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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.

“They took along their runnin’ irons
and maybe a dog or two
and allowed they’d brand all the long eared dogies
that came within their view.

Now, many a long-eared dogie
that didn’t hush up by day,
had his long ears whittled and his old hide scorched
in a most artistic way.”

from “Tying Knots in the Devil’s Tail
an old cowboy song


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 – still alive (on top of the ground, on the right side of the grass).

Absaalooke Nation – The Crow Indian Nation.

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 - DictionaryAgave – 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 – Swearing.

agitate the cat guts – to play a fiddle

airtights – canned food

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

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

allow – (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

The 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

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

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

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)

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

artillery – usually means handguns.

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


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 - Dictionarybaculum – 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 – 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}

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}

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

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

A bark - Dictionarybark – (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 internet.  {001}

barrow – (livestock) A castrated male pig.

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.  {001}
see also:
baculum – above)

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

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

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. Doughnuts.  {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

We'wha - Zuni - Dictionary

We’wha – Zuni

Berdache – The Native American Berdache Tradition (aka: Two Spirit) 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.  {001}
see also:
*Wk. 24, 06/17/1876 – Finds Them and Kills Them
Two Spirit
– below

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

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

Bit off more than he can chew – 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.  {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

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.
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 – 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}

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 – 1. to arrive  2. to spend all your pay.  {001}

blow out – 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}

bluff – 1. Meaning to make an opponent think you have better hand than you actually have at cards. 2. 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.  {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 – 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 warTexan: barbed wire.
Wk. 47, 11/24/1874

Bone Orchard – A cemetery.
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.

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

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.
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 - 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. Photo: 2002 Leaflet, Display of local brands at the XIT Museum in Dalhart, Texas.  {001}
see also:
bob-tail – above
dewlap, ear marks, ear tags, waddle – below

Brand Artist – 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 cattlemen’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

broomie – 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

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

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

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

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 (cow). (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 – bourbon

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

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

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


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 – aka: cooney, coonie, cradle (sp. cuna), possum belly or bitch.  1. A rawhide slung beneath the wagon box which carried the buffalo chips, cow chips, kindling,  picket pins and other miscellaneous items.  2. A towed wagon.  {001}
rawhide – below

Caboose RGW 0586 - Dictionarycaboose – 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

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 – words to acknowledge defeat, ie: I surrender. (It was what I was taught from the git go. – Doc)

calf-wagon – (blattin’ cart) 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.  {001}
see also:
The Originals Index – Horses – Horse Colors
Fabrics of the Old West – 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

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}

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

carpet baggers – Northerners with a profit motive who came south after the Civil War.  {001}

Carte de Visite – A small photo print (2.125′ by 3.25′) mounted on a calling card (2.25′ by 4′). 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

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 $30 -$35 lb. (dry weight), perhaps a little more in 2019. 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

cat fight – A fight between women.

cat house – A whorehouse.

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}

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.

Changing Woman (Indian Mythology) – Planned by First Man and First Woman, she was born and found lying on Gobernador Knob by Talking God. She is the personification of the Earth and the natural order of the universe, who grows old and then young again with the seasons. A primary character of Navajo mythology and religion. She represents the power of the earth and of women to create and sustain life. Image: U.S. PD? internet – Changing Woman.  {001}

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 – 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).  {001}

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

chippie – a prostitute

chuck – food

Chuck wagon – The cooks wagon on a cattle drive. Said to have been invented by Charles Goodnight.  {001}

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

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

claim jumper – 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.

cleaned out – Where you are when you have lost your poke gambling.  {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}

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

Cowboy Hat
Boss of the Plains – above

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

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 both the Apache and 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 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}

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

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

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

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

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}

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

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
varmit – below

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

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

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.

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 – Mammalscow

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 – (mining and railroad) 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

croup (mammals)
rump – below

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

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

cusi – 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.

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

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

dead man’s hand – aces and eights, high card a queen (debated). The hand said to have been held by Wild Bill Hickok at the No. 10 in Deadwood.  {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 – 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

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}


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}
(see: more of Dirk’s fine collection at:
Photo Gallery Index- Weapons Photos – Dirk’s Derringers P. 1)

Newspaper Rock crop - Dictionarydesert varnish – a blackish manganese-iron deposit that gradually forms on exposed sandstone cliff faces in the American southwest; due to the action of rainfall and bacteria. Photo: U.S. PD, Jim, a crop – to create these petrogylphs, the dark desert varnish has been removed to show the lighter sandstone beneath.  {001}
Petrogylph 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.  {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}

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

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.

Dog 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 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}

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) – (1). A calf which has lost its mother; fair game for predators, either two or four legged. (2). Sometimes, a generic term for any cow.  {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 – (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).  A freight train.  {001}

draughts – checkers

dream catcher (Native American) – 1. Ojibwe legend says the dreamcatcher originates with Spider Woman (Asibikaashi). She took care of the people and in particular the children. As the Ojibwe 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 Ojibwe 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 Ojibwe 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 – (cattle): 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 fence – 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}

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

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 – to take a herd across waterless country; always a risk.

dry-gulch – To attack from ambush.

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?

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 – 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”

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

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}

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 peddlar
polecat – below

exalted – to be hung or lynched


Fabrics of the Old West -This is a short list of the fabrics, likely available in the trade:
Calico – cotton fabric with a small, all-over floral print
– bed, bath, table and kitchen textiles, clothing, wainscotting and other uses.
Canvas – cotton
Coir – ?
Denim – cotton
– extremely soft and fine cotton fabric with a very open plain weave.
Gauze – any very light fabric, generally with a plain weave.
Hemp – Cannabis sativa, grown for fiber, fabric and cordage
Jute – ?
Kapok – ?
Linen – an absorbent textile made from the fibers of the flax plant.
– 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 -?
Silk – imported from China as fabric and finished goods.
Sisal – Rope, etc.
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

fancy – A high dollar whore or a kept woman.

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}
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 (far piece); 2. the thing that burns stuff up (far); 3. alright, OK, fair (far ’nuff).

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}

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

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)

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

filly – 1. A young mare. 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}

Fireman – 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}.
Native American Church – below

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

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

flanker – (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 – A sleeping bag.

flea trap – 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

Flume outfall & pipe - Dictionaryflume – (civil, industry, mining, RR, etc.) A open structure, not a ditch or a canal, built (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}

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

fork a horse – to mount

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 currencys 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! All my Kansas and Oklahoma relatives had ’em and I sat in the dark in one a few times myself as a kid.  {001}

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

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-eared – see: long-eared

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

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

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)

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

Gandy Dancer – a railroad term.  A long handled shovel made 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}

gather – 1. The cattle which have been collected in a round-up. 2. The Round-Up itself.  {001}

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

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
1890 – see: Wk. 01, 01/01/1890 – 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

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.

gouge – To cheat or swindle someone.

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 –  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

greasy sack outfit – 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

greenhorn – see: tenderfoot.

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.

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}.

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

growler – 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.  {001}
The Originals Index, Entertainment in the Old West – Alcohol in the Old West

grubstake – It stared out to mean; finance a man to go prospecting but became generic; to support someone’s skills or endeavors expecting money, ownership or both from a success.

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

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 only carried 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

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

growler – 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 [usually late May].   {001}

growler – 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.  {001}

grub – food

grubstake – 1. mining – To supply the food and equipment for a prospecting expedition.  2. Later, it was used to describe supplying money or support for most any type of an endeavor.  {001}


Haboob – (an Arabic word: هَبوبhabūb “blasting/drafting”) Gust-front downdraft (downburst) dust cloud windstorms which occur worldwide. Common Haboob Ransom Canyon TX 2009 - Dictionaryin 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 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}

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 four “bones”, of two 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. 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!)

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.

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.

hen skin – A feather quilt.

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

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?

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 on near pure Spanish descent.  {001}
see also:
Grandee (above)

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 – A gambler that plays high bets.

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

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 analyse 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)

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.

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}

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

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

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,

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

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

Indian Territory see: Indian Country – above.

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}
Indian Woman Warriors – coming soon!

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}

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

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

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

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  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

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


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

Kleio – Roman muse.
– above

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 shamans 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}

Kiowa Black Leggings Warrior Society – A Kiowa warrior society.
Koitsenko below

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

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.

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.

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

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

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}

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.

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 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}



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

log drivers – (aka: river pigs) (Logging) 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 one)  {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. Photo: U.S. PD c. 1910 near Bellingham, WA, a postcard published by Sprouse & Son, Importers & Publishers, Tacoma, Washington.  {001}

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

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

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}

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

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}

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 shaman 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 (Shaman): 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 (Native American) – Part healer, part shaman, one who had real world and spiritual skills to aid the people. Think: counsular/doctor/priest/wise man and you still might not have quite all of it…  {001}

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

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

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 iron – rawhide

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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 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. The only true living “wild” horse in the world is Przewalski’s horse (Equus ferus) of the Mongolian steppe. 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

mutton puncher – A sheepherder.


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

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

nawai – see: Tiswin

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 – 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}

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

nighthawk – (1). a prostitute (2). The cowboy on night-watch with the herd.  {001}

Nitroglycerin – aka: 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.  {001}
Wk. 16, 04/16/1866 – Wells-Fargo Parrot Building

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}

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


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}

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

On a toot – gettin’ drunk…

on the dodge – 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}

outlaw – 1. a human criminal. 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.

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, Conestogas 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 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

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)

palamino – 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

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

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

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 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. Factory prepared small cans of pemmican were included in tinned U.S. lifeboat rations in World War II.  {001}

Penny-ante – A low stakes card game.

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 - DictionaryPetrogylph – 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

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: 2018 Silver has been just under $15 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”

piggin’ string – (also: hoggin’ rope or hoggin’ string) A short 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.  {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

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

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?

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.

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 face – A blank, non revealing expression, intended to convey no information about one’s hand to other players to other players.  {001}

Polecat – 1. A skunk, aka: essence peddlar, 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

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

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}

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)
The Originals Index – ExpeditionsEusebio Francisco Kino

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 outhouse (a toilet shed).  {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, girl of the line; hooker, Lady of the Evening, lost sister, nighthawk, Painted Lady, Prairie Nymph, Scarlet Lady, soiled dove, working girl.  {001}

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

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}

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


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


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

rainch – (Texan) 1. ranch   2. A tool to tighten bolts  3. hurt yore back  4. Dip dishes in water after washing.  {001}

raise – (mining) A vertical excavation in the roof of a tunnel, that does not connect anywhere else  {001}

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

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

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}

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}

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 – 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. 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}

rico – SP. To be rich, a rich man.  {001}

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}

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 NowRimfire Cartridges
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Handguns
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Long Guns

ribbons – reins

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}

river pig – see: log driver.

Road Agent – A outlaw who robbed stagecoaches.

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’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 Index – Wild Bunch (not there yet!)
PLAYERS – Timelines – Timelines M-Z – Wild Bunch Timeline

Rocker Box (mining)
Cradle – 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 – 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

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


Saddle pockets – pommel bags, cantle bags, cantinas – small saddle bags carried on the front of the saddle. – [001}

Saguaro Cactus
The Originals Index – Resources and Hazards – Plants – Food PlantsSaguaro Cactus

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)

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 – 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.

scrub – A term for a cow or a horse, considered to be of such poor quality as to not be worth breeding.  {001}

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

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

Shamanism –  This Native American perspective encompasses a range of beliefs and practices regarding communication with the spiritual world in which a religious leader, such as a Shaman, enters supernatural realms or dimensions to obtain solutions to problems including sickness.  {001}
see also:
The Originals – Resources & Hazards – Plants – Hallucinogenic Plants

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

shindig _ A mighty affair; dance, party, etc.

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.

shotgun – aka: scattergun, greener. A shoulder fired long gun which fires slugs or pellets (shot) 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.  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

shotgun chaps – 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 thing, 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. 2. In human relations: A confrontation, a duel, a shootout, a forced outcome.  {001}

shuck – A cigarette done up in a cornshuck. 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

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”.

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.

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

skunk – 1. A stinker, somebody who did a nasty thing to someone. 2. A critter, a polecat…*  {001}
*The Originals- Resources & Hazards – Animals – MammalsSkunk

Sky Pilot – a preacher

Slap leather – Draw a gun.

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:
Comancheros – above

sleeper – (mining) A drill hole, loaded with explosives, which has failed to explode with the other charges around it. A very dangerous situation!  {001}

slick – An unbranded cow or horse.

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

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

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)

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

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

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

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

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.

spooky – Said of nervous animals; cattle likely to be stampeded, a high-strung horse.  {001}

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.

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}

Stacking the deck – 1. Cheating at cards (likely at poker) by surreptitiously arranging the cards in the dealers favor before the deal. 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}

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

steer – (cattle) A castrated young calf, intended to be raised as a meat animal.  {001}

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 at most three sets of wheels, a locomotive classification will 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.

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 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 – Carried by traders in Conestoga Wagons, this foul smelling back cigar gave the us the generic term we still use today.  {001}

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}

straightaway – The last straight, flat run (home stretch) in a horse race.  {001}

straight iron – A type of running iron used to draw a brand free-hand, rather than stamp on an animal.  {001}

strangler – A 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.  {001}

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 – The foreman or assistant foreman on a ranch, a railroad crew and some other working crews.  {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}

Stuck at the hip. – Close friends

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 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

Sweat Lodge –  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

swine – domestic pigs.

swing a wide loop – Yessir, 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 trail drive. 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

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

Huck Finn Travelling by Rail - Dictionarytarred and feathered – 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), 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 somehow they get feathered up. At this point in time, they are usually advised to leave town/conform/stop doing that, etc., etc.
The tarred and feathered unfortunates (The King and The Duke) in the drawing, from Huckleberry Finn (1884), are also getting to “Ride out of Town on a Rail“. Often a companion technique, to practices such as being tarred and feathered, 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}
See also:
Ride out of Town on a Railbelow
Wk. 12, 03/24/1832 – a midnight assault)
Quotes Index – Commentators QuotesHistoryJoseph Smith
Wk. 45, 11/07/1917 – Wobblies

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

teepee – see: Tipi

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” – It is 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 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.  {001}
far, rainch – above
war – below

Texxas Longhorn - DictionaryTexas Longhorn – The cow of the great western cattle drives. Photo: U.S. PD, USDA.  {001}
The Originals Index – Cow? What Cow?

Texian – A name used for the settlers in Texas who pursued Texas Independence (1834-36).  {001}
PLAYERS – Timelines – Timelines M-Z – Texas Independence Timeline

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}

The Three Sistersbeans, corn and squash.  {001}
The Originals Index – Hazards and Resources – Plants – Food Plants

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 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 – A derisive term for a gambler, generally implying a cheat.  {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}

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

tongue oil – 1. Any strong drink: whiskey, tequila, etc. 2. A words from a glib tongue…  {001}

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

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:
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}

twister – 1. A tornado, cyclone or a dust devil. 2. A twitch – Used on unmanageable horses, consisting of a cord which is wrapped around the animals lower lip and then twisted with a stick. Nasty, but it works. 3. A nail or a tack set in a bull-punchers pole, used to catch the hair an a Bull’s tail and twist it up tight to manage the animal. Again, nasty, but it works. In extreme cases the animals tail can be broken. 4. An old time name for a bronc buster. 5. A liar (old time usage)  6. A doughnut.  {001}

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, 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

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}

Trade Blanket
Hudson’s Bay point blanket – 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 discussing herding cats here.  {001}
* Details and photos not currently available. – Doc
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 and crop protection, food, fur, human safety.
wolfer – below

traquero – a Mexican railroad worker (section gang).  {001}

traumatic spondylolisthesis –fracturing of the vertebrae; as in a hanging… (Goodfellow)

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

trick – 1. An encounter with a prostitute. 2. To fool.  {001}

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


uisce beatha(Gaelic) “water of life”

unhook – to unhitch a team.

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.

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 – (Sp.) A cowman, cowboy. Certainly in Mexico, but in California, Texas and the southwest as well.  {001}

vamoose – 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.

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}

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

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.

Walkin’ Boss – (RR, lumbering and others…) Boss of the working 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 in the middle 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.  {001}

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 – A printed notice, usually distributed by law enforcement (and The Pinkertons), seeking to find and capture/kill outlaws. (aka: dodger or flier)  {001}



war – (Texan) 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 symbology 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.

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}

wether – (livestock) A castrated male goat or sheep.

wet stock – Animals brought in illegally across the Rio Grande River from Mexico.  {001}

wheelers – First pair in front of the wheels on a wagon 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}

whiskey  (alt. – whisky)
The Originals Index, Entertainment in the Old West – Alcohol in the Old West whiskey

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}

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

Will & Finck – manufacturers of gambling accessories, etc.; San Francisco, CA  {001}

Windigo – see: Wendigo

windy – A fabulist or someone who just plain talks too damn much.  {001}

windies – The output from the above.  {001}

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.

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 shaman 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, 01/01/1890 – Ghost Dance
*Wk. 19, 05/10/1869 – Promontory Summit

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. 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

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, new to them, animal.  {001}

woolies – (1) sheep. (2) Chaps made from fleece (sheepskin) [or bear]. Photo: 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}


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


Yellow Boy – 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

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}

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 12/18; E 10/18: F 08/17; P 08/17

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