Cracker Cowboys of Kissimmee

Kissimmee, Florida has a rich and interesting history. It was the first town in the US with drinking establishments able to accommodate ranchers on horseback. Kissimmee was literally the end of the line for cowboys during Florida’s early cattle era, which began in the 1860’s. Ranchers would drive their cattle through the open ranges in the area and the sound of their cracking whips would fill the air. This inspired Frederic Remington to derogatorily refer to these men as “Cracker Cowboys” in an 1895 article he wrote for Harper’s New Monthly magazine.

And now you know where the term “Florida Cracker” — a description used for a true Florida Southerner who is not a transplant from another state — comes from. There aren’t too many of us left. And these days, most that are left are herding Walt Disney World and Universal Studios theme park tourists rather than cattle.

Nikon D300, ISO 200, f/13 at 1/60 sec., 85 mm

Nikon D300, ISO 200, f/13 at 1/60 sec., 85 mm

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