

Pass the buck – (American slang) 1. A bone-handled knife , or “buck” was laid on the table in front of the dealer in poker. When a player passed the deal, he passed the knife to the next player.  2. To shift responsibility. (c. 1912)

pasteboards – Playing cards.  (1540’s)

pastores – (Mex-Sp) A sheepherder.
sheepherder – below

Patent Ignition – (Firearms) The various systems designed/invented to ignite a firearms’ main charge. In this instance, usually the method employed for the cartridge case to present the priming explosive* to the hammer.  {001}
*Usually, fulminate of mercury – [Hg(CNO)2]. Today, fulminate of mercury has been replaced in primers by chemical substances which are more efficient, less toxic and more stable over time. These include lead azide, lead styphnate and tetrazene derivatives.
Center Fire
– above
Rimfire – below
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Ammunition Then and Now – Primers

Deaths Laboratory Ad - DictionaryPatent Medicine – Often neither patented nor medicine. Concoctions made for profit. Frequently useless and/or hazardous to one’s health. Magazine Illustration U.S. PD 1906 by E.W. Kemble in Collier’s touting the dangers.  {001}
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Plants – Medicinal PlantsPatent Medicines

Pauline Wayne – was a Holstein cow which served from 1910 to 1913 as the official presidential pet to the 27th President of the United States, William Howard Taft. She lived and grazed on the White House lawn and provided milk for the first family. Pauline Wayne was the last presidential pet cow.
The Originals Index – Cow? What cow?

Parlor – In the American Old West, a brothel. Usually a “higher” class one.  {001}
The Originals Index – Entertainment in the Old West – Brothels, Saloons, Dance Halls, Gambling.

Pawapicts – (Ute –  Water Babies)
The Originals Index – Resources and Hazards – Animals Index Page
Monsters and Supernatural Beings of the Old West – Pawapicts

peace pipe – An Indian tobacco pipe commonly smoked to seal bargains. Usually with a clay or stone bowl and a wooden stem and possibly adorned by carving, feathers, ermine tails, etc. Not necessarily limited to the white man’s tobacco, the Indians might have been smoking part kinnikinnick and perhaps various other biologically derived substances.  {001}
calumet – above
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Edged Weapons – tomahawk photo
The Originals Index – Resources and Hazards – Plants – Hallucinogenic Plants

Peavy in action - DictionaryPeavey – (Logging) aka: cant dog. A tool with a sharp point and and a movable hook, used to create leverage when moving logs (land or water). Photo: U.S. PD? internet, loggers working with peaveys.  {001}

PedroThe San Pedro Mountain Mummy
Just for Fun Pages – Monsters and Supernatural Beings of the Old West
The San Pedro Mountain Mummy

pemmican – An Indian winter staple. Meat (usually bison) cut thin, dried and pounded or ground to a powder. Worked into fat (bison, bear, etc. by hand in leather bags, often with the addition of dried berries (currents and such) and perhaps nuts (pecans, piñion, etc.). It stores well, it’s portable, relatively palatable and has fairly good food value in a small volume. Think prairie energy bar. It has been used by various militaries, artic expeditions, etc. Factory prepared small cans of pemmican were included in tinned U.S. lifeboat rations in World War II. Photo: U.S. PD Pemmican ball  {001}
see also:
The Originals Index – ExpeditionsThe Fur TradePemmican

Penitente – a member of the religious society noted in the next article.  {001}

Penitentes carrying heavy crosses - Colorado - DictionaryPenitentes – (Los Hermanos Penitentes) Active, on and off, since the early nineteenth century. A religious brotherhood of the Catholic Church, having originated in the Native American and Hispanic cultures. Still active in some Spanish-American communities of the southwestern U.S. The group practices rites involving fasting and some forms of penitential torture: such as walking barefoot, self-flagellation using a short whip (a disciplina), carrying heavy crosses (maderos), tying the limbs to hinder the circulation of the blood, etc. Prior to 1896, crucifacations, (binding the body tightly to a cross and raised up for hours) were annual in many places in New Mexico and Colorado. Activities tend to reach a peak during Holy Week (Palm Sunday to Holy Saturday, the day before Easter). No ceremonies are public. Photo: U.S. PD?, Fair Use – internet.  {001}

Penny-ante – (American slang) A low stakes card game. (c. 1855)

persuader – 1. A bull-whip. 2. A six-gun. 3. A spur.  It takes a lot less discussion…  {001}

percussion lock – firearms
Photo Gallery Index –  Weapons Photos – Ammunition then and Now – Locks and Primers

Newspaper Rock- crop - DictionaryPetroglyph – Images created by removing part of a rock surface by abrading, carving, incising or picking. In the American Southwest, Indian artists produced many types of figures and patterns by carefully pecking the coated rock surfaces with sharpened tools to remove the desert varnish and expose the lighter rock beneath. Photo: U.S. PD by Jim, Newspaper Rock, crop.  {001}
Desert Varnish – above
Pictograph – below

Peyote Set – Peyote set of the type used by a Roadman during the peyote ritual in the Native American Church. Photo: U.S. PD 2011 Dschwen – from the Collection of the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.  {001}
– below
Native American Church
– above
The Originals – Resources and Hazards – Plants
Hallucinogenic PlantsPeyote

Phelps Dodge Corporation – Founded in 1834 by Anson Greene Phelps; two sons-in-law; William Earle Dodge, Sr. and one Daniel James who ran the English side of the organization, Phelps, James & Co.  Large and powerful, the company had near total control of copper mining in the American Southwest and much of the lumber and lumber products business in the U.S. Acquired by Freeport-McMoRan (03/19/2007), now operating as Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos

Photography in the Old West – How did all of the great Old West photos happen?
Albumin Print – above
Ambrotype – above
Cabinet Card – above
Calotype – above
Carte de Visite – above
Daguerreotype – above
Ferrotype – above
Tintype – see: Ferrotype
Wk.33, 08/19/1839 – Louis Daguerre

Phisiography – (Sci) 1. A description of the features and phenomena of nature.  2. physical geography  3. geomorphology

picket pin – A pin or a stake, usually metal and sometime with a ring at the top. Driven into the ground to securely “picket” an animal where there was nothing else to tie up to. Such as out on the grass prairie. Raiding Indians who knew what they were doing could panic stock badly enough such that they would pull the pins and be driven off.

Picket Rope – Originally the rope between the horse and the pin. Later it came to mean all the variations of the lines, including those to secure multiple animals.

Pictographs - tubatulabal CA - DictionaryPictograph – Paintings by Native Americans, usually on the sandstone cliffs of the American Southwest desert. Pictographs can be seen as an art form, or, at times, they might be considered written language. Photo: U.S. PD? internet, Tulatulabal pictographs – Sierra Nevada, CA  {001}
see also:
Petrogylph – above

piebald – (horse color) Coat shows patches of black and white.  {001}
The Originals Index – Horses – Horse Colors

Coin Ferdinand VII - Dictionarypiece of eight – (peso de ocho) The Spanish dollar, [real de a ocho]; a large silver coin first minted by the Spanish crown in 1497 and which became one of the major currency’s of the world. Common, if not the only coinage in the many parts of the early U.S. About 38 mm in diameter at .930 fine, containing a little over 25.5 grams of pure silver. Calculate that at today’s silver price for a value comparison*. A U.S. dollar of the time weighed in with a little over 24 grams of pure silver content. Photo: U.S. PD by Coinman62, Spanish Silver Dollar (c. 1821**, Ferdinand VII)  {001}
*FYI: 2022 Silver has been just over $25 an oz. (Troy)
see also:
**The Originals – Trade in the Old West – Commerce in the Old West 1792 Silver
Wk. 08, 02/21/1857 – Coinage Act of 1857
Wk. 07, 02/12/1873 –  “The Crime of ’73”
Trade Dollar
– below

piggin’ string – (also: hoggin’ rope or hoggin’ string) A short piece of rawhide, rope or cord used to hog-tie animals (three legs wrapped and tied together just above the hoof): usually a calf for branding or an animal for examination/treatment. This is the rope a bulldogger uses to immobilize his animal. This was also the source of any cord or light rope on the range or trail drive.  {001}

Pikes Peak - DictionaryPikes Peak – 14,115 ft (4,302 m) (Arapaho – “Heey-otoyoo’ “ meaning “Long Mountain”) Named by the whites for explorer Zebulon Pike. This mountain was a highly visible landmark to all coming to Colorado from the east.  Photo: U. S. PD  Photo: U.S. PD.  {001)
see also:
Photos Index – Landmarks and Registers Pikes Peak

Pikes Peak Gold Rush – 1859
see also:
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos – Gold Rushes

pilamaya – (Oglala Lakota) Thank You

pilgrim – A term used to refer to the emigrants, a newcomer, or someone unfamiliar with the west. Also: a greenhorn or a tenderfoot.  {001}
emigrants – above

Spanish Missions Arizona and Sonora - Dictionary

Spanish Missions – Arizona and Sonora

Pimería Alta (Sp) Upper land of the Pimas, an area of the 18th century Sonora y Sinaloa Province in the Viceroyalty of New Spain. It encompassed parts of today’s northern Sonora in Mexico and southern Arizona in the United States. Map: U.S. PD – Missions and Missionaries by Engelhardt, Zephyrin (1916)
see also:
The Originals Index – ExpeditionsEusebio Francisco Kino
and Spanish Expeditions

Pinkerton National Detective Agency – Founded in 1855 by Alan Pinkerton & Edward Rucker.  {001}
PLAYERS – Timelines Index – Timelines M-Z Index – Pinkertons Timeline

pistoleer – Another name for a gunfighter.

pistolero – A gunfighter, but maybe implying some skill at the business.  {001}

Pit House - DictionaryPit House illustration - DictionaryPit House – A native American housing structure seen in the Southwest. Photos: U.S. PD internet,  {001}

pitted – A cowboy term describing an animal, stuck in a hole, mud or snow such that it will need roped and pulled out.

Placer – (mining) A location where a stream has deposited sand and gravel containing gold.
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos

Placer Mining – The industry of mining a placer could take a number of forms, from simple panning to large scale hydraulic mining or dredging.
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos

Algodones Plank Road - DictionaryPlank Road – A roadbed make of wooden planks laid on stringers, maybe on piles to cross boggy, swampy or sandy ground or maybe smooth out a badly rutted length of road. Sometimes constructed as toll roads. Much better ride than a Corduroy Road. Photo: U.S. PD Algodones Dunes Plank Road CA c. 1915  {001}

Plateau Prophet Dance – An older Paiute ceremonial dance (pre-1860’s) said to be the precursor of the Ghost Dance.  {001}
Wodziwob  – below

Played his last hand. – dead

played out – used up, finished or spent. A mine that took more money in than it paid out, was played out.  {001}

PLAYER – as used in The Old West Daily Reader; the people, places and events of the Old West.
see also:
FAQ’s – Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat are Players?

Play the Trump Card – (slang) 1. An unexpected winning move. (c.1886)  2. Originally “play the Orange card” which meant “appeal to Northern Irish Protestant sentiment for political advantage.” 

Pleach – To intertwine or weave together. (see next entry).

Pleached – A term used to describe trees slashed partway through the trunk and bent over to form a thicket for  hedgerows/windbreaks/animal fence & predator protection on the plains, often Hawthorn*.  {001}
The Originals – Resources & Hazards – Plants – Functional PlantsHawthorn

plow chaser – A cowboy name for a farmer.

Plug and Feathers – (mining) aka: feather and tare, feather and wedges,  pins and feathers, plugs and wedges and wedges and shims. Tools and a method for splitting stone.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Mining PhotosPlug and Feathers Mining

Poet Laureate – A poet appointed to, or regarded unofficially as holding, an honorary representative position in a particular country, region, or group. In the U.S. the position is appointed and titled “Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress.”  {001}
Wk. 25, 06/19/2019 – Joy Harjo

pogonip – a dense winter fog, containing frozen particles, that forms in deep mountain valleys of the western U.S. Encountering this unpleasant and sometimes frightening phenomenon when they went out West, English-speaking settlers needed a word for it. They borrowed “payinappih” (“cloud”) from the Shoshone, altering it to “pogonip” (first known use 1865). Folklore suggests that breathing the fog can injure the lungs.  {001}

pointers – point men; Cowboys who rode at the head of the herd and controlled the direction, speed of travel and width of the column.

Points – (horses) The points are: the mane, tail, and lower legs. Most often used in describing the color of a horse.  {001}

poke – A small bag/sack, usually made from leather, rawhide or perhaps an animal bladder, used to carry gold dust.

Poker – An American Card game. (c. 1834) Perhaps from the German pochen, “to brag” from a slang corruption of the verb spelled the same way which meant to “knock or rap”. Then again, maybe from the French “poque” which was a similar card game. None of it documented.

Poker face – A blank, non revealing expression, intended to convey no information about one’s hand to other players to other players. (c. 1874)  {001}

Polecat – 1. A skunk, aka: essence peddler, piket, wood pussy, swamp kitty, etc.  2. A no-account human, probably one that did something real low.  {001}
Resources & Hazards – Animals – Mammals Skunk

polled, pol, pollard – Usually means naturally hornless cattle, in a few places disbudded or dehorned cattle.
see also:
Dehorning – above
Disbudding – above

Pony Express
see: Wk. 43, 10/24 & 26/1861 – Pony Express
PLAYERS – Timelines – Timelines M-Z – Pony Express Timeline

Pony Express Riders Oath – “I do hereby swear, before the Great and Living God, that during my engagement, and while an employee of Russell, Majors and Waddell, I will, under no circumstances, use profane language, that I will drink no intoxicating liquors, that I will not quarrel or fight with any other employee of the firm, and that in every respect I will conduct myself honestly, be faithful to my duties, and so direct all my acts as to win the confidence of my employers, so help me God.”
However, eyewitness Richard Burton reported that he “scarcely ever saw a sober rider.”  {001}

A Pony Express Saddle Tree (reproduction) - Dictionary

A Pony Express Saddle Tree reproduction
U.S. PD? internet

Pony Express Saddle– A special, lightweight saddle (standardized at about 13 pounds) made by a saddlery firm owned and franchised by  Israel Landis of St. Joseph, MO, who also made the mail pouches (mochilas*) used in the system. Usually only the mochila was moved to the fresh horse at the remount station, however the saddle could be quickly moved if need be. The saddle, mochila and mail only weighed about 20 pounds. A rider carried only a small Bible, which included the solemn Pony Express loyalty oath, a canteen of water and revolver. {001}
Timelines – Timelines M-Z – Pony Express Timeline
*Mochila – above

Potlatch – (Potlach) 1. A ceremonial feast/festival given by coastal Indians of the Northwest. Often to display an individuals wealth or seek/validate a position or social status within the tribe. Perhaps given by  a clan or a tribe to another clan or tribe to demonstrate wealth, secure friendship/cooperation, etc. Usually includes the ostentatious destruction of valuable property and the giving of lavish gifts, which imply an expectation of reciprocation. 2. To give a Potlatch.  {001}

Potters Field – A public burial place for criminals, paupers, the indigent and the unknown. Usually an area distinctly separated from the cemetery for “proper” folks.  {001}

Portal – (mining) The opening to a mine.  {001}
see also:
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos

Powder Monkey – 1. The person in charge of the explosives, in the mines or on a construction/demolition crew, etc.  2. (Historical) A boy who carried powder from the magazine to the guns on warships.

prairie butter – Fat and juices left after cooking meat and/or bacon fat, used for lack of real butter.

prairie chips – Buffalo chips

prairie coal – Buffalo chips

Prairie Diamond – Way out in western Kansas, way back when, the local blacksmith offed the best he had to his favorite farm girl…  He told her, “The love won’t wear out either.” Photo: U.S. PD Doc Boyle, “Prairie Diamond Ring” by Blacksmith Rob McFarland.  {001}

prairie strawberries – dried beans, sort of a pinkish color…

prairie turnipCamas
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Plants – Food Plants
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Plants – Functional Plants

prairie wolf – A coyote

praties – potatoes (from the Irish)

prayer book – cigarette papers, aka: dream book, bible.

Prayer Stick – A ceremonial object used to make offerings and petitions to the spirit world. Most often associated with rituals relating to religious ceremonies particularly of the Native American tribes of the Southwest .  {001}

primer – (firearms) The explosive used to set off the main charge in a load or cartridge.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Ammunition Then and NowPrimers

Pritchel hole – The small round hole in an anvil; used mostly for punching, some wire work; and there are some Hardy like tools that fit the Pritchel hole.  {001}
see also:
Anvil – above – above
Hardy Hole – above

privy – an outdoor toilet (a toilet shed). aka: outhouse, latrine.  {001}

Proof – Liquor: A measure of the alcohol (ethanol) content in an alcoholic beverage. In the U. S., alcohol proof is defined as twice the percentage of Alcohol by Volume (since 1848). Originally (in England), spirits were tested by soaking a pellet of gunpowder in a sample. Gunpowder wouldn’t burn in rum that contained less than 57.15% alcohol by volume. If the gunpowder would burn, those spirits were rated above proof and taxed at a higher rate. In the U.S, the term, “proof”, is still used in the liquor trade, but today, as noted above, it means twice the percentage of alcohol by volume in the product. 80 proof whiskey is 40% alcohol.  {001}

propellants – The group of explosives which hither to, were called “gunpowder“.  {001}

prostitute – chippie, Cyprian, dove, Dove of the Roost, Fallen Angel, Fallen Frails, girl of the line; hooker, Lady of the Evening, lost sister, nighthawk, Nymphs du Prairie, Painted Lady, Prairie Nymph, Scarlet Lady, soiled dove, Sporting Woman, working girl.  {001}
see also:
The Originals Index – Entertainment in the Old West – Doves and Nighthawks

Provenance –  Comes from, original, originating in, proof of origin.  {001}
References – Provenance

Public Domain – Property rights belonging to the community at large; subject to use by anyone. Items without copyright, patent or trademark.  {001}
OWDR Site Guide – Copyright Issues

puha – (Comanche) Medicine, controlling the powers of the “spirits”.  {001}

pull freight – to leave, get the hell out!  {001}

pull leather – To hold on to the saddle while riding a pitching horse. Old timers might say, “To feel insecure in any manner.”

pull yer freight – Do your fair share of the work, put up your fair share of the money, etc. Do what’s right in the situation.  {001}

pull in your horns – 1. A admonition to back off and calm down from a confrontation. 2. Doin’ it.  {001}

pull up stakes – to depart or quit what ever one is doing; implying pulling the claim stakes from a homestead or mining claim and abandoning it. Pull your picket pins and hit the trail, etc.  {001}

Pungle – (from the Sp. póngale – put it up) to make a payment or contribution of money.  {001}

Punkin’ – (Logging) A particularly nice large log.

Pulque – (Sp) A beer/wine, fermented from agave. Cloudy and whitish in appearance, about 6 percent alcohol, it has a sour buttermilk-like flavor. Made from fermented aguamiel (“honey water”), the sap of any of several species of the agave, or maguey, plant (often called century plant). Made in Mexico since pre-Columbian times.  {001}
*Dictionary – Agave

The Originals Index, Entertainment in the Old West – Alcohol in the Old West – Pulque

pulqueria – A establishment selling pulque.

pup – 1. Old Mountain Man term for a single shot percussion pistol.  2. A small side-branch of a main gulch or a stream.

pure quill Indian – A wild Indian. Unaffected by the white culture and not having adopted it’s ways or tools. {Olde Tyme name}

Pyrography – The art and science of reading burnt hair and skin, as by a Brand Inspector.  {001}
Brand Inspector above


Quaker Guns - DictionaryQuaker Guns – A deception commonly used in warfare during the 18th and 19th centuries. Although resembling an actual cannon, the Quaker gun was a wooden log, usually painted black, misleading the enemy as to the strength of an emplacement; an effective delaying tactic.
The name derives from the Religious Society of Friends or “Quakers”, who have traditionally held a religious opposition to war and violence in the Peace Testimony. Photo: U.S. PD by George N. Barnard. – Confederate fortifications at Manassas Junction (1862).  {001}

quarantine lines – In moves to prevent “Texas Fever” from spreading to cattle in the east, a moving series of control lines (eastern travel limits), for Texas cattle, were drawn north to south through Kansas at various times in the 1860’s and ’70’s.

quarter section – One hundred and sixty acres. One person’s allowance under the Homestead Act of 1862.* A Section is comprised of 640 acres, equaling one square mile.
Wk. 20, 05/20/1862 – Homestead Act

Queen of the West – An 1819 newspaper article called Cincinnati, OH the “Queen of the West.”  {001}


Rabbit Warrior Society – All boys in the Kiowa tribe became members. In time they could earn membership (be invited to join) into one of the five adult warrior societies.
Koitsenko – above

Rabicano Horse - Dictionaryrabicano – (Sp) aka: white tickling. “Rabo” means tail and “cano” means white. A horse coat color. Most rabicano horses have two-toned tails. The white fur (roaning) extends down the tail to create a tail that’s white on top and brown on the bottom. Photo: U.S. PD? internet.  {001}
see also:
The Originals Index – Horses – Horse Colors

rainch – (Tx) 1. ranch   2. A tool to tighten bolts  3. hurt yore back  4. Dip dishes in water after washing.  {001}

Rain-shadow – Weather coming in from the Pacific Ocean quickly loses its moisture as rain and snow as it is forced up and over the steep mountains of the Sierra Nevada in eastern California (14,000 ft) (4,300 m). This mountain range casts a large rain shadow, little moisture is left for the desert.* Illustration: U.S. PD, Rain Shadow by Bariot.  {001}
*Great Basin – above
*Mojave Desert – above

raise – (mining) A vertical shaft, up through the roof of a tunnel, it does not connect to other parts of the mine.
Photo Gallery Index – Mining PhotosSome Types of Mines – diagram

ranch – (agriculture)  A large plot of land used for raising cattle, horse, sheep or other livestock, it may also include raising foodstocks for the animals in addition to pasturage.  {001}
The term came into common usage, in the modern sense from the Spanish word, rancho, c. 1808. Likely in Texas. – Doc

ramada – (Mexican/Indian) A shelter, four upright poles, roofed over with branches.  {001}

ramrod – An important accessory for muzzle loading firearms. A dowel, metal rod, etc. used in loading to push a ball or bullet down the barrel to rest tightly on the powder charge. Usually attached to the gun in some fashion. The Snider Enfield Long Rifle* is a very early breech loading rifle, but it still carries a ramrod, several other on the same page also have them. Lack of one, was part of the Custer disaster**.  {001}
*Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos Index – Firearms – Long Guns Snider Enfield Long Rifle
**Wk. 26, 06/25/1876 – Little Big Horn

Ramrod – foreman; person in charge on the ranch.

Ranahan – A top hand.

range horse – An owned horse turned out to run free on the range. Not a wild horse, not a mustang.  {001}

Rattle your hocks! – Get going! Get a move on!  {001}

Rawhide – Usually, a cow skin, dried in the sun. This amazingly tough stuff expands and stretches when wet and shrinks when it dries out. Because of these properties, it is the jack of all uses: boot, moccasin and shoe soles, chaps, construction fastenings, door hinges, repairs of many kinds, ropes, repairs and tires on wheels, a torture implement*, whips, etc. The potential uses, driven by need and combined with human ingenuity are almost limitless. Native Americans in the southwest even made playing cards from rawhide. Worst case, in an emergency, you can eat it.  {001}
see also:
*Death of Skins – above
Reata – below

rawhide – in reference to people… 1. An oldtimer  2. A term for Texas cowboys working in the Northwest part of the country (WA, OR, etc.)  {001}

rawhider – 1. A tough/hard hombre.  2. Low-end wagon drifters, holding everything together with rawhide. Often broke and of a suspicious nature (think, Western gypsies). More in the southwest and Texas. Also called movers.  3. The owner of a shirt-tail outfit.  {001}
– above
shirt tail outfit – below

rawhiding – 1. Cow camp discipline. A man whipped with rawhide will likely reconsider some of his behavior. 2. Also might be used to describe the boss, after a man for some reason, and drivin’ him too hard.  3. A man rounding up cattle alone.  {001}

reaches – The bars connecting the rear axles with the forward part of a stagecoach.  {001}

Real Dogs – see: Koitsenko.

Reata – A braided rawhide rope; softer, more sensitive, more delicate and maybe a little more skill and finesse to use [as opposed to a Grass Rope]. Usually four strands but could be more, six or eight for light duty and fancy ropes.
see also:
Dally method – above
Hard and Fast method; – above
Rawhide – above
Wk. 44, 10/29/1922 – The Roping Fool

red-eye – whiskey

Lantern - RR - red - DictionaryRed-Light District – The part of town where the whore houses were. The name was said to have derived from the practice of the railroad men who visited these establishments in Dodge City, KS. While engaged in the activities inside, they left their lit red railroads lanterns outside by the door. Photo: U.S. PD? internet.  {001}

reds – Juvenile javelina are often called “reds” due to the red color of their hair. {001}
The Originals Index – Resources and Hazards – Animals Index Page – MammalsCollared Peccary (Javelina)

reinsman – Another of the names for a stagecoach driver.  {001}

Register – Here, in the Old West Daily Reader, we mean a location where residents and travelers in the old west left names, messages and stories, usually painted on or carved into a prominent rock face.  {001}
The Originals Index – Landmarks and Registers

Regulators – Usually Vigilance Committees formed to deal with lawlessness. Not always, sometime they were formed by the opposing political or commercial interests; sometimes, just to appear more “legitimate/legal”. A good example would be the Lincoln County War in New Mexico.
PLAYERS – Timelines Master Index – Timelines A-L – Lincoln County War Timeline  (1859 – 2010)

remnants – Cows overlooked (or self-hidden) on the range, missed by the initial roundup. Cowboys will return at some point to attempt to retrieve these animals. Essential if there is an accurate count required (much more so in modern times).  {001}

Remuda – aka: cavvy: An outfits string of saddle horses.

Remudero – The Horse wrangler, aka: horse rustler in Texas.

Rendezvous – A few hardy, independent mountain men trapped for themselves and some traded for skins with the Indians, however, most worked for fur companies in highly organized expeditions* and camps. Various fur companies sponsored annual fair-like gatherings to purchase the furs. The first on record was held in 1819 in the Boise River valley by explorer, fur trader Donald Mackenzie, representing the North West Company. The first in Wyoming was held in 1824. A general truce of sorts was agreed upon and usually observed during and around these affairs. In the mid-1830’s estimates run to as many as 500 mountain men, Indians and others at the gatherings. They brought their Indian wives, dogs, horses, children, the trade goods and the furs. Then they traded, bought and sold, socialized, tested their skills against one another, re provisioned, got drunk and generally had a hell of a good time. The last was held at Daniel, WY in 1840. Today they have been revived and the clothing, the ways, the crafts, tools and skills of this fascinating time in the old, Old West live again. Attend one and see living history.  {001}
see also:
Wk. 13, 03/26/1838 – William Henry Ashley
Wk. 27, 07/05/1837 – Rendezvous
Wk. 26, 06/26/1849 – Fort Laramie purchase
Wk. 34, 08/26/1892 – Osborne Russell
Rocky Mountain College
– below
*The Originals Index – Expeditions The Fur Trade
Quotes Index – Commentators Quotes
The Originals Index – Commerce in the Old WestThe Fur Trade

Revenant – 1. A dead person, who is believed to have come back to life (today, a zombie?). Sometimes a wraith, ghost or haunting spirit. 2. One returned after a very long absence. 3. One who has the characteristics, manners or speech of times past, (A fresh returnee? Think, Rip Van Winkle).  {001}

ribbons – reins.

rico – SP. To be rich, a rich man.  {001}

Huck Finn Travelling by Rail - DictionaryRide out of Town on a Rail – We ain’t talkin’ trains here… These unfortunates (The King and The Duke), in the drawing, from Huckleberry Finn (1884), are having the experience. Often a companion technique, to practices such as being tarred and feathered,* all of which, strongly indicate to an individual that it is time to move on down the trail. No doubt, a memorable event for all involved.  {001}
* tarred and feathered – below

ridin’ drag – 1. The riders at the rear of a cattle drive. The lowest job for the newest cowboy or one out-of-favor with the Trail Boss. 2. Low man on the totem pole of any outfit.  {001}

ride herd – from herding cattle, therefore, to ride herd on something was to watch, manage and and care for  it.  {001}

riffle – (mining) A cross bar, maybe an inch high, crossways on the bottom of a sluice box or a long-tom. Probably a bunch of ’em, so to cause ripples or riffles in the flowing water and catch the gold and prevent it from being washed away in the flow. A sluice so equipped would likely be called a riffle box.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos

rig – Here’s an English word, similar to all words in Texan, which can mean several different things: (1). the equipment used on a team of horses, maybe the conveyance itself (with or without its team). (2). the collection of equipment a man carried on his horse, his guns and holsters, etc. (Note: Even so, in this context, this word merely describes different groups of things, perhaps gathered into functional units; it does not exhibit totally different concepts of thought and meaning. A word used by Texans, but a far cry from a word in Texan.)  (3). (livestock) An incompletely castrated male, cattle or a horse. {001}

Rimfire Cartridges – A cartridge case with the primer in the rim of the base. The photo is a .44 cal. round for the famous Henry Rifle and a fired case showing the well known twin strikes, left by a Henry firing pin; certainly more positive ignition with rimfire. Note also, the headstamp in the center of the case head. {001}
see also:
Centerfire Cartridges – above
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Ammunition Then and Now – Rimfire Cartridges
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Handguns
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Long Guns

risky – dangerous. (c. 1825) From “risk”, an anglicized version of the French “risqué”. (c. 1728)  Risk taker (1874)

river pig – see: log driver.

Road Agent – A outlaw who robbed stagecoaches.

Road Brand – After the gather and the trail herd was assembled, before starting out, each animal recieved a new brand on their side and had their tail docked*, just for the drive. They would likely already have ear marks and an owners brand or maybe several if they had changed hands a time or two. (Except new dogies collected in the gather.) The road brand served as a quick and positive ID in case they got mixed up with other cows along the way and at sale time at the end of the drive.  {001}
see also:
Brand – above
*docking – above
Ear Mark – above

Roadman – The formal title of the priest, pastor, or elder, required to conduct the service in the Native American Church. Ceremonies are generally held in a tipi. Gifts are given to the Roadman and his helpers by the sponsoring family at the feast after the ceremony, the following day.  {001}
Native American Church – above

Robber Baron – A late 19th-century derogatory metaphor of social criticism. It was originally applied to certain businessmen, accused of using unscrupulous methods to get rich, or expand their wealth and power. Some of the big ones: Cyrus Field, Jay Gould, Russell Sage, Leland Stanford,* Cornelius Vanderbilt.  {001}
Wk. 25, 06/21/1893 – Leland Stanford

Robber’s Roost – “Queen Ann” Bassett, Josie Bassett* , Laura Bullion, Maude Davis and Etta Place were the only women ever allowed at the hideout of the Wild Bunch.  {001}
Quotes Index – Women QuotesJosie Bassett
Photo Gallery Index – Outlaw Photos
The Originals Index – Outlaw Gangs IndexWild Bunch
PLAYERS – Timelines – Timelines M-Z – Wild Bunch Timeline

Rocker Box (mining)
Cradle – above

Rock Oil
Coal Oil – above

Rocky Mountain Canary – A donkey; also an Arizona nightingale.
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Animals Index Page – MammalsDonkey

Rocky Mountain College – c. 1830’s 40’s: The winter camp bull sessions of the trappers and hunters. You could lean plenty by just listening… (Osborne Russell). Look Russell up, a very interesting man.  {001}
PLAYERS – Russell, Osborne

Rocky Mountains Oysters – aka: calf fries – Fried bull testicles.

Rodeo – (Mex-Sp) 1. Originally the word meant to encircle, round or round up. Much as the later Texan term “gather“. When the herd was “rounded up”; the vaqueros (cowboys) would, of course,  race horses, show off their skills and find ways to see who among them were the best at their business. 2. Then, “Rodeo” started to refer to those contests as well; and today the original meaning is basically obsolete. While local rodeo (schools, county and state fairs, etc. persists throughout the west and keep what has become a sport alive; modern rodeo has also become a professional sport and very big business.  {001}
Wk. 44, 10/30/1936
Wk. 09, 02/28/1848
Wk. 15, 04/09/2004
The Originals Index – Entertainment in the Old West – Rodeos and Wild West Shows
Photo Gallery Index – Cowboy Photos)
Gather – above
Round up
– below

Roper – aka: ropemaker, a craftsman who makes ropes.  {001}

rough as a cob – A folk saying, implying difficulty or unpleasantness. Derived from the reality of having to use corncobs as toilet paper.  {001}
see also:
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Plants – Functional PlantsMullein

Roullette – A gambling game using a wheel and ball to choose numbers by chance. (c. 1725) Photo: US. PD pre-1923.

round (s) – (Logging) Usually associated with lengths of un-split firewood.

Round-up – The collecting together of all the (usually) cattle belonging to a ranch or a group of ranches for the purposes of winter feed and protection or preparing to drive the herd to market.  {001}
see also:
Gather – above
Rodeo – above

The Originals Index, Entertainment in the Old West – Alcohol in the Old Westrum

Ruminant Stomach Diagram - Dictionaryruminant – An animal which has four-chambered complex stomach, such as: cows, goats and sheep (herbivores). Distinct from a simple single-chambered stomach as in humans, pigs and rats (omnivores);  cats and dogs (carnivores) and  horses and rabbits (herbivores). They extract more energy from cellulose digestion than monogastric* animals because they ferment their food in a specialized stomach prior to digestion. Fermentation also continues in the large intestine. Illustration U.S. PD 2008 Pearson Scott Foresman.   {001}
see also:
*monogastric – above
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Animals Index Page
Mammals – for animals bolded in this article.

rump – aka: croup, (mammals) The portion of the posterior dorsum that is posterior to the loins and anterior to the tail. Anatomically, the rump corresponds to the sacrum.

Runaway Scrape, The – Texian residents fleeing the Mexican Army, including some forced evacuations and the burning of towns to prevent their occupation by the Mexicans. Occurring mostly, between September 1835 and April 1836, due to the Goliad Massacre and the loss of The Alamo and up to around the time of the decisive victory by the Texians at the Battle of San Jacinto.  {001}
see also:
Wk. 10, 03/06/1836 – The fall of The Alamo
Wk. 12, 03/19/1836 – Battle of Coleto Creek
Wk. 13, 03/27/1836 – Goliad Massacre
Wk. 16, 04/21/1836 – Battle of San Jacinto

running iron – A branding iron (usually just a bar) used to alter or make a brand. In many places in the old west it was a hanging offense to be caught with one.  {001}
Wk. 25, 06/21/ 1880 – Camp Rucker

Rush the Growler – Said of one who frequently fills his/her growler* at the local saloon/bar.  {001}
*Growler – above
The Originals Index, Entertainment in the Old West – Alcohol in the Old West

rustler – A cow thief, a horse thief is a horse thief.
Quotes Index – Rules to Live ByRustlers

Russian Roullette cylinder - DictionaryRussian Roulette – A lethal game of chance. The player places a single round in a revolver, spins the cylinder, places the muzzle against their head, and pulls the trigger. Russian refers to the supposed country of origin, and roulette to the element of risk-taking and the spinning of the revolver’s cylinder, reminiscent of a spinning roulette wheel. The number of pulls of the trigger before a round is expected to discharge is 3.5 (if the cylinder is not re-spun between pulls) or 6 (if it is re-spun after each pull). (from: “The Fatalist” – 1840) Photo: U.S. PD? internet.  {001}

Rut – An annually recurring period of sexual excitement ; the breeding season of large ungulates.  {001}


saavy – (aka: savey or sabby) To know or understand. Merriam-Webster dictionary says it’s derived from sabe, which means “he knows” in Portuguese. This became sabi in Creole, and later, “savvy.” As in: You saavy that, pard?  {001}

Saddle-blanket gambler – One who travels around the range to gamble with the cowboys. They often spread their saddle blanket on the ground for a table.
Quotes Index – Quotes Index – Gambler QuotesCharles Russell

Saddle pockets – pommel bags, cantle bags, cantinas – small saddle bags carried on the front of the saddle. – [001}

saecula– A length of time roughly equal to the potential lifetime of a person. In common usage it equals about 90 years, divided into four “seasons” of about 22 years each; representing youth, rising adulthood, midlife and old age.  {001}

Saeculum – The period of time from when an event occurred until all the people who had an actual memory of the event have died. (this period could be several generations). The term can also refer to a person.   {001}
saecula above

Saguaro Cactus
The Originals Index – Resources and Hazards – Plants – Food PlantsSaguaro Cactus

Sailing Ships – (nautical) Here are some of the basic sail plans of the ships of the times. Before and during the advent of the steamboat on the rivers and ocean.

see also:
fore and aft rig – above
Square Rig
– below
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation PhotosThe Clippers

Salinero Revolt
San Elizario Salt War – below

Salt a Mine – To “improve” a mine by subterfuge. It could involve bringing in ore from another mine, firing gold dust onto ore with a shotgun, anything that might make the mine appear better than it really is.  {001}
The Originals Index – Trade in the Old West
Commerce in the Old West1900 – Independence Mine
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos)

San Elizario Salt War -aka: the El Paso Salt War, the Salinero Revolt (late 1860’s – 1877)
Timelines Master Index – Timelines A-L – Salt War Timeline

San Pedro Mountain Mummy (The) – Pedro
Just for Fun Pages – Monsters and Supernatural Beings of the Old West
– The San Pedro Mountain Mummy

San Simon Cowboys – aka: The Cowboys; the Clanton Gang.  {001}
The originals Index – Outlaw Gangs IndexThe Cowboys

Sarsaparilla1. A soft drink, originally made from the Smilax ornata plant.  2. Classic American sarsaparilla was not made from the extract of the sarsaparilla plant, a tropical vine distantly related to the lily. It was originally made from a blend of birch oil and sassafras, the dried root bark of the sassafras tree. Sassafras was widely used as a home remedy in the 19th century. Taken in sufficient doses, it induces sweating, which some people thought had health benefits. Sarsaparilla apparently made its debut as a patent medicine, an easy-to-take form of sassafras, much as Coca-Cola was first marketed in 1885 as a remedy for hangovers, headaches and morphine addiction. Besides the effects of the ingredients, sodas were popular in the United States at the time, due to the belief that carbonated water had health benefits. Sold in saloons in the times because there were so few pharmacies in the Old West. Photo: U.S. PD ? internet.  {001}
The Originals Index, Entertainment in the Old West – Alcohol in the Old WestSarsaparilla, etc.

Sawdust Crew – (Logging) The sawmill crew in a lumber camp.  {001}

scalawag – A southerner who had Republican sympathies (Civil War).  {001}

Scaling Bar – (mining) A mining tool used to bring down loose rock.  [001}
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos

scalp -The practice of taking the skin and hair from the top of the head as a battle trophy; likely a simplified version of taking heads. Both the white men and the Indians did it and claimed they learned to do it from the other. The Apache claimed they didn’t do it. Sometimes the taking of scalps required purification ceremonies but more likely resulted in a celebratory dance after a battle. A tribes collection of scalps was certainly part of its prowess, heritage and lore.  Though relatively rare, women scalps were highly prized by all. Of course, other body parts were often taken as battle trophies. These practices are certainly much older than the times of the Old West.  {001}
see also:
Quotes Index – Indian QuotesSand Creek Massacre
Wk. 24, 06/17/1876 – Pretty Shield
Wk. 27, 07/03/1863 – Kaposia Chief Little Crow
Wk. 29, 07/17/1876 – Wagnus Massacre
Photo Gallery Index – Hangings and Shootings – 2nd from bottom of page

scattergun – A shotgun.

Scavenger – An animal which feeds on carrion, garbage, or the leftovers of other animals kills.

Schoolmarm – (common usage) A female school teacher.

Schoolmarm – (Logging) A log or tree that is forked, stable in river driving because it does not roll easily.

scrub – A term for a cow or a horse, considered to be of such poor quality as to not be worth breeding.  {001}

seam squirrels – Lice, most low end boarding houses, hotels  and some of the bordellos had ’em.  {001}
The Originals Index – Resources and Hazards – Animals index page – Arachnids and Insectslice

section – Six hundred and forty acres, a square mile. A good measure to use when speaking of large western ranches.  {001}

see the elephant – to go to town.

Segundo – The second in command on a ranch or trail drive.

SeluThe Corn Mother (Cherokee)
Corn Mother – above

Sequoyah Seal, 1905 - DictionarySequoyah, State of – The Sequoyah Constitutional Convention met in Muskogee, Indian Territory* (08/21-22/1905). Around 60,000 (some 13%) of the territorial population was Native American, representing about 30 tribes. General Pleasant Porter, Principal Chief of the Creek Nation, was selected as president of the convention. They drafted a constitution, drew up an organizational plan for the government, put together a map showing the counties to be established, and elected delegates to go to the United States Congress to petition for statehood. Voters in the territory approved the constitution and statehood petition by
56,279 to 9,073 (11/07/1905).
Sequoah map, 1905 - DictionaryTerritorial leaders were well aware that the Republican dominated Congress was unlikely to admit the heavily Democratic Indian Territory into the Union. Even so, early in the 59th Congress, Representative Arthur P. Murphy of Missouri and Senator Porter J. McCumber of North Dakota introduced the Sequoyah statehood bills. They were defeated. Although the issue had been discussed since the late 1890’s, this was the only official attempt to create an Indian state in the U.S. Seal: U.S. PD, Sequ0yah 1905. Map: U.S. PD, Sequoyah map, 1905. {001}
see also:
*Indian Territory map – above
Wk. 52, 12/29/1835 – Treaty of New Echota
Wk. 52, 12/29/1835 – Cherokee Outlet

Seven Cities of Gold –  A popular 16th century myth; legend has it that the seven cities of gold could be found throughout the pueblos of the New Mexico Territory. The cities were Cibola, Hawikuh, Halona, Kiakima, Kwakina, Matsaki and Quivira. A seventh city has always been mentioned, however, no evidence of a seventh site has ever been found. Spanish explorers took several serious runs at trying to find them. Coronado finally got the job done, but the golden cities turned out to be the Zuni Pueblos.* The Spaniards were sore disappointed…  {001}
see also:
Photo Gallery Index – People and PlacesQuintobaquito Spring
*The Originals Index – Native American Tribes – Pueblos of New Mexico
This article also appears on: Lost Treasures of the Old West

seven out – When a seven is thrown instead of one’s point, a losing throw in Craps.

shaft – (mining) 1. vertical: Vertical excavations, openings from the surface down to tunnels or perhaps connecting to tunnels at various levels underground.  2. inclined: A shaft serving the same purposes as above but it descends at an angle, often + or – around 45 degrees. Inclined shafts usually start at the surface.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos – Some Types of Mines diagram

shaker box (mining)
cradle – above
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos

ShamanNative Americans Do Not have shamans. The term is derived from old world sources and it has been imposed on the religious and spiritual practices of the indigenous people of North America by anthropologists, white religions and other ill-informed “students” of Indian cultures. {001}
see also:
Medicine Man/Woman
– above
Shamanism – below

Shamanism –  A range of beliefs and religious practices of certain native peoples of Northern Asia. Native American cultures generally object, reject and are offended by, the use of the term to describe medicine men and women and the spiritual and religious practices of indigenous American tribes.  {001}
see also:
– above

Shanghaied - Dictionary


Shanghai -To force someone to join a ship, lacking a full crew, by underhanded means. A favorite method was drugged drinks. There were establishments on the west coast who specialized in providing “crewmen”. A truncheon in an alley could serve the same purpose. An unknown number of those expecting to become rich in the California goldfirlds woke up with a headache to find themselves on a ship, well out at sea, on the way to the Chinese city of Shanghai, often to participate in the lucretive opium trade.  {001}

sharpening the hoe – (Cowboy lingo) Getting ready to fight or already in one.

shaver – A young/adolescent boy. Calling a boy a shaver implied that they were young enough to have just started shaving. As in: “Ain’t he just a cute little shaver?”  {001}

Sheep and Cattle Wars
Sheep Wars – below

sheepherder – The person who stays with the sheep (24-7) on the range, guards them and keeps them moving to fresh pasture. The herder will have a very well trained dog, several if his flock is large. It is the dog, which makes what he is responsible to do, possible at all. The dogs are phenomenal and essential to this kind of animal management on the range*. The season on the range can be many months long. If the herder works for a small outfit the owner will likely bring supplies. A larger outfit will have a manager (vaciero) who is responsible for a number of herders (pastores).  {001}
*(Sheep management, that is, cattle don’t/won’t do it that way. – Doc)

Sheep Wars, aka: Sheep and Cattle Wars: A series of armed conflicts fought between sheepmen and cattlemen over grazing rights on the public grazing lands in the Old West. More common in Texas, Arizona and the border region of Wyoming and Colorado, sheep wars occurred in numerous other western states. Cattlemen tended to see sheepmen as invaders, whose animals destroyed the land by cropping the grass too short for cows. There were certainly issues over water as well. Estimates suggest some 120 engagements, in eight different states and territories between 1870 and 1920. Somewhere between 50,000 to 100,000+ sheep were slaughtered and at least 54 men killed in the attacks*.  {001}
*Wk. 35, 09/02/1887 – “No! The hogs must eat them”
Wk. 34, 09/10/1894 – Parachute Sheep Massacre
Wk. 14, 04/02/190References – Dictionary – The Spring Creek Raid
– above

Siderod (Logging) Second in command of a logging outfit.

shindig _ A mighty affair; dance, party, etc. It ain’t worth goin’ home in the dark, so it might as well last all night.  {001}

Fractional Currency US (3rd Issue)-$0.50 - Dictionary

50 cents, Not $50.

shinplasters – Low-value paper money, issued in $.03, $.05, $.10, $.15, $.25, and $.50 denominations. Out West, folks thought money, was supposed to contain precious metal equal to the face value of the coin. Even in the face of a dramatic shortage of “change making” coinage and/or currency, fractional paper money and even fractional base metal coins and were suspect and shunned.  Photo: U.S. PD, National Numismatic Collection at the Smithsonian Institution.    {001}
see also:
fractional coins – above
fractional currency – above

Shiprock NM - DictionaryShiprock, NM – (Navajo: Tsé Bitʼaʼí, “rock with wings” or “winged rock”) about 11 miles (17 km) southwest of the town of Shiprock, NM (San Juan County), which is named for the peak. Located in the center of the lands of the Ancient Pueblo People. Photo: U.S. PD Snodgrass.  {001}
The Originals Index – Landmarks and RegistersShiprock

shirt-tail outfit – A small cattle ranch. So dinky, it would fit on a shirt tail.  {001}

Shootist – A gunfighter, the term said to have been originated by Clay Allison.

short bit – A dime.

short horn – 1. Eastern cows. 2. A cattleman who works short horn cows,  unfamiliar/inexperienced with long horns. 3. A pilgrim, a greernhorn, thereby a short horn. 4. Second-rate or inferior.  {001}

Short staker – (Logging) aka: boomer. A worker who quits after earning a small sum.

shotgun – aka: scattergun, greener. 1. A shoulder fired long gun which fires pellets (shot) or slugs instead of balls or bullets. Shotgun gauge is determined by the number of lead balls the exact size of the bore that equal one pound. Eight for eight gauge, twelve for twelve gauge and so on. Originally used mainly to hunt birds, the shotgun’s  devastating power was quickly adapted to other purposes. A cut-off barrel spreads the shot pattern sooner and such guns (coach guns) loaded with larger pellets called buckshot were used by guards on stagecoaches and freight wagons.  2. The express man or guard who wielded such an arm and usually sat to the right of the driver of the conveyance.*  {001}

*shotgun messenger
– below
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Long Guns
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Ammunition Then and NowShotguns
Photo Gallery Index – Hangings and Shootings (Caution!)ShootingsBill Doolin

shotgun chaps – (shotguns) Closed chaps or leggings that encase the entire leg. The very thing for oak brush.  {001}

shotgun house – A house built with all the rooms and doors in row, no dog-trot. If it’s the real McCoy, with all the doors open, you should be able to fire a shotgun through the house and not hit a thing.*  {001}
*Alright, gun people, cut some slack here! 28 g., Long barrel, full choke, buckshot, light charge. Gimme a break!  It’s a Southern thing. – Doc  (deer slug?)

shotgun messenger –  aka: shotgun guard, shotgun. The man who rode with the stage or express wagon, etc., armed with a shotgun to protect the valuables and incidentally, any passengers. He rode up with the driver, sitting to his right.* Unless, the messenger was a southpaw! Only then, would he ride to the drivers, left. Nobody wanted that shotgun waving around in the middle of things over the team.  {001}
*This is the source of calling the right front seat in a vehicle, “Shotgun“.

showdown: 1. In poker – the placing of all hands face up on the table to determine the winner of the pot. (c. 1873)  2. In human relations: A confrontation, a duel, a shootout, a forced outcome. (c. 1904)  {001}

Show Indian – A Native American who worked in the Wild West Shows or theater.  {001}

shuck – A cigarette done up in a corn shuck. The prayer book ran out of leaves!  {001}

sidekick – A man’s partner. Not always quite like in the movies.* The old tyme allusion is to a team-span member on a wagon hitch.  {001}
* There are a number of Western movie sidekicks listed in Old West Daily Reader PLAYERS.

side-line hobble – (aka: side-line)  Hobbling and animal by fastening the fore foot and hind foot on the same side together, rather than both front or both hind legs together, as in the usual practice.  {001}

sign – The clues that a tracker of man or beast would seek and observe to follow his quarry: footprints, bent grass, a turned over stone, disturbed water, hair caught on a branch, disturbed wildlife, etc…  {001}

Trading with Indians using sign language - Tucumcari NM c 1930 - DictionarySign Language – A highly developed system of non-verbal communication used by Native Americans long before the advent of the Europeans. Sign talk reached across the language barrier in North America allowing all the tribes to communicate. It reached a pinnacle with the Plains Indians and the coming of the Europeans. Many signs were added for the new things brought by the white man:  IE: airplane, automobile, bacon, coffee, calico, guns, whiskey, etc. Photo: U.S. PD c. 1930s Trading using sign language.  {001}
References – Books used as referenceIndian Sign Language
Wk. 01, 10/03/1959 – Dr. Lanny Real Bird

silk popper – A stagecoach driver. Named for the lash (the popper) on his whip.  {001}

Sin-buster – A preacher.

Single Jack – (mining) A short-shafted hammer weighing about four pounds, used with a chisel pointed steel hand drill.  {001}
see also:
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos

Single Jack Drilling Competitions – A modern resurrection of traditional 19th century miners competitions. The Single Jack World Championship is held in Carson City NV during their annual Nevada Day’s celebration. The current world record was set in 1993 by Scott Havens of Elko NV. In  a 10min contest he drilled 16.34”.

singletree – A horizontal crossbar, to the ends of which the traces of a harness are attached.  {001)

sink – (geology) An endorheic basin, a depressed land area which has no visible outlet for water. There are a number of important sinks in the West.
Endorheic basin
– above
Great Basin – above

sinkers – biscuits

Sipapu –  A Hopi word which refers to a small hole or indentation in the floor of a kiva. The sipapu symbolizes the portal through which their ancestors emerged to enter the present world.  {001}
– above

Sire – Ag – The male animal in a breeding pair.  {001}

six-gun – A revolver.

six-shooter – A revolver.

skedadle – git! “be gone”, runaway, escape.

Skin Trapper – (fur trade) A man outfitted by the company, on credit, who paid off his debts at the end of the season. The trapper kept the difference, after paying the inflated prices for company goods brought to the mountains (estimates as high as 500 to 600%). As often as not, he returned to the mountains, once again in debt to the company. {001}

Skin-Walker – (Navajo/Diné) – The Navaho term, yee naaldlooshii, translates as “by means of it, [he or she] goes on all fours”. Describing a particular variety of harmful witch who have the ability to turn into, possess, or disguise themselves as an animal.  {001}
see also:
The Originals Index – Resources and Hazards – – Animals Index Page –
Monsters and Supernatural Beings of the Old West – Skin-Walker

The Skull and Bones Society  – aka: The Order, Order 322 and The Brotherhood of Death.
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos – Lost Treasures in the Old WestSkulls

skunk – 1. A stinker, somebody who did a nasty thing to someone. 2. A critter, a polecat… aka: nice kitty*  {001}
*The Originals- Resources & Hazards – Animals – MammalsSkunk

skypiece – A hat.

Sky Panther – Indian mythical/legendary creature.  {001}
The Originals Index – Native American Tribes – Native American Pre-History –
Destroyed by a CometSky Panther

Sky Pilot – a preacher

Slap leather – Draw a gun from a holster.

slave – A human being, treated as property, held against their will, forced to do the bidding of their owner/master.  {001}

slaver – 1. one who takes or sells slaves. 2. A ship used to carry slaves.  {001}

Slave Trade, Transatlantic,  North and South America (1440-1888). Somewhere around 4-6 percent, an estimated 300,000 out of the 12 million enslaved Africans brought to the New World during this time actually came to North America. Significant numbers arrived in the American colonies by way of the Caribbean, where they had been “seasoned” and mentored into slave life, only then brought to plantations on American soil. About 25% of southerners owned slaves.
The majority of the captives went to Brazil, most of the rest went to the Caribbean. Some spent months or years recovering from the harsh realities of the Middle Passage. Slavery in the colonies and the states lasted from 1619 to 1865 when the practice was ended by the 13th Amendment. It had lasted 246 years.  {001}

slaves – We tend to think of slaves as Africans brought to the Americas often to work in agriculture by European whites, but slaves were commonly taken and traded by many Indian tribes (well before the Europeans arrived) and the Mexicans, who took Indian slaves. Of course, the Indians reciprocated.  {001}
see also:
Slave Trade, Transatlantic
– above article
Comancheros – above

sleep – (Native American) A measure of time, each sleep being punctuated by a sunrise, noon and sunset. The number of days between New Moons were counted in “sleeps”. Specifying a number of days would tally in sleeps. (Ex. “We will meet here again in five sleeps.”)  {001}
see also:
Moon – above

Sleeping Ute
The Originals Index –Landmarks and RegistersSleeping Ute

sleeper – (mining) A drill hole, loaded with explosives, which has failed to explode with the other charges around it. A very dangerous situation!  {001}

sleeper – A bet in Faro.

slick – An unbranded cow or horse.

slicker – A cowboy’s raincoat, yellow oilskin. Usually carried rolled and tied behind the cantle of the saddle. Old timers probabled called it a fish, due to a design on the trademark by a particular manufacturer. Think arbuckle or Kleenex. The garment had a multitude of uses besides keeping its owner dry.  {001}

slick-heeled – A man not wearing spurs.

slow elk – Beef, in particular, someone else’s.  {001}
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Animals Index Page – MammalsSlow Elk

Slow match (firearms) Slow match, the ignition source for Matchlock firearms, was usually a length of hemp or flax cord, chemically treated to make it burn slowly and consistently for an extended period. The rate of burning was approximately 1 ft (305mm) per hour. Different formulas for making the cord could vary the time. Many formulas for match cord exist, providing varying burn rates.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Firearms – Ammunition Then and NowLocks Match Lock

sluice box – (mining) A long shallowly inclined trough, used to wash gold from dirt and gravel. Might be further equipped with riffles or carpet (miner’s moss) to aid the process.  {001}
riffle – below
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos, Sluice Box by Grabill, 2nd pic down

Smasher Mail – A publication of Carrie A. Nation.  {001}
Wk. 23, 06/09/1911- Carrie Nation

Smokeless Powder (firearms) Modern gun powders can be of a number of different formulations with several chemical bases [ex. picrate, nitrocellulose, etc.] The main issues being: 1. they are high explosives [detonation, super-sonic] 2. They create mostly gases as by products and therefore far less fouling than black powders and of course they create much less smoke. Black powder, a low explosive [deflagrates, sub-sonic] and produces about 55% of its by-product as hygroscopic solids, thus the fouling and corrosion associated with its use in firearms. The available selection of modern propellants (the current terminology for gun powders) is immense.
During the time of the initial development of the many variations of what only Americans call “smokeless powder“,* the first one that came West was Poudre B (White Powder) c. late 1880’s.  {001}
see also:
Everyone else thinks gun powders are “propellants” these days. (so do we)
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Firearms – Ammunition Then and Now – Smokeless Powder
Black Powder – above

smoke pole – a rifle

Smudging – A traditional Native American method of burning sacred herbs to produce a smoke cloud used in various cleansing, purification/healing rituals and prayer ceremonies. Often using sweetgrass and/or sage, among other fragrant barks, grasses, and resins.  {001}
The Originals – Resources & Hazards – Plants – Functional Plants
The Originals – Resources & Hazards – Plants – Hallucinogenic Plants

Snag – (Logging) A standing dead tree.

Snag – (Riverboats) An underwater hazard. Often dead trees carried by floods and deposited in difficult places.
see also:
Wk. 13, 04/01/1865 – Steamboat Bertrand

Snake Bit – 1. intoxicated. 2. Suffering the miseries from a bout of severe intoxication.  {001}

Snake Oil

The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Disease Patent Medicines (bottom of page)

Snoose – damp snuff or chewing tobacco

Snortin’ Pole – A method used by Texas Rangers during “town taming”. A large diameter wooden pole (12 or 15 feet tall) was set firmly in the ground at the edge of town with a large ring of chain around it. Then, in the early morning, a roundup at gunpoint was performed on a pre-determined list of the miscreants and problem individuals in the community (gamblers, con men, pimps, thieves, “wild men”, whores and other “undesirables”). They were searched, taken to the pole and handcuffed to the chain. They were instructed to “snort” at each other. The Rangers then retired from the scene for the rest of the day. The hot Texas sun, no water, the exercise of body functions, etc. led to a much calmer group around the pole. The Rangers returned late in the afternoon and suggested that when released, they should all immediately leave town. It was clearly stated that any who remained after sundown would deeply regret it. This proved to be a very effective, simple method which obtained the desired results.
see: Snortin’ Post – below

Snortin’ Post – In the Sothern states: a whipping post. A large pole set firmly in the ground (10′ or so tall), with a pully attached to the top. A long rope is run through the pully and a loop or handcuffs are attached to one end. In use, the victim is pulled up so their feet are just off the ground, shirt and pants removed and then whipped with a leather strap or an eight foot whip, tapered at the end. Enough lashes and any victim will “snort”, release their bowels and bleed profusely. Used well into modern times and likely now and again today.  {001}

Snow Birds – Men who enlisted in the Army to get through the winter and then deserted in the spring.  {001}
(Now you know where the term really came from. – Doc)

Snow Shed – (RR) A heavy timber construction [today, concrete], effectively a tunnel, built over the tracks to protect the train in the winter; across an avalanche chute or through a cut that would often drift full.  {001}

Snow Snake – An Indian winter game. Played in teams (corners) by casting prepared sticks (snakes) down a snow trough for distance, accumulating points to a win. The snakes can vary in length from three or four inches to ten feet or so. Perhaps 500 years old and still played today by the Sioux and others.  {001}
for other Indian games see:
– above
Photo Gallery Index – Indian PhotosGeorge Catlin paintings

Snow Snake
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Animals Index Page
Reptiles and AmphibiansSnow Snake

Snubber – (Logging) A device for braking logs or sleighs as they descend steep hills.

snuffy – A cow thing – sniffy, nervous, jumpy, suspicious.  {001}

sod buster – A farmer.

soddy – (soddie) – The white pioneer’s house on the prairie. Brick-like cuts from the turf and laid up the same way. It could be free standing or the completion of a dugout. Not much wood out there, so sod probably had to be used for the roofing as well… and it was going to leak… a lot.  {001}
(My mother was born in one, in western KS, c. 1905. – Doc)

soiled dove – (sometimes just “a dove”), a prostitute.

Soiled Dove Plea – A courtroom speech delivered in Woodward, OK (1899) by attorney Temple Lea Houston on behalf of Woodward’s Dew Drop Inn girl of the line, Minnie Stacey, being tried for prostitution. The judge had discovered she had neither money nor an attorney and was hopelessly guilty; Houston agreed to defend her and delivered  the Soiled Dove speech extemporaneously. Also known as the Plea for a Fallen Woman, it is considered by many trial attorneys to be the perfect closing argument. The all-male jury in the temporary courtroom setting in the Woodward Opera House acquitted the accused by unanimous verdict in ten minutes!  {001}
Wk. 33, 08/15/1895 – Temple Lea Houston
Dictionary – Soiled Dove Plea – text of the plea

Sonoran Desert – (Sp: Desierto de Sonora) A North American desert which covers large parts of the Southwestern U.S. in Arizona and California and of Northwestern Mexico in Sonora, Baja California, and Baja California Sur. The western portion of the U. S.–Mexico border passes through the desert. It covers an area of 100,000 sq mi (9260,000 km2). It is Mexico’s hottest desert. The dominant plant species on gravelly and occasional sandy soils in valley areas is Creosote bush (Larrea tridentata). Map: U.S. PD – Sonoran Desert by Cephus.  {001}
see also:
*Rain-shadow – above
Desert – above

Sooner – Sooner than (before) you! Those who jumped the gun an entered a land run area before the legal time.  {001}
Wk. 37, 09/16/1893

sowbelly – salt pork, hog belly fat.  {001}

sorrel – horse color: A reddish color perhaps with a slight golden overtone. Mane and tail are never dark.  {001}
The Originals – Resources & Hazards – Animals – Mammals – Horse Colors

Sougan – (Logging) A heavy woolen blanket.

Sp – Used in this dictionary to note a word in the Spanish language (Sp).  {001}

span – a side by side pair of animals in a working team (usually oxen).
The Originals Index – Transportation Photos

Spanish rig – A saddle with one cinch, directly below the saddlehorn.

spavin – A bony enlargement of the hock of a horse; immediately due to strain, but also associated with a hereditary disposition. {Webster}

spavined – Said of an animal with the above condition.  {001}
see also:
The Originals – Horses – Horse Breeds Strawberry Roan

Spaghetti Western Movies – aka: Italian Western or Macaroni Western (mostly in Japan). Founded and heavily influenced by the style and multiple box-office successes of Sergio Leone*, a new, broad subgenre** of Western films emerged in the mid-1960s. The term was used because most of these Westerns were produced and directed by Italians and usually produced in Italy. The archetype film is: A fistful of  Dollars (1964) which starred American actor Clint Eastwood. This film, its sequel, A Few Dollars More (1965) and a number of others are often considered to be among the best western movies ever made.  {001}
*Wk. 18, 04/30/1989 – Sergio Leone
see also:

**The Pretenders Index – Movies – Western Movie – Sub-genures

Spirit Guide – A Native American concept which believes in, usually an animal spirit, which walks through life with a person, teaching and guiding them, and in some instances protecting them.  {001}

splash dam – (Logging): A temporary dam built to collect winter snow melt for the purpose of adding water to the normal stream flow to help move logs (or ties) downstream to collection points, sawmills or pulp mills in the spring. Usually blasted out at the appropriate moment in the spring.

splatter dabs – (Cowboy lingo) hotcakes

spooky – Said of nervous animals; cattle likely to be stampeded, a high-strung horse.  {001}

spitoon - Dictionaryspittoon – aka: cuspidor. A receptacle for spitting into. Especially by users of chewing and dipping tobaccos. Common in barbershops, brothels, saloons and some other businesses, until the health dangers of spitting were recognized. Spitting was banned and in some places fines and jail terms backed up the laws. Spittoons had mostly disappeared from Western America by the mid 20th Century.  {001}
see also:
The Originals Index – Resources and Hazards – DiseaseTuberculosis

Sport – A man who patronizes a brothel.

Sporting House – A brothel.

Sporting Woman – Usually a prostitute. Not always.

springer – A cow or a heifer close to calving.

The Square Rig on ships - DictionarySquare Rig – (nautical) Here are the more common sail configurations of square rigged vessels. Illustration: U.S. PD? internet (Nova Scotia Museum).  {001}
see: also:
fore and aft rig
– above
Sailing Ships – above
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation PhotosThe Clippers

squaw – Another word such as Berdache * and the “N” word which have become too offensive for use in the modern world. It likely has roots in the Algonquian language and originally meant “woman.” However, it was co-opted by colonists and recontextualized as a derogatory slur used to dismiss and dehumanize Indigenous women who had been sexually assaulted. A coilition of Native American tribes has successfuly convinced the U.S. govrtnment to purge the word from numerous uses, often as part of place names throughout the country (2022). As with the “N” word, there is no concensus as to how or if, it should/could  be purged  from historical documents and books.  {001}
see also:
Berdache – above
Two Spirit – below
Thoughts on the Historical Use of the “N” Word

Squeeze chute – (livestock) aka: standing stock, stock. A strongly built stall or cage for holding cattle, horses, or other livestock safely (“stock still”) to minimize the risk of injury to both the animal and the operator while they are examined, marked, or given veterinary treatment. Ex. – Cows may be made to suckle calves in a stock. Certainly constructed of wood in the old days, modern ones are usually metal tubing. Photo: U.S. PD 2002, Scott Bauer, USDA, inspecting for ticks in a portable squeeze chute.  {001}

squatter – 1. Someone trying to hold or occupy land for which they have no legal claim. Could be unclaimed land (government?) or land already claimed by another. 2. Later, it came to mean occupying land whether or not, claimed by the occupant.  {001}

Stack the deck – 1. Cheating at cards (likely at poker) by surreptitiously arranging the cards in the dealers favor before the deal. (1825)  2. A little private planning/action; making sure that a desired end is reached whether in gunplay, a land deal or various other activities.  {001}

stag – (livestock) A term occasionally used for cattle or sheep, castrated after the secondary sex characteristics have developed to such a point as to give the appearance of sexual maturity.  {001}

stagers – Those who ran a stagecoach business.  {001}

staging – The business of carrying people and mail by stagecoach.  {001}

stake – 1. (Gambling, except Cards) the money or valuables that a player must hazard in order to buy into a gambling game or make a bet.  2. a. A vertical post to which an offender is bound for execution by burning.  {001}

stake a claim – To mark the location or limits of with stakes. To claim or reserve a share of (land, profit, etc.) as if by marking with stakes (literally for land). {001}

The Staked Plains – The Llano Estacado in several New Mexico and Texas counties. One of the most formidable travel obstacles in the old west.  {001}
The Originals Index – Landmarks and Registers Staked Plains

The Staked Plains Horror (1877)
PLAYERS – Timelines Index – Timelines M-Z Index – Staked Plains Horror Timeline

stampede – The mass bolting of (usually) bovines due to numerous causes (not always discernible). This includes all domestic cattle breeds and bison (buffalo). Old timers considered longhorns very prone to stampede, particularly when first set out on the trail. It was said that longhorns would run as a group, whereas other breeds would tend to scatter. You want to remember that longhorns are descended from feral cattle and likely retain a “herd is safety” perspective on things. Mostly before they had horses, the Indians stampeded buffalo into steep arroyos, dead ends and over cliffs, as a hunting technique. Stampeding someone Else’s stock is a good way to steal some or all; the Indians did it, rustlers and horse thieves did it… Whatever the cause, a stampede is an awe inspiring and deadly dangerous event.  {001}
Wk. 26, 06/27/1872 – Stampede!

stampede – Borrowing the word from the cowboys gave us: 1. Land Stampede. Gold Stampede, etc.* 2. to stampede someone into doing something, implies a certain circumventing of their reasoning ability.  {001}
*Wk. 37, 09/16/1893 – Cherokee Strip Land Run
*Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos – Gold Rushes

stampede strings – Lightweight latigos wrapped around the crown of a hat and poked through holes in the brim above the ears. They hang down long enough to tie under the chin. Might have a nice bead, or something like that, on ’em to pull up tight under the chin. The idea bein’ to keep the hat on your head, not flyin’ off out in the dust and wind somewhere behind you.  {001}

steer – (cattle) A castrated young calf, intended to be raised as a meat animal.  {001}


Steamboats (riverboats)
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation PhotosSteamboats

steam donkey - Dictionarysteam donkey – (logging, maritime, mining)  Portable power! These small steam engines served a multitude of uses. This one is a 12 x 14 Empire steam donkey on display in Canada.
FYI: The numbers tell us the piston stroke and cylinder size, a measure of engine power.


Steam Locomotive classification – (RR)

A New York 2-6-6 Locomotive

A Central Sucre
2-4-0 Locomotive

Steam locomotives are usually described by how many wheels they have in each of three sections. The most notable set of wheels are the drive wheels which are usually larger and are connected by the rods which power them. The other two sets of wheels are both smaller and lie ahead of (pilot wheels) and behind (trailing truck) the central drive wheels. Since there are usually three sets of wheels (could be 1, 2 or 4), a locomotive classification will normally have three numbers separated by dashes. If a locomotive has only drive wheels, the first and last numbers will still appear, but will both be zero. The UP “Big Boy’s” have two sets of drivers, giving 4-8-8-4.

St. Elmo’s Fire – aka: fox-fire. The eerie blue phosphorescence seen on horses ears, cattle horns, your glasses frames*, etc. during stormy/electric weather. Sometimes has an associated soft buzzing or popping sound. It is a weather phenomenon in which luminous plasma is created by a coronal discharge from a sharp or pointed object in a strong atmospheric electric field (such as thunderstorms or volcanic eruptions).  {001}
*(I’ve seen it on mine a number of times during afternoon storms in the Colorado high county. Time to get off your pony if you haven’t already. – Doc)

stock detectives – Men hired by cattlemen’s associations (stock associations) to hunt rustlers and horse thieves; often without any “legal” authority or intent to bring to trial. Very active in Montana and Wyoming starting in the mid-1870’s through the 1880’s and later.  {001}
Wk. 47, 11/20/1903 – Tom Horn

Stock horse – An agile, heavily muscled riding horses of any of several different breeds, suitable for working cattle. Usually called a “cow horse” or “cow pony” in the western United States. Not to be confused with the breed, Australian Stock Horse.  {001}
see also:
The Originals – Horses – Horse Breeds

stock inspector – (aka: brand inspector): Men employed by cattlemen’s associations to inspect brands, stock, ranges, etc. to help control theft. Certainly, the distinction between “detective” and “inspector” might be a tad blurry at times.  {001}
see also:
Brand – above
Brand Inspector – above

stogie – Seems strange, but in the beginning, the reference was to the thick soled shoes of the Conestoga wagon drivers during gold rush times. The nickname “stogie” came to include the shoes and the wagons.  The wagon drivers often smoked the cheap self-made cigars which had become popular around the town of Conestoga, near Lancaster, PA. The reference gradually came to include the foul smelling black cigars with both ends cut off. In time, the shoes and the wagons passed from use and memory, but “stogie” lived on as a generic reference to cigars.
Cigar lovers likey know that “stogie” is actually the American nickname for Cheroot, derived from Cheroute, a french word taken from the tamil language in Asia, meaning “roll of tobacco” such as those traditionally smoked in Burma and India. Just an untapered roll of tobaco with the ends cut clean across. Cheap to make and buy, thin, easy to light, no humidor required. Often tied with string in the times. Likely dry and harsh, a rough smoke!  {001}

Of course there were many brands of cigars, here is an ad for a  fun one. For those who don’t know what that big thing is… it’s a mortar. A kind of cannon which fires large, heavy shells in a high, narrow parabolic curve (lots of powder! BIG BOOM!!). Those large round balls are the shells, the hole is for the explosive charge in the shell (Civil War photo). – Doc

stope – (mining) A larger area excavated around or from a tunnel to exploit the ore body/gem bearing formation, etc. Often odd shapes or directions following a vein.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos

straddle-bug – (mining) – A mine claim or land claim marker made of three boards standing vertically together in a triangular form.  {001}

Straight – 1. (poker) A hand containing any sequential run of cards from different suits. (c. 1841) from the use of the term to mean “level” (c. 1640’s)  2. (slang) the straight part of a horse racing track to the finish line. (c. 1864) (next entry)

straightaway – The last straight, flat run (home stretch) in a horse race.  (c. 1839)  {001}

straight shooter (slang) – One who tells it like it is. Honest, sometimes brutaly so.  {001}

straight iron – A type of running iron used to draw a brand free-hand, rather than stamp on an animal.  {001}

strangler – An old name for vigilantes, likely from “The Stranglers” in Montana (c. 1884). A vigilante/terrorist group led by cattleman Granville Stuart. While, no doubt, supposedly to control rustlers & horse thieves, they also intended to clear out competitive smaller cattle outfits and ranchers, nestors and sheepmen*.
In 1884, Stuart’s group killed maybe 20 “rustlers”. Rumors and speculation fomented by Regional newspapers hostile to the cattlemen, claim they may have killed as many as 75 rustlers and squatters. There is  no historical evidence to support that charge. {001}
see also:
Wk. 40, 10/02/1918 – Granville Stuart
– above
* Sheep Wars
– above

strawberries – Beans. A term used by many in the West, Cowboys, Miners, pilgrims and others. Local variations include: Arizona strawberries, Arkansaw strawberries, Mexican strawberries, and prairie strawberries.  {001}

strawboss – An assistant foreman, under the foreman or walking boss, on a ranch, a railroad crew and some other working crew. He is a working member of the crew and the supervisor of the crew.  {001}

stray – An animal not where it belongs. Lost, wrong range, wrong ranch, something… Your neighbor’s cows mixed in with yours are strays, which need to be cut from your herd and returned. (see: cut)  {001}

Street Howitzer – A sawed off shotgun. (Wyatt Earp)

Stripping Rule – (mining): At start and end of each shift, underground workers were required to undress in one room of a change house and walk into another room in the nude while a guard observed. This was to  prevent high grading (Dic) by the mine workers.  The Independence Mine in the Cripple Creek Mining District (CO) was the first mine in to introduce the practice (09/1900). The miners were less than pleased and quickly reacted. Even the Pinkertons were involved before the various issues were finally settled by negotiation. {001}

Stud Poker – A form of poker wher the first card is dealt face-down and the others face up.  (c. 1864) Two forms were played in the Old West 5 card (most common) and 7 card.

Stuck at the hip. – Close friends

swings – The animals in the middle of a six-up (or more) hitch.  {001}

Suicide Boys – “Dying Dancing”, a ritual, which the Northern Cheyenne claimed originated with them. The participants would make a public vow that: “In the next battle, they would fight until they were killed.” Those taking the vow were often poor and probably had not previously distinguished themselves in combat. If they had firearms, they were likely borrowed or cast-offs. They might only be armed with bows and arrows and war clubs.
Usually a ceremony would be held the night before the battle and perhaps they would parade through the encampment or village the morning before the fight. For young men, with not much going for themselves, yet dreaming of honor and sacrifice, the event and the recognition, may well have been the most glorious time in their lives.  {001}
Wk. 25, 06/24/1876 – Suicide Boys
Wk. 26 06/25/1876 – Suicide Boys

suicide gun – A gun lacking one shot, man stopping power. Probably anything less than a .44 or .45 in handguns.  {001}

sump – (mining): That part of a vertical shaft below the lowest tunnel connecting to that shaft. Usually used for water management.  {001}
Photo Gallery – Mining Photos

Sun Dagger -On Fajada Butte in Chaco Canyon, NM, behind three stone slabs are two petroglyphs. A large spiral, 13.4″ by 16.1″ (34 cm by 41 cm) and a smaller spiral to the upper left. The indigenous people of today and most archaeoastronomers believe them to be evidence for intentional alignment with the annual motion of the Sun and possibly the Moon. Sunlight, penetrating through the gaps in the slabs interact with the spirals throughout the year and during the summer solstice, forms the brillant image of a dagger going directly through the middle of the large spiral. The Sun Dagger, had sacred significance to the ancestral Pueblo culture, inhabitants of the canyon until about 1150 AD, illustrating the role that astronomy played in the ancient Chacoan religion and society. It is thought that the people made regular pilgrimages to the site, but the rest of the symbiology of the sun and shadows is likely forever unknown… Photo: U.S. PD? internet.  {001}

Sundown Town – AKA: sunset towns, gray towns, or sundowner towns. A white dominated town (also counties and other jurisdictions) with a curfew directed at “colored people”: Indians, Blacks, Chinese, Mexicans and other “nonwhites.” Typically, those affected by the curfew had 30 minutes to “get out of town” after sundown. Those who failed to do so could be arrested, beaten or sometimes, murdered. The practice was gradually legislated away, ignored or forced “underground.” The last known town maintaining the practice publicly was/is Minden, NV (since 1917). State legislation and years of protests by local Indian Tribes has resulted in the “Sundown Siren” being sounded at noon and the objectionable practice being excused as a “salute” to First Responders. The siren, the obvious bigotry and the protests continue… (2022)  {001}
FYI: When I was a youngster in Kansas (c. 1940’s – 50’s), relatives (in Salina) informed me that the black town of Nicodemus had been a Sundown Town for whites. – Doc
The Originals Index – Black Communities in the Old WestNicodemus, KS

sunfisher – A bronc buster’s term for a horse whose movement consisted of twisting it’s body into a crescent, appearing to try to touch the ground with one shoulder, then the other, letting sunlight hit his belly. (sunfishin’)  {001}

Sun Lasso – (Indian slang) A camera.  {001}

Sun Watcher – “The Caretaker of the Sun” in the Pueblo Tribes. Likely the best astronomer and planting guide.  {001}

sutler – One who provided provisions and supplies to the army before the establishment of an effective quartermaster corps. Often with a store on the post.  {001}

Swamper – The #2 man on the 20 mule teams, he rode the brakes on the wagons.  {001}
Wk 35, 08/27/1931 – Borax” Smith

Sweat Lodge – (Native American) Usually a temporary structure built for the purpose. A ceremony, or purification ritual which often accompanies important events such as rite of passage ceremony, marriage or healing. Photo: U.S. PD pre-1923, sweat lodge.  {001

swindle – (American) To cheat out of money.  (c. 1826)

swine – domestic pigs.

swing a wide loop – Yes sir! So big it fell on someone else’s cows.  {001}
see also:
Quotes Index – Rules to Live ByRustlers

swing riders – The position behind the pointers and in front of the flankers on a domestic animal trail drive (usually cattle. They help control the width of the column.  {001}

swing team – aka: swings. Any one of the spans of animals between the wheelers and the leaders on a jerk-line team.  {001}
jerk line – above
swings – below

swings – The middle pair(s) in a six animal hitch (or more); between the leaders and the wheelers (nigh on the left, off on the right).  {001}


tail flume – aka: tail sluice. (mining) The waste water chute.  {001}

tailhead – aka: dock (mammals). The beginning of the tail, where the tail joins the rump. Also called the base or root of the tail, it corresponds to the human sacrococcygeal symphysis. In some mammals the tail may be said to consist of the tailbone (meaning the bony column, muscles, and skin) and the skirt (meaning the long hairs growing from the tailbone).

tailings – (mining): The waste material from a mine or a mill.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos

tailor mades – factory cigarettes

Take a chance/take chances – To do something with an uncertain outcome.  (c. 1815) from “participate in a lottery”

Take a cow to town – (Cowboy lingo) For one reason or another, this cow is headed for the sale barn.

Take a risk – Same as “Take a chance”  (c. 1826) May be older, see “Risky” above.

Takuskanskan –  (Sioux mythology) The spirit of motion. It is in anything that lives, it animates things and makes them come alive.  {001}

Taos Indios – Mexican name for Native Americans from the Taos Pueblo.  {019}

Taoseño – Mexicans from Don Fernando de Taos, Today the City of Taos, NM.  {019}

tar bucket – Any emigrant whose wagon actually made it to “Zion” or anywhere else, had one one hanging from the rear axle. So did the freight wagons, stage coaches and any other wagon which traveled any distance. It held, axle lubricant, grease for the wheels. Tar or maybe tree resin mixed with tallow. Gradually replaced with animal fat and other slippery things that could (hopefully) be found along the way as the original supply diminished. There could be a real problem if a wheel went dry at the same time as the tar bucket…   {001}
Wk.48, 11/30/1856 – Fifth Hand Cart Company

tarred and feathered – A type of mob vengeance or public humiliation; a unique demonstration, to an individual, of ethical/financial/moral/social /political/etc., disapproval; with consequences usually somewhat less than lynching.* Imported from Europe and used enthusiastically in the colonies; the practice came along with the great western migration and was practiced now and then, most everywhere…
The subject of the aforementioned disapproval, is collected by representatives of the offended (the citizenry, miners, taxpayers, vigilantes, etc.), taken to an appropriate location (private or public), stripped, then anointed with (obtaining a variable degree of coverage on the body), something sticky. This can range from the life threatening danger and pain of boiling hot tar, (the “tar” used was likely pine tar or pitch, neither one a petroleum product) to something as benign as molasses poured over the head. Then, the feathers are introduced. The victim might be forced to roll in a pile of feathers and/or straw, etc., but one way or another they get decorated up. At this point in time, they are usually advised to leave town/conform/stop doing that, etc., etc.  {001}
See also:
* Lynch – above
Ride out of Town on a Rail – above
Wk 17, 04/24/1832 – A midnight assault…
Quotes Index – Commentators QuotesMormons Joseph Smith
Wk. 45, 11/07/1917 – Wobblies

tard – (Tx) 1. Exhausted, worn out, needin’ rest. “Jim-Bob, I am too tard to do that!”  2. As in the above article, “That fella shore is tard up good!”  (sometimes includes feathers, etc.) 3. End of the line. “Willy-Jake I am tard of that song.”  4. What has been done to the barn roof to stop the leaks. “Johnnie-Ray shure done a good when he tard the barn roof! she won’t be leakin’ now.”  {001}

Tattoo – A body art form practiced by many Native Americans, perhaps for adornment, social identifaction, religious or medical purposes. Some southwest tribes: the Cahuilla, Kumeyaay, Piipaash, Xalychidom  and Yavapai give tattoos to women when they reach puberty and enter adulthood. The Cocopah, Mojave and Xalychidom Piipaash believe that tattoos grant the soul of the dead access to the ancestral realm.
Ancient Tattoo tool - DictionaryDiscovered in today’s southeastern Utah, the Prickly Pear needles shown here are tied to a handle of wooden skunkbush sumac (Rhus trilobata) with yucca leaf strips. Crafted by ancestral Pueblo people who lived during of the Basketmaker II* period, (approximately 500 B.C. to A.D. 500), they are 2,000 years old; the oldest tattoo-making tool known from western North America. Dating from between A.D. 1100 and 1280o, other cactus-spine tattoo tools have been found in Arizona and New Mexico. Photo: U.S. PD? by Bob Hubner/WSU – Fair Use.  {001}
– reference: online article, Journal of Archaeological Science Reports (Feb 2019) –

see also:
*The Originals Index – Native American Tribes – Native American Pre-History – Basketmaker II

Taxea – a secretion of the subcaudal glands of a badger. some classical medicinal use, similar to castoreum.  {001}
see also:
The Originals Index – Resources and Hazards – Animals Index – MammalsBadger
castoreum – above

Teat-fire cartridge – A single cartridge, in .32 cal (8.1 mm) by Daniel Moore, designed for a specific firearm to circumvent a Rollin White patent owned by Horace Smith and Daniel Wesson. Produced 1864 – 1870. There were some spin-offs.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Firearms – Ammunition, Then and Now Teatfire cartridge
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Firearms – Handguns Moore’s Single Action Belt Revolver


Tejanos – Cultural descendants of  the original Hispanic settlers from Tejas, Coahuila, and other northern Mexican states who settled in the state of Texas before it became a state in 1845. While Tejanos are part of the larger U. S. Chicano/Mexican-American/Hispano community, they are different from the population of Mexican Americans that arrived after the Mexican–American War and the later Mexican Revolution.  {001}
see also:
Californio, Hispanos, Mexican Americans – above

tenderfoot – 1. A newcomer; someone unfamiliar with the west. Also a: greenhorn or a pilgrim. 2. Originally thought to have been applied to imported eastern cattle whose feet were not up to the conditions and distances cattle were expected to travel in the West.  {001}

Tequila – A Mexican liquor distilled from the blue agave cactus. Traditionally produced in and around the city of Tequila in the highlands (Los Altos) of the central western Mexican state of Jalisco.  {001}
Agave (above)
The Originals Index, Entertainment in the Old West – Alcohol in the Old WestTequila

Terroir – (French) from terre, “land” – The set of all environmental factors that affect a crop’s phenotype, including unique environment contexts, farming practices and a crop’s specific growth habitat. Collectively, these contextual characteristics are said to have a character; terroir also refers to this character. Some artisanal crops for which terroir is studied include wine, coffee, tobacco, chocolate, chili peppers, hops, agave (for making tequila and mezcal), tomatoes, heritage wheat, maple syrup, tea, and cannabis.

Texan – 1: A resident of the state. (Thing is… you really need to be born in Texas to actually qualify and it would help, if you were from generations of Texans. Just sayin’… – Doc)
2: A seemingly simple, yet subtly complex, economical language in which a word’s meaning changes with context; thereby requiring requiring far fewer words overall. Surprisingly easy for non-speakers to understand (at times); yet it proves to be extremely difficult, for most, to master the required linguistic creativity, nuances of inflection and pronunciation of this strictly regional language, thought to be related to English, Spanish and various Indian dialects. Examples may be found here and there in this Dictionary. (noted as: (Tx) {001}
see also:
far, rainch – above
war – below

Absolutely Nothing sign- Dictionary

Texas outback


Texxas Longhorn - DictionaryTexas Longhorn – The cow of the great western cattle drives. Photo: U.S. PD, USDA.  {001}
The Originals Index – Cow? What Cow?

Texas Tea – oil

Texian – A name used for the settlers in Texas who pursued Texas Independence (1834-36).  {001}
PLAYERS – Timelines – Timelines M-Z – Texas Independence Timeline

The Hatchet, a newspaper published by the temperance vandal Carry A. Nation.  {001}
Wk. 23, 06/09/1911- Carrie Nation

The Smasher’s Mail – A biweekly newsletter published by the temperance vandal Carry A. Nation.  {001}
Cover: The Smashers Mail c. 1903
Wk. 23, 06/09/1911- Carrie Nation

Timberbeast – (Logging) A wild and unruly logger.

Tin pants – (Logging) The waterproof clothing worn by loggers in the wet and rainy Pacific Northwest.

Thirty and found – Cowboy wages, $30 a month and found (board and room).  {001}

Thoen Stone replica - DictionaryThoen Stone“Discovered by Louis and Ivan Thoen (1887). Photo: U.S. PD internet?  {001}
Lost Treasures in the Old West – HoaxesThoen Stone

Three Saddles – Maybe before as well, but certainly in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, a hired (professional) bronco buster was expected to saddle and ride the horse three times before drawing his pay.  {001}

 Three Sistersbeans, corn and squash. There is often a fourth sister, bee plant.  {001}
The Originals Index – Hazards and Resources – Plants – Food Plants

Throughbrace – A multi layered bull hide strap on a Concord coach that supported and carried the coach body.  {001}

Just for fun Pages – Monsters and Supernatural Beings of the Old West
Totem Pole – below

Tiah-pah Society – A Kiowa warrior society.
Koitsenko – above

tie-hack– A person who cut and fashioned railroad ties as a profession. All hand work, it would have been done with an axe, a broadaxe and possibly an adze. Probably needed a team (horses or mules) to snake logs/ties out of the woods and pull the wagon when delivering the ties. Heavy, hard work, more fun with help.  {001}

timberline – The imaginary line in mountainous county above which trees do not grow. Timberline moves up and down in altitude as one moves North or South along the high peaks with some slight variation due to local weather and terrain. In the U. S. Rocky Mountains, Timberline altitude in Colorado varies from 10, 600 ft. (3,200 m) to 11, 500 ft. (3,550 m) depending on the direction the slope faces. In the Wyoming Tetons, less than 1,000 miles further North, timberline averages about 9,800 ft. (3,000 m).  {001}

Timeline – As used in Old West Daily Reader; a list of all the entries listing a specific PLAYER in WEEKS, in date order.  {001}
see also:
FAQ’s – Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat are Timelines?
PLAYERS – Timelines Master Index

Tinhorn – 1. A contemptible person, especially one pretending to have money, influence, or ability. Ex: tinhorn lawman, tinhorn politicians, tinhorn gambler. In reference to gamblers, it is a derisive term, generally implying a cheat. No value but “flashy”. Earlier use referred to low-class gamblers who used a tin can can to shake dice. First use, c. 1857.  {001}

Tintype – see: Ferrotype

Tipi Painting Karl Bodmer c 1833 - DictionaryTipi – aka: lodge. The traveling tent of the plains Indian. Sewn buffalo hides stretched over tall poles in a conical configuration. An extremely well designed structure. Portable; the poles could be used to make the travois which carried it behind a horse while traveling. Sets up and takes down quickly for such a large tent. It is capable of various ventilation paths and an effective method to insulate in winter using the inner liner. A small fire in the center, provides cooking and warmth. The entire structure is the chimney, managed by the two smoke flaps at the top. Painting: U.S. PD c. 1833, Karl Bodmer  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Indian Photos – “Sioux Girl by Tipi” [1]
Photo Gallery Index – Indian Photos – “Villa of Brulé” [8]
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation PhotosTravois [1]

Tiswin – aka: teshuino  1. An alcoholic beverage brewed from Maize* (corn). Made by southwest Indians, the Apache, among others. A large quantity of shelled corn is soaked in a pot of water, then spread on a blanket until it sprouts.  Next, it is sun dried and ground on the metate. Water is heated in a pot on the fire and the corn meal stirred in. When the water is about half boiled away the pot is refilled, the liquid is then strained through cloth and allowed to cool. It is poured into a large pot where it stands until it sends up bubbles. Ready to drink when it stops bubbling. Some say, the lack of tiswin was one of the reasons Geronimo and others left the reservation in Oklahoma and attempted to return to the land of their ancestors.
2. The Papago Indians (Tohono O’odham), ferment the bright red fruit of the world’s largest cactus, the saguaro,** to make a sacred wine they call tiswin (sometimes nawai), which is used in a ceremony to celebrate the beginning of their summer growing season and summon the vital rains for their crops.  {001}
*The Originals Index – Resources and Hazards – Plants – Food PlantsMaize
**The Originals Index – Resources and Hazards – Plants – Food PlantsSaguaro Cactus
The Originals Index, Entertainment in the Old West – Alcohol in the Old West Tiswin

thirty and found – $30 a month, room and board. Workin’ wages for a cowboy in the old days.  {001}

throws a sticky loop – a rustler.  {001}
see also:
Quotes Index – Rules to Live ByRustlers

toady – 1. to engage in excessive self-deference and attention, to fawn upon someone with sycophancy, through motives of self-interest. 2. to be one…  {001}

Tobadzischini, Navajo mythical Hero/God,  who helped his brother Nayenezgani, slay the ancient monsters/evil Gods called the Anaye.  {001}
Just for Fun Pages –Monsters and Supernatural Beings in the Old WestSlaying the Anaye

Toe the Mark (Line) – Follow the rules, follow orders, do as told. One who does, “Toes the mark.”  {001}

tomahawk – (Algonquin origin) or usually just plain “Hawk”. A small axe which can be carried on a belt. It can help build a fire or serve as a weapon. Most can be accurately thrown by a practiced hand.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Edged Weapons, tomahawk photo

Tommyknockers in a Mine - Joseph Blight 1873 - DictionaryTommy Knockers – The Welsh and Cornish brought with their mining traditions, a mischievous spirit associated with mining. Little people who live underground.  {001}
Photo U.S. PD 1873 Joseph Blight; Tommyknockers in a mine.
see also:
Little People – above
Just for fun pages –Monsters and Supernatural Beings of the Old West – Tommy Knockers

tongue oil – 1. Any strong drink: whiskey, tequila, etc. 2. A words from a glib tongue…  {001}

Tonsil paint – (Cowboy ling) liquor

tonsorial parlor – A barbershop. Photo: U.S. PD, San Antonio, TX.  {001}
see also:
The Originals Index – Trade in the Old West – Commerce in the Old West1882 prices.

Too many irons in the fire – Said of someone with more going on in their life than they can manage.  {001}

top tools – (metalwork, blacksmithing)  Top tools have a shape corresponding or complementary to, a bottom tool*and are usually used with a hammer, to bend, form, shape or cut metal.  {001}
Hardy Tools – above

tornado – aka: cyclone, funnel cloud, twister, whirlwind. The signature windstorm of the west. Often visible in the form of a condensation funnel originating from the base of a cumulonimbus cloud, usually with a rotating cloud of debris and dust below. Appearing in numerous shapes and sizes with wind speeds less than 110 miles per hour (180 km/h). These storms will normally average about 250 feet (80 m) across, and travel perhaps a few miles (several kilometers) before dissipating. Extreme storms can be as much as two miles (3 km) in diameter and attain wind speeds in excess of 300 miles per hour (480 km/h). They sometimes stay on the ground for dozens of miles (over 100 km). The destruction is phenomenal. Photo: A tornado at Waynoka, OK 05/1898.  {001}
see also:
dust devil
– above
Haboob – above

Totem – An emblem displayed on a Totem Pole, such as an animal or plant, symbolizing a guardian spirit, which is believed to have spiritual significance and watches over the family, clan, or tribe

Totemism – Practiced by Northwest Indian tribes, centered around the belief of having a natural object or animate being, such as as a bird or animal, as the emblem of a family, clan, or tribe.

Totem Pole – A type of Northwest Coast art by First Nations and indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest. Monumental carvings, consisting of poles, posts or pillars, carved with symbols or figures. There are six basic types of totem poles: house frontal poles, interior house posts, mortuary poles, memorial poles, welcome poles, and the ridicule or shame pole.
Pole carvings may include animals, fish, plants, insects, and humans, or they may represent supernatural beings such as the Thunderbird. They occasionally depict  beings that can transform themselves into other forms, sometimes appearing as combinations of animals or part-animal/part-human forms. Some of these characters may appear as stylistic representations of objects in nature, while others are more realistically carved. Poles can symbolize the characters and events in mythology, or convey the experiences of recent ancestors and living people. They may embody a historical narrative of significance to the people carving and installing the pole. Often, their placement and importance lies in the observer’s knowledge and connection to the meanings of the figures and the culture in which they are embedded. Given the complexity and symbolic meanings of totem pole carvings, for most of us, they are veiled stories, embedded in exotic and beautiful cultural art. Usually carved from large western red cedar trees
(Thuja plicata) due to the wood’s durability in the prevailing climate.  Photo: U.S. PD internet, totem poles.  {001}

trace –  1. A trail. ex. buffalo trace, cattle trace, etc., The Natchez Trace (a formal trail name).  2. One of two harness straps (or leather covered chains) that attached an animal to a wagon or other vehicle.  {001}

traces – the heavy leather straps by which the animals pull a coach or a wagon.  {001}

Trade Blanket
Hudson’s Bay point blanket – above

American Trade Dollar - DictionaryTrade Dollar – Silver coins minted similar in weight and fineness to the Spanish dollar, which had set the standard for a de facto common currency for trade with China and the Orient. The U. S. coin, minted (July 1873 to April 1885) in Philadelphia, PA, Carson City, NV and San Francisco, CA, weighs 420 grains (27.2 g), about 8 grains (0.52 g) more than the domestic silver dollars of the time (Seated Liberty and Morgan). Last produced in 1878 with proof coin production until 1885. Intended only for export, they were also legal tender in the United States until 1876, at which time Congress revoked their status. Legal again in 1965. A complicated history and highly collectible today, look ’em up!  {001}

see also:
piece of eight – above

Trail Boss – The leader of a trail drive, the Captain.  {001}

Trail Drive – Of course the first thing we think of are the great Texas cattle drives* but there were plenty of horses and some mighty drives of burros to the mines in Utah and Colorado. And, believe it or not, the Texans drove both razorback hogs and turkeys!* We won’t be discussin’ herdin’ cats here.  {001}
* Details and photos not currently available. – Doc
Road Brand
– above
Photo Gallery Index – People and Places Photos Where did all those little dogies git along to?

Trapdoor Flintlock – 1873 Trapdoor Springfields modified to look like flintlocks for the movies.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Firearms Photos – Firearms OdditiesTrapdoor Flintlock

Trapper – One who traps various animals for different purposes:  Predator Management [livestock or crop protection]; Food; Fur; Human Safety. The economic value of the Fur Trade is hard to assess, it was very large in the early days and it was the genesis of a great deal of exploration, route and trail building. Many of the early western scouts were ex-trappers and hunters. The industry, world wide, is still alive today despite attacks by animal right activists.  {001}
see also:
Rendezvous – above
wolfer – below

traquero – a Mexican railroad worker (section gang).  {001}

traumatic spondylolisthesis –fracturing of the vertebrae; as in a hanging… (Goodfellow)

Traveling clergy
Curcuit Rider – above

treed – In western lingo it means, caught where you can’t escape. Like you might be up a saguaro cactus if a herd of feisty little  javelinas* show up when you are on foot.  {001}
cornered – above
*The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Animals Index Page – MammalsJavelina

Cook's Triangle - a dinner bell - Dictionary

Cook’s triangle

Triangle Dinner gong – The ranch or chuck wagon dinner bell. Blacksmith made to order. Photo: U.S. PD? internet.  {001}

trick – 1. An encounter with a prostitute, a customer. 2. To fool.  {001}

tumbleweed – According to Utah State University it’s actually a Russian invader; native to the Ural Mountain steppe. Sometimes known as Russian thistle. Seeds of several closely related tumbleweed plants in the genus Salsola first arrived in the United States in flaxseed shipments brought by Russian immigrants to South Dakota (early 1870’s). The tumbleweed is the structural part of the above-ground anatomy of the plant. It is a diaspore,* and once it is mature and dry, it detaches from its root or stem and rolls due to the force of the wind. The plants took to the high-and-dry environment of the Plains states and quickly spread across the West. Today, it is inextricably linked culturally with the American West.
Photo: U.S. PD? internet, tumbleweeds on a fence line.  {001}
* A diaspore is a plant dispersal unit consisting of a seed or spore plus any additional tissues that assist dispersal.
also noted in:
Resources and Hazards – Plants – Hazardous PlantsTumbleweed

tunnel – (mining) A more or less horizontal corridor excavated for a mine. It could open from the surface (an adit) or it might be completely underground and reached only by a shaft.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Mining PhotosSome Types of Mines – diagram

twine – Old cowboy term for his rope (lariat).

Two Spirit – 1. The term was used by indigenous people in North America to describe men and women who worked as and/or wore clothing of both men and women. Not all tribes/nations have rigid gender roles, but, among those that do, four genders are usually documented: feminine woman, masculine woman, feminine man, masculine man. Third and fourth gender roles traditionally embodied by two-spirit people include performing work and wearing clothing associated with both men and women.
2. aka: Two-Spirit or, occasionally, twospirited) is a modern (1990), pan-Indian, umbrella term used by some indigenous North Americans to describe certain people in their communities who fulfill a traditional third-gender (or other gender-variant) ceremonial role in their cultures.  The term was adopted by consensus at the third annual intertribal Native American/First Nations gay and lesbian conference to encourage the replacement of the outdated, and now seen as inappropriate, old French/anthropological term berdache.* While many mistakenly associate these terms with “LGBT Native”, the term and identity of two-spirit should only be contextualized within a Native American or First Nations framework and traditional cultural understanding; sexual orientation or gender identity is secondary to ethnic identity. {001}
FYI: This is a complex issue, varying with and within the tribes (some 500 + survive today). There is no completely “definitive” perspective. – Doc
*Berdache – above
squaw – above

Tx – Used in this dictionary to note a word in the “Texan” language  {001}
Texan – above

Tyee logger – (Chinook) (Logging) Tyee means chief, thereby, the headman of a logging operation.


uisce beatha(Gaelic) “water of life”

Underwater Panther
Just for fun Pages – Monsters and Supernatural Beings of the Old West

unhook – to unhitch a team.

Union Army – aka: Federal Army and Northern Army. Common names for the United States Army, the land force that fought to preserve the Union during the Civil War.  {001}

United States – The old west cowboy’s term for the Eastern states.  {001}

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples – Adopted by the United Nations General Assembly during its 61st session at UN Headquarters in New York City. Article 31 in particular emphasizes that Indigenous Peoples have the right to their cultural heritage, including ceremonial knowledge, as protected intellectual property. (09/13/2007)  {001}

Utah Lake Monster
The Originals Index – Resources and Hazards – Animals Index Page – Monsters and Supernatural Beings of the Old West


vaca – (Sp) a cow.

Varmint – Usually a critter* makin’ a problem; could be a mouse, a pack rat, a coyote or calf killin’ bear, some of ’em are two legged.  {001}
see also:
– above
References Dictionarycoyote

vaciero – (Mex-Sp) The head-man in a large sheep outfit. He would manage the pastores (sheepherders) and make sure they were supplied throughout the season.  {001}
sheepherder – above

Vaquero -(Mex-Sp.) aka: baquero, vacquero. A cowman, cowboy. Certainly in Mexico, but in California, Texas and the southwest as well.  {001}

vamoose – (Mex-Sp.) A term calling for a hasty departure. 1. Called out by the ones leaving… 2. From someone adamantly suggesting your immediate self-removal from the scene. (Likely corrupted from the Spanish; vamos, “we go”)  {001}

varmint – Usually a critter makin’ a problem; could be a mouse, a pack rat, a coyote or calf killin’ bear, some of ’em are two legged.  }001}
coyote – above

vaulting house  – A brothel.

VegaAlpha Lyrae, a prominet 1st magnitude, blue-white star in the constellation Lyra the Lyre. Twenty-five light years distant, the fifth-brightest star in the night sky, second-brightest in the northern celestial hemisphere after Arcturus. Together with Deneb and Altair a member of the Great Triangle and an important navigational reference.  {001}
Arcturus – above

vega – Sp. A large plain, an open valley, a large stretch of open grassland, low flat open country.  {001}.

vegas – Large logs used as ceiling joists, (roof support) in adobe construction.  {001}

Vieux Carré – (Fr) The original name of the French Quarter (New Orleans).  {001}

Vigilantes – aka: Vigilance Committee – A clandestine group formed to enforce their own version of the law. Perhaps because there was no formal “legal” law enforcement, it was weak or the they were incensed about a particular egregious act by an outlaw or tired of a rustler. You will find numerous vigilante actions cited in Old West Daily Reader.  {001}

Vision Quest –  A supernatural experience, sought through training, expectation, meditation, fasting, drugs or some combination of these and/or other methods, within which, an individual seeks to interact with a guardian spirit, often an anthropomorphized animal, to obtain protection, advice or wisdom. Practiced in some form by most Native American tribes. Usually only by the men. Certainly practiced yet today. (I have done several modern variants myself over the years. – Doc)   {001}
The Originals – Resources & Hazards – Plants – Hallucinogenic Plants

The Originals Index, Entertainment in the Old West – Alcohol in the Old Westvodka

volcano,  monogentic – A volcano which only erupts one time, could be a few days to a few decades. The southwest has perhaps 1500 extinct ones. They may be back.  {001}

voucher – An Indian scalp taken for the bounty.  {001}

vug – (mining) A room-like pocket of valuable ore; sometime just a small cavity in the rock.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos – – Some Types of Mines – diagram


waddie – (sometimes, cow-waddy) a cowboy

waddle – (old tyme – wattle) A flap of skin cut to hang on a cow, off the neck or jaw. They can be  seen better at distance and are visible when brands are obscured by mud/winter hair growth/etc.  {001}
see also:
bob-tail,brand, dewlap, ear marks & ear tags

Wagh! – An Indian and Mountain Man expression of anger, emphasis or surprise.  {001}

wagon train – A group of wagons traveling together for mutual support, protection, etc.

Walking Boss – (RR, lumbering and others…) Boss of the working bosses (straw bosses), usually the most experienced man on a job. He moves between the various work  sites, keeping an eye on the entire project, coordinating, solving problems, etc.  {001}

wallet – (greasy sack, sachel), tied on behind a saddle; a sack with both ends sewn shut and a hole or a slit in the middle for access. Used to stow things on each side. (poor man’s saddlebags. A “greasy sack outfit” has no chuck wagon and the cowboys have to carry everything on their own horses, often in a wallet.  {001}

Wampus Cat – A cryptid.
Just for Fun Pages – Monsters and Supernatural Beings of the Old WestWampus Cat

Wankan – An Arikara Indian word for an energy force believed to be spread throughout the universe. It is thought to be found in such places as sacred mountains and Vision Quest sites.  {001}
Vision Quest – above

Wanted Poster for Pearl Hart - DictionaryWanted Post for Seaborn Barnes - DictionaryWanted Poster – aka: dodger or flier. A printed notice, usually distributed by law enforcement (and The Pinkertons), seeking to find and capture/kill outlaws.  {001}

war – (Tx) war, wire, wore, where (as in: ‘War the hell are we?‘)  {001}

Warbag – A sack for one’s personal stuff.

War bonnet horse
Medicine Hat horse – above

warpaint – 1. An Indian might paint himself and/or his horse before a fight, with symbiology appropriate to his Medicine.  2. “Warpaint” might also have other symbolic/ceremonial/social purposes. 3. So, then, the white men called the grease and soot muck used by range riders to protect from cold and glare in the winter, “warpaint”.  {001}

war party – 1. A group of Indians under direction by a chief or perhaps self organized, to make a raid for some purpose. This could be for horses, women, revenge, booty, etc. 2. Therefore: anyone, white or Indian out looking for trouble.  {001}

warrior women
Indian Warrior Women – above

Wasichu – The Sioux name for white men. It means “fat-grabber”, someone who always tried to take the best of things, first.

wasp nests – (Cowboy lingo) light bread

waste a throw – to miss whatever you were trying to rope. The cowboys say, “If  you toss a rope five times and miss, the only thing left to do is lie.”  {001}

water – In lakes, rivers, streams, creeks and ditches…, you know, water… Well, here is what Mark Twain said about water in the West, “Whiskey’s for drinkin’, water’s for fightin’!” And we still do.  Nowadays, it’s going to happen everywhere.  {001}

water closet – an indoor toilet

waycar – On some railroads they were called waycars, never a caboose.  {001}
caboose – above

WCTU – Women’s Christen Temperance Union.
Women’s Christen Temperance Union – below

WEEKS – as used in Old West Daily Reader; The weeks of the year (0-52). Week 0 is used for “orphans” which have no entry in the regular weeks.  {001}
A list of the Days in the Weeks is available at the top of the Weeks fly-out.
see also:
FAQ’s – Frequently Asked QuestionsWhat are the Weeks?

well heeled – (1) plenty of money (2) heavily armed

The Wendigo - Dictionary

The Wendigo

Wendigo – A Cree Indian word meaning, “evil that devours”. Aka: Windigo or Witiko. It is a demonic, half-beast creature, said to be the recipient of a cannibalistic curse. Painting*: U.S. PD? internet. {001}
*The red eyes are always part of the legend, but I think the antlers in this painting are an addition by the modern artist. – Doc
see also:
Just for fun pages –Monsters and Supernatural Beings of the Old West Wendigo
Wk. 43,  10/24/1862 – The Tonkawa Massacre


Wendigo psychosis– Never to my knowledge in the old West, but there are sure enough stories elsewhere…  {001}

wergern – (Native American concept) A male-bodied person who lives as a woman, particularly as a medicine man. One who preferred the life and dress of a woman.  {001}
Berdache and Two Spirit – above

Western Federation of Miners button - 1893 logo - DictionaryWestern Federation of Miners (WFM)
Photo: U.S.PD? internet, button showing logo (1893).
Wk. 20, 05/15/1893 – Western Federation of Miners (WFM)

WWA logoWestern Writers of America, founded 1953, promotes literature, both fictional and non-fictional, pertaining to the American West. The more than six hundred current members include historians and other non-fiction writers as well as authors of western fiction and other genres. The current Excutive Director is Candy Moulton, the President is Chris Evans and the editor of the organization’s magazine, Roundup is Johnny D. Boggs. (updated 04/2022)  {001}
see also:
Wk. 8, 02/22/1962 – Johnny D. Boggs

Western Saddle measurementsFinished seat size is measured from the back of the swell, at the top of the gullet, back to the  stitching on the cantle binder (top center). Gullet width is measured from concho to concho across the gullet on the face of the pommel.  {001}

wether – (livestock) A castrated male goat or sheep.

wet stock – Animals brought in illegally across the Rio Grande River from Mexico.  {001}

Eighteenth Century Whale Oil Lamps - Dictionary

18th Century Whale Oil Lamps
Photo: U.S. PD? internet

Whale Oil – The premier lighting and lubrication substance of early America.
Lighting 1772 – 1840’s
Lubrication 1772 to 1900+.*  {001}
see also:
Coal Oil
– above
Lard Oil
– above
Camphine – above
Kerosene – above

*Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos –
A Whale of a Tale About Oil

whang strings – aka: whang leather. Any short string, as long as it was made of hide.  {001}

wheelers – First pair in front of the wheels on a wagon or stage team and therefore the animals turning the  wagon (nigh wheeler on the left, off wheeler on the right). The heavier the wagon, the larger and stronger the wheelers had to be.  {001}
Wk. 35, 08/27/1931 – Borax Smith

wheelgun – A revolver

wheel-lock – firearms
Photo Gallery Index –  Weapons Photos – Ammunition then and NowLocks

Wheelwright – A craftsman who specializes in making wagon and buggy wheels.  {001}

whip – (1) A generic name for a boss on some jobs. (2) A stagecoach driver.  {001}

whippletree – The horizontal bar at the front of a stage or wagon to which the singletrees are attached.  {001}

whiskey  (alt. – whisky)
The Originals Index, Entertainment in the Old West – Alcohol in the Old West whiskey

whistle berries – beans

 whistle punk – (logging crew), He sounded a whistle (usually on the Steam donkey) as a signal to the yarder operator controlling the movement of logs. He also had to act as a safety lookout. A good whistle punk had to be alert and think fast as others’ safety depended on him.  As radio equipment replaced steam whistles for communication the job vanished into the past (1960s – early 1970s).  {001}
see also:
steam donkey – above
yarder operator – above

Whitedamp – (mining) Carbon monoxide, an unbreathable gas, a by-product of combustion. It is among the dangers which face rescuers after a coal mine explosion.  (001}
Blackdamp – above

Whitesmith – (aka:, tinker, tinner & others) A person who makes and repairs things made of  tin, pewter and other softer metals. Although they might use a hearth to heat and help shape their raw materials, Tinsmiths do the majority of their work on cold metal (Unlike blacksmiths who work mostly with hot metal).  {001}

Whiting’s Dog Express – A dog-sled service which used trained canines to deliver mail and supplies to various mining camps in California, c. 1850’s.  {001}

Wickiup – A Native American habitation. The term had broad use, from temporary shelters of saplings and brush to more substantial permanent structures coverd in bark, brush, grasses, hides, mud or rush mats, etc. The word comes from the Sauk and Fox Indians. The whites sometimes used the word for their own dwellings as well.  {001}
see also:
wigwam – below

Widow Maker – (Logging) A dead limb above you on a tree.

Widow Maker – (Ranching) A wild, unruly, untamable horse.

wigwam – A more substantial structure constructed with a frame of poles, covered with bark, hides or rush mats. The word is derived from the Abnaki and Massachusset word “wikam”, meaning dwelling. Occasionally used inappropriately by the whites to describe a tipi.  {001}

Will & Finck – manufacturers of gambling accessories, etc.; San Francisco, CA  {001}

Wind Cave - SD - Dictionary

Wind Cave – SD

Wind Cave – South Dakota
The Originals Index – Landmarks and Registers  {001)

windies – The output from a fabulist.  {001}
windy – below

Windigo – see: Wendigo

windy – 1. A fabulist or someone who just plain talks too damn much.  2. A cow driven from the canyons during a round-up. Usually a savy and difficult critter.  {001}
fabulist – above

The Originals Index, Entertainment in the Old West – Alcohol in the Old Westwine

winze – (mining) A vertical shaft in the floor of a tunnel, it does not connect to any other part of the mine. One of the many dangers in old abandoned mines.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos – Some Types of Mines – diagram

wish book – A mail order catalog.

Witchcraft – “The influencing of events by super-natural techniques that are socially disapproved.” Clyde Kluckhohn (1944)

witches – (Navajo/Diné) – Navajo witches represent the antithesis of Navajo cultural values.   {001}
see also:
Just for fun pages – Monsters and Supernatural Beings of the Old West Witches

Witiko – see: Wendigo

Industrial Workers of the World – above

Wodziwob – A Paiute Indian, originator of the first Ghost Dance (1869). Reacting to the deprivations among the tribes, resulting from droughts, epidemics, and war brought by increasing white incursions into tribal territories; Wodziwob prophesied that the world would soon be destroyed. Then, renewed as a paradise, the game animals would be restored, the dead brought back to life and life would be eternal with no distinction between the races. The first Ghost Dance was held around 1869, spreading to tribes in California, Oregon, and Idaho. The people were instructed to dance in a circle at night in the fashion of the older Paiute Plateau Prophet Dance, said to be the precursor of the Ghost Dance movement. Predicting “a train from the East”,* (which did occur with the completion of the Transcontinental railroad in 1869) and the return of the dead (which did not occur…) The movement faded by 1872. Wodziwob had not been a medicine man until he demonstrated his powers by the creation of the dance. He practiced the healing arts as a Medicine Man for the rest of his life, passing in 1918.  {001}
see also:
Wk. 01, 01/01/1889 – Ghost Dance
*Wk. 19, 05/10/1869 – Promontory Summit

Woksape Wokikta – (Oglala Lakota)  1. Awakening to Wisdom  2. A small pamphlet published by Oglala Lakota College of graduate profiles (2022).

wolfer – A professional wolf hunter or a cowboy assigned the job.  {001}
Resources and Hazards –
Gray Wolf and Timber Wolf

WCTU logo - Week 47: November 19th thru 25thWomen’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU), An American organization, Founded  in Hillsboro, OH (12/23/1873 – Officially declared at a national convention in Cleveland, OH – 1874). The purpose was to create a “sober and pure world” by abstinence, purity, and evangelical Christianity. It grew out of the “Woman’s Crusade” of the winter of 1873/1874 along with numerous local temperance societies that sprang up in the early 1870s. Formed to create a “sober and pure world” by abstinence, purity, and evangelical Christianity, among other activities, the temperance women would occupy saloons, sing hymns, pray, and ask the barkeepers to stop selling liquor. The crusade against alcohol was in part a protest by women against their lack of civil rights. Women could not vote. In most states women could not have control of their property or custody of their children in cases of divorce. There were no legal protections for women and children, prosecutions for rape were rare, and the state-regulated “age of consent” was as low as seven. Most local political meetings were held in saloons from which women were excluded.
This translated into a devotion to social reform with a program that “linked the religious and the secular through concerted and far-reaching reform strategies based on applied Christianity.” The organization was also involved in a number of social reform issues, including: labor, prostitution, public health, sanitation, and international peace.
The WCTU was instrumental in organizing woman’s suffrage leadership and helping ever more women to become involved in the politics of the country. They offered a traditionally feminine/”appropriate” organization for women, as opposed to the suffragists and some temperance proponents who were viewed as radicals and had alienated most American women and likely, at the time, most of the men. Although linked to state and national headquarter, local chapters, known as “unions”, were largely autonomous. The World’s Woman’s Christian Temperance Union was founded in 1883 and became the international arm of the organization.
The movement’s growing power was most visible in the west as the campaign against alcohol prospered and suffrage became an everyday issue. There were certainly numerous local campaigns against prostitution. By the end of the 19th century, Americans were spending over a billion dollars on alcoholic beverages each year, compared with $900 million on meat and less than $200 million on public education. The temperance movement is still going today, with chapters in 72 countries. Photo, U.S. PD pre-1923 internet.  Logo: WCTU 1920 © WCTU, Scanned from 1920 WCTU temperance flyer – Wikipedia. Fair Use.  {003 & 001}
see also:
Wk. 47, 11/23/1873 – Women’s Christian Temperance Union.
Wk. 14, 04/04/1878 – Susanna Salter
Wk. 23, 06/09/1911- Carrie Nation

work cattle – To do any kind of work with cattle, round-up, branding, dipping, trailing, etc.  {001}

working ground -Where the cattle were “worked”, the physical location of the cattle during the round- up. The various brands would be separated into their own herds,  the calves and mavericks branded, etc.  {001}

women warriors

Indian Warrior Women – above

woods colt – 1. A horse that is the offspring of a chance meeting.  2. A bastard.  {001}

wort – The liquid extracted from the mashing process during the brewing of beer or making whisky. Wort contains the sugars that will be fermented by the brewing yeast to produce alcohol.  {001}

wo-ha – (aka: wo-haw) Said to be the call of teamsters driving oxen. The Indians made it their name for the, then, new to them, animal.  {001}

Cowboys wearing "woolies" - Dictionarywoolies – (1) sheep. (2) Chaps made from fleece (sheepskin), goat (Angora), or bear,. Photos: U.S. PD pre-1923, nice woolies!  {001}

wolfer – A professional wolf hunter or a cowboy assigned the job.
The Originals Index – Resources and Hazards  – Animals Index
Mammals Gray wolf and Timber wolf

wrangle – Herding, driving horses.

wrangler – The cowboy in charge of the horse herd (a relatively unskilled position). aka: remudero or horse rustler (Texas).  {001}

wrecking pan – The big dishpan the cook washed everything in. (ranch or chuckwagon).  {001}
Quotes Index – Rules to Live ByChuck Wagon Etiquette


X – Your mark, what you signed in front of witnesses, if you couldn’t write.  {001}

XIT –  Texas Ranch.
Wk. 46, 11/12/1912 – XIT Ranch
Quotes Index – Rules to Live ByXIT Rules

X’s on a hat’s sweatband – Tells you how much beaver fur is in the felt. A 4X hat ain’t worth much in money or durability. A 20X hat will set you back a good piece of your pay. 100X is pure beaver and most of us can’t afford one. More beaver makes finer, thinner felt and a lighter weight hat. It takes somewhere between 2 and six hours to make a hat.  {001}
Boss of the Plains – above


A yarder, used in logging. - Dictionaryyarder – (logging) A piece of logging equipment that uses a system of cables to pull or fly logs from the stump to a collection point (landing). It generally consists of an engine, drums, and spar, but has a range of configurations and variations. Note that this machine replaces the spar tree of older times. Photo: U.S. PD, a Clyde Skidder at the Marathon Logging Camp near Newton, MS (1921) This machine could pull logs from four points simultaneously (on 1000 ‘ cables) at up to ten miles an hour.
see also:
landing – above
spar tree – above

Yarder Operator – (logging crew) Usually called the “yarder” himself, he operated the yarder in response to the signals from the whistle punk.  {001}
see also:
– above
whistle punk
– below

Yellow Boy aka: yellow belly – Son of the Henry, the first Winchester rifle, the Model 1866 Winchester Lever Action Rifle [.44 Henry rimfire].  {001}
Wk. 50, 12/11/1880
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Long GunsWinchester Model 1866

yellow belly – a coward

Yellow Rose of Texas – 1. The song, of course, which most people have likely heard at one time or another. A love song perhaps…  2. The real Yellow Rose was Emily Morgan, a mullato slave from the Morgan Plantation, brought to the private tent of Mexican General Santa Anna, on the Bates farm , just before the the battle of San Jacinto. As the unexpected Texian battle line approached and the shooting started, Santa Anna fled into the bushes leaving the naked slave behind…  {001}
Wk 16, 04/21/1836 – Battle of San Jacinto

York, William Clark's slave - Dictionary


York – A slave owned by William Clark. He had been enslaved by Clark’s father and passed down through a will. He accompanied the expedition and was one of its most productive hunters. He made a great impression on the Indians as they had never before seen such a tall, dark skinned man. Some were quite awed by him and believed he had magical powers.
When they got home, York asked for his freedom but Clark denied him, saying he relied on him too much. A few years later, after asking numerous times, he was finally released.  Photo: U.S. PD, York – a statue in Louisville, KY.   {001}
Wk. 38, 09/23/1806 – Lewis and Clark Expedition

Yucca – A  useful cactus, fiber from the plant, soap from the roots.
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Plants – Functional PlantsYucca


zanga – (Sp.) A ditch, likely called a acequia if it was for irrigation water.  {001}

zanjero – (Sp.) A ditch digger.  {001}

zapateria – (Sp) A shoe shop.  {001}

Zapatistas – Common name for the Mexican revolutionary/political movement named for Emilano Zapata.  {001}
Wk. 15, 04/10/1919 – Emilano Zapata

Zebu cattle – Brought to the King Ranch in Texas in the 1800’s from South Carolina where they had been bred since 1849, these Asian-Indian cattle (Brahman) were to be tested as a breed and to be cross bred with various other ranch hybrids seeking hardier, “beefier” cattle with better resistance to Texas Fever.  None of the experiments produced cattle with a complete suite of the desired traits. Only in 2013 was it discovered that this bloodline was already in the Longhorn.  {001}
The Originals Index – Cow? What Cow?

Zion – A term used by the Mormons which can mean “a utopian association of the righteous” among other things.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation PhotosMormon Hand Carts

A.   B.   C.   D.   E.   F.   G.   H.   I.   J.   K.   L.   M.

N.   O.   P.   Q.   R.   S.   T.   U.   V.   W.   X.   Y.   Z.

OWDR-barbed-wire-divider2 - DictionaryEnd: Dictionary

{001} C 11/22 E 09/22: F 08/17; P 10/22

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