Friday, September 30, 2016

Kentucky State Fair, September 1916

Kentucky State Fair, copyright date of September 30, 1916.

Ruins of the Chateu of Contalmaison, October 30, 1916.

LOC Title:  Photograph shows ruins of the chateau at Contalmaison, 30 October 1916. It was captured by the 23rd Division on 10th July 1916 during the Battle of the Somme during World War I. (Source: Flickr Commons project, 2015)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Lex Anteinternet: Sign of the times? Casper Petroleum Club to close...

We ran this news recently:
Lex Anteinternet: Sign of the times? Casper Petroleum Club to close...: Founded in 1949 with the purpose to “aid the industrial and productive interests of the State of Wyoming" the Casper Petroleum Club, a...
At that time the Club was going to try to stay open until December, but readers of the Tribune learned today that Saturday is going to be its last day.  It just doesn't have the resources to carry on.

The Club president, amongst other causes, noted the decline in private clubs nationwide, which no doubt has played a role.  Once a club just for oilmen and then businessmen, it long ago opened to all for membership, but its membership was declining.  Having weathered prior oilfield recessions, a declining base just wasn't sufficient this time.

The Punitive Expedition: Addtional Wyoming National Guard units leave for the border, maybe. September 28, 1916.

 New York (not Wyoming) Guardsmen entraining, June 1916.  Similar scenes, however, would have taken place near Cheyenne.  These troops, by the way, have a real mix of gear, as photos of Wyoming's troops do as well, as more modern canteens hadn't caught up with them yet and they were still using bedrolls, frontier campaign style, rather than backpacks.  In terms of the scene, we see Guardsmen caught in the moment between the style of Frontier campaigning and modern warfar.

When I originally posted this item it read:
Two additional battalions of the Wyoming National Guard depart for the Mexican border.

These units had been under orders since June.
This might be right, but frankly what I think is may be the case is that the historians who suggest this have the departure dates confused.  But maybe not.

It's possible that the entraining took place on the 27th and 28th, but it seems possible that it took place all late in the night of  the 27th.  Still, the "two additional" battalions items does raise some questions and its not impossible that the Guard entrained over two days.

Raising more questions, 642 Wyoming National Guardsmen were mobilized in the Punitive Expedition.   The first newspaper reports on their departure only indicated that a little under 150 left on the night of the 27th. Assuming that's correct, the bulk of the men were still encamped near Cheyenne.  And if that's right, and it may well be, that means that is perfectly possible that more left over the next two days on additional trains, or at least that more left on a separate train on the 28th.

If you know, let us know.

The Wyoming Tribune for September 28, 1916: Guard leaves on 26 trailroad cars, revolt in Greece, and we're a sick soft nation in 1916, apparently

The always more dramatic Wyoming Tribune noted that the Guard was "finally" off for the Mexican border, but its the other headlines that really drew attention.

I'd hardly regard the US of 1916 as sick, soft and fat, but apparently somebody did.

Cheyenne State Leader for September 28, 1916: The troops have left

In today's edition of the Cheyenne State Leader we learn that the Wyoming Guard departed the prior night, after an apparently long day of delays.

The bottom entry, I'd note, reminds us to be careful out there.

Mid Week At Work: Auto body repair

This week I'm taking a bit of a different approach to this reoccurring topic to note that I really wish I knew how to do this.

I've been spending a lot of time recently in an auto body shop, given that I've had an entire series of automobile incidents recently.  Indeed, I didn't even bother to post about the last couple of things that have gone mechanically wrong, I'm getting so used to it.

The whole experience has been aggravating, but not because of the shop, but rather because I've had up to three automobiles in shops of one kind or another at the same time.  We have what I've always regarded as a surplus of vehicles.  Four a household that had four drivers (now three, that my son is in college and not in the household) we have up to six vehicles, which just seems excessive.  Well, right now, with one of those vehicles gone with my son, and three in the shop, I"m down to two. And of those two, one is a really heavy truck that, while I'm using it around town and for short trips into the country, I can't really use it in my day job if I have to go anywhere.  It's been quite an experience.

But my experience with the automobile repair places hasn't been bad in any way.

Indeed, what it has done has sort of revived a long wish of mine that I knew how to do auto body work and really good mechanical work.

Yes, I know that's odd.

It's not that I'm going to take up a late career move from law to auto body repair.  I just admire their work.  And that of mechanics as well.  And having a lot of old wheeled stuff, I really wish I knew how to do it.

Indeed, I looked at the Casper College course catalog and saw that the offer courses in this. But, of course, their courses are designed for the young who are educating themselves for their careers.  So the cases last for hours, and are mostly during the day.

Even at that, if I were retired, I'd seriously think about taking them.  By the time I retired, I'll be too darned old to do that.  But it's something I can admire anyhow.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Check your facts, Chuck

A quote from candidate Chuck Gray:
We need to get serious about having the federal government fulfill its promise to return its federal land (which is around 50% of the state) back to the state of Wyoming, which is stated in Wyoming's Constitution and was acknowledged at the time of Wyoming's admission to the Union. When we cleared title to this land, it was acknowledged by both parties that the United States government would be a trustee which would then be disposed of in a reasonable time period. Judicial options need to be considered, as well as working with Congress--for example, Hawaii was able to convince the federal government to sell most of its lands in Hawaii. These lands should be managed effectively to help our people, rather than sitting there rotting.
Actually the polar opposite is the truth. Wyoming forever disclaimed any claim to the public domain and the Federal government never promised them to the state.

Check your facts Chuck.

Sitting there rotting?

No, providing public access, rather than being sold off to out of state interests.

Boo hiss.

Meanwhile in the Villista camp. . .

Pancho Villa attacked and apparently defeated a couple of Constitutionalist garrisons.  Or so reported the Chicago newspaper, which I now know thanks to Reddit's 100 Years Ago Today subreddit.

Villa was getting quite active again.

Page Updates; 2016

 January 5, 2016:

They Were Lawyers:  Nicholas "The Chieftain" Moran.

January 8, 2016:

They Were Lawyers:  Michael Punke

January 9, 2016:

Movies In History:  The List:   This is a January 9, 2016 addition that only lists the movies we've posted and reviewed in this series of posts here on the main page.  As additional movies are added, the page will be updated, but the updates won't be posted on this or subsequent update threads, as that new page only lists threads that appear here, on the main page.

They Were Clerics:   Delores Hart, Noella Marcellino.

January 12, 2016:

They Were Clerics:  Barbara Nicolosi. 

They Were Soldiers:  Sam Elliot.

January 30, 2016:

They Were Hunters or Fishermen:  Craig Strickland, Kenny Sailors, Ariel Tweto, Alfred, Von Stauffenberg, Alexander Von Stauffenberg, Berthold Von Stauffenberg, Claus Von Stauffenberg.

They Were Farmers:  Kenny Sailors.

They Were Soldiers:  Alec Guinness.

February 4, 2016

They Were Soldiers:  Kenny Sailors

They Were Clerics:   Monique Pressley

February 16, 2016

They Were Farmers:  Thomas Jefferson, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Ulysses S. Grant, Lyndon B. Johnson, Jimmy Carter.

They Were Hunters or Fishermen:  Antonin Scalia, Elena Kagan

March 24, 2016

They Were Hunters or Fishermen:   Lev Davidovich Bronstein (Trotsky), Alfred the Great

March 25, 2016

They Were Hunters or Fishermen:   Chuck Woolery

They Were Soldiers:  Chuck Woolery

They Were Clerics:  Antonio Vivaldi

March 29, 2016

The Were Lawyers:  Patrick Pearse

They Were Soldiers:  James Connolly

April 2, 2016

The Poster Gallery:  Posters of World War One:

May 3, 2016

They Were Soldiers:  James and Walter McIlhenny. 

August 17, 2016

They Were Clerics:  John McLaughlin. 

August 18, 2016 

They Were Solders:  Steve Bannon

September 1, 2016:   

They Were Solders:  Gene Wilder 

September 15, 2016

They Were Lawyers:  Basil W. Duke

 They Were Solders:   Hugh O'Brian

September 27, 2016:

They Were SolderArnold Palmer

Today In Wyoming's History: September 27. Disasters and ships.

From Today In Wyoming's History: September 27:
1923  Thirty railroad passengers were killed when a CB&Q train wrecked at the Cole Creek Bridge, which had been washed out due to a flood, in Natrona County.  Attribution:  Wyoming State Historical Society.

1944 USS Natrona, a Haskell class attack transport, launched.
There's something in the county memorializing the latter (the ship's wheel, in the old courthouse), but not the former.

Such an awful disaster, you'd think there might be.

Tracking the Presidential Election, 2016 Part X. The final stretch

The Republican Party has officially nominated Donald Trump. The Democratic Party has officially nominated Hillary Clinton.  Both parties have, therefore, managed to nominate the two least liked Presidential candidates in over a century, and perhaps of all time.  The choices are so unattractive that the two most significant third parties, the Libertarians and the Greens are actually attracting serious attention with their candidates, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein.  The new American Solidarity Party, a Christian Democratic party that is socially conservative but otherwise somewhat liberal in other respects is actually getting commentary in some quarters.  Their candidates are Mike Maturen and Juan Muñoz.  Any third party candidate is unlikely to win, but frankly the third parties are much more likely to get a serious looking at this year than at any time since the early 20th Century, at which time a variety of progressive parties and special campaign parties received serious attention.  Those parties failed t win also, but they did get some serious attention.

How the country fell into this sorry situation has been widely speculated on for months, but basically it came about because the two major parties utterly ignored their base. At least the Democrats still are, but they also have, so far, much stronger party organization that has allowed it to suppress insurgencies, although at the cost, it would appear, of the position of their national committeeman.  Republican insurgents succeeded in toppling their establishment, but probably at the cost of the election and at a time which effectively will secure a "progressive" triumph that stands to permanently impact the country until such time as most of it unravels under its own weight, which is likely to occur at some point.  Chances are high, however, that a positive benefit of that will be that Congress will rediscover that it, not the Presidency, is the governing body, and indeed it already seems to be doing so.

And so we roll on to the General election.

Commentary followup, August 1, 2016

At some point it has gotten difficult to watch this election season and not conclude that you just don't want to. The entire thing has become unbelievably surreal.

This past week the news has been full of articles about the DNC and its emails back and forth within it. They are a little shocking.  It's pretty clear that the DNC was working against Sanders, but that's not any real surprise.  It shouldn't have been, but it was.  It really shouldn't have been commenting on making use of Sanders religious dedication, or lack of it, as a point in the election and the person who referred to its Hispanic outreach efforts as "taco bowl outreach" really needs a dope slap.

As part of this, we now have the question of how the Russians got into the DNC email system.  What is up with that?

All of this should be a gift to Trump, but by the weeks end Trump's comments about the Russians maybe finding missing Clinton emails and then going on to continually comment about Khizr Khan's comments at the Democratic convention are just stunning.  What, on earth, is he thinking?

It is often said that countries get the politicians they deserve, and I suppose in some ways we do deserve this. But this entire election has now reached the point where to a lot of people it seems really out of hand.  The two major party players are highly unpopular and for good reason.  Lots of people are extremely uncomfortable with both candidates.

I've noted it before, but if ever there was an American election in modern times that cried out for third party candidates, this is it.  Right now it does not look like the major third party candidates will be able to participate in the debates, which is a real shame, as we have to wonder what the impact of that would be.  Normally we think that they would simply scrub off votes from either party, and maybe tip the balance that way in a close election, but frankly if they received more press this time around, they may do more than that. At least Johnson form the Libertarian Party might do fairly well, and its now clear that Stein from the Green Party would pick up an appreciable number of Sanders voters.  I don't think Stein can ever be imagined as a potential victor, but it's not impossible that Johnson could be.

That doesn't amount to an endorsement of Johnson.  Indeed, I'm not keen on the Libertarian Party.  But perhaps the two main parties are so out to sea this year that third parties ought to step in.  In a year in which Republican voters were willing to give a chance to such an unlikely candidate as Trump, and Democrats nearly did the same with Sanders, perhaps voices that aren't getting heard ought to be.  That might stand to make this election historic in a positive way.

Indeed, this particular year the rare "what if" clause of the 12th Amendment might come into play, and we might almost hope that it does.  In relevant part, that provisions states:

The person having the greatest Number of votes for President, shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if no person have such majority, then from the persons having the highest numbers not exceeding three on the list of those voted for as President, the House of Representatives shall choose immediately, by ballot, the President. But in choosing the President, the votes shall be taken by states, the representation from each state having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two-thirds of the states, and a majority of all the states shall be necessary to a choice. And if the House of Representatives shall not choose a President whenever the right of choice shall devolve upon them, before the fourth day of March next following, then the Vice-President shall act as President, as in the case of the death or other constitutional disability of the President.

The person having the greatest number of votes as Vice-President, shall be the Vice-President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed, and if no person have a majority, then from the two highest numbers on the list, the Senate shall choose the Vice-President; a quorum for the purpose shall consist of two-thirds of the whole number of Senators, and a majority of the whole number shall be necessary to a choice. But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States.
That's right, we might have a situation in which neither Trump  nor Clinton take over 50% of the vote.  And if that occurs, it's up to the House to choose from amongst the top three.  I'm not entirely certain the House would go for Clinton or Trump in that situation.

And if they simply can't agree on what to do, then Joe Biden becomes the President.  It'd be bizarre, but it could occur.  Then the Senate would have to pick the Vice President from amongst the VP candidates.

Given the make up of the House, this would favor the Republicans, but it might also be the case that they'd be so disaffected that they wouldn't want to do, or live with, the obvious.  Not likely, but actually possible.

Commentary followup, August 3, 2016

How Joe Biden can become President in the 2016 Election. A wild, but hypothetically possible, scenario.

You never know. . . .

On other matters, President Obama came out swinging at Donald Trump a couple of days ago and stated he was unfit for office. This came in the wake of ongoing controversy about Trump's comments  about Khizr Khan's statements at the Democratic Convention.  This is causing a lot of GOP figures to back away from Trump, while saying little, except in some exceptions, as Trump's comments are so insulting of the sacrifice made by Cpt. Khan, who died in action.  It's getting a lot of Press and President Obama called upon the leaders of the GOP to disavow Trump, which would be a dramatic, if nearly impossible, thing for them to do at this stage of the race.

On this in general, yesterday the New York Times ran an article on this and a really insightful comment was made by one of the readers about no matter what a person's view was, after the election, or maybe even now, it was paramount to make an effort to understand why so many have been attracted to Trump not matter what he's said.  Of course, the Time readership being what it is, the average Time commenter came back full of snark with their typical "I'm smart, everyone else is dumb" reply, but that commenter has a really good point.  Trump has said some things that are flat out shocking and in a normal year would have been the death of his campaign.  But this year has been totally different which means something hugely significant is going on.  That's why the GOP establishment is now not saying anything, it doesn't know what to say, and it truly appears that Trump cannot loose his base.  I feel his based is not sufficiently large to carry him through and that this will be a disaster for the GOP, which I think the GOP now believes as well, and that it's opted for the Dunkirk Option, but somebody is truly going to have to figure out what occurred here.

The controversy is also calling into question Trump's ineligibility for the draft during the late stages of the Vietnam War, but so far there's no reason to question his status. Clinton, of course, perhaps uniquely for a candidate of her antiquity, cannot be questioned in regards to that.  It is interesting how the Vietnam War has come back election cycle after election cycle to haunt those who didn't serve, which many who have run for high office did not.

Jill Stein is having a critical eye turned towards here for the first time, which is interesting in that some must actually consider her a bit of a threat to the Democrats.  

Commentary followup, part two, August 3, 2016

The question is, are the voters watching?

There is some reason to believe the answer to this is no. People might have their minds made up to the point where whatever happens now doesn't matter. But if they do, this week might be proving to be the worst imaginable for the GOP.  It's been truly incredible.

Trump has, without good reason, sparked a new spat with Speaker Ryan.  Its hard to know why he would do this, and his VP candidate Pence is not following his lead, and has endorsed Ryan.  So we actually have a split between the VP and the Presidential candidates in the GOP in regard to Ryan.

The debate over Trump's comments on the Khans is getting worse. Added to that, it now seems that Joe Scarborough had some information some time ago that would at least raise questions about Trump's views on the use of nuclear weapons.  This hasn't been fully developed, but it's troubling.

Indeed, at this pace, the GOP candidacy shows ever sign of imploding.  Trump's dedicated supporters are going to stick with him at this point, but a lot of Republicans were not very keen on him to start with.  Conservatives who didn't like Trump but grudgingly came along have to be considering bolting at this point.

Things have the feel like we're waiting for the other shoe to drop, but what will that be? An endorsement of a black horse independent?  An emergency GOP denouncement and rejection of the nominated candidate?  Nothing at all?  It's hard to know, but this week has been a disaster and its only Wednesday.  

Some sort of intervention will happen. But the question there is whether the nominee can accept the intervention.  If not, then what?

Commentary:  August 6, 2016

Trump came out yesterday and endorsed Ryan and McCain.

I've seen a small amount of push back on the Khan speech at the DNC which fell into a different context than Trumps.  Basically, that text criticized Khan for politicizing the death of his son.  I have to admit that this has bothered me a bit consistently since I read of the speech being made.  What I hadn't done, however, was read the speech.  Here it is:

First, our thoughts and prayers are with our veterans and those who serve today. Tonight, we are honored to stand here as the parents of Capt. Humayun Khan, and as patriotic American Muslims with undivided loyalty to our country.
Like many immigrants, we came to this country empty-handed. We believed in American democracy -- that with hard work and the goodness of this country, we could share in and contribute to its blessings.
We were blessed to raise our three sons in a nation where they were free to be themselves and follow their dreams. Our son, Humayun, had dreams of being a military lawyer. But he put those dreams aside the day he sacrificed his life to save his fellow soldiers.
Hillary Clinton was right when she called my son "the best of America." If it was up to Donald Trump, he never would have been in America. Donald Trump consistently smears the character of Muslims. He disrespects other minorities -- women, judges, even his own party leadership. He vows to build walls and ban us from this country.
Donald Trump, you are asking Americans to trust you with our future. Let me ask you: Have you even read the U.S. Constitution? I will gladly lend you my copy. In this document, look for the words "liberty" and "equal protection of law."
Have you ever been to Arlington Cemetery? Go look at the graves of the brave patriots who died defending America -- you will see all faiths, genders, and ethnicities.
You have sacrificed nothing and no one.
We can't solve our problems by building walls and sowing division. We are stronger together. And we will keep getting stronger when Hillary Clinton becomes our next president.
Out of line?  Well, it's not something that I really think should be done.  I.e., I don't really feel that the parents of those who lost their lives in battle ought to speak in this context, which does not mean that it isn't their right to do so.  Mostly I think the speech was a bit in articulate, but I wouldn't expect a speech from a person who grew up speaking a language so radically different from English to deliver the Gettysburg address either.

I suppose, again, the most problematic aspect of this is that Trump replied the way he did.  In order to acquire the job he seeks he will have to have a pretty thick skin and show an ability to turn the other cheek.  He hasn't. By lowering himself in this debate, as he did, I suspect he's done fatal damage to his chances with a lot of previously undecided voters.

Commentary: August 8, 2016

The long anticipated conservative GOP effort at fielding their own candidate has now occurred.  Evan McMullin, a former CIA staffer, has announced a bid for the presidency with the backing of some conservatives in the GOP.  McMullin is a Mormon with ties to Utah and some early speculation holds that even if his overall impact on the race on a state by state basis is low, he may take Utah away from Trump as Trump's support is very low there within the GOP.

As the McMullin race is just starting, its overall impact is really too early to speculate on, but after a week in which Trump did very poorly, particularly given that he is now competing for the undecided vote in general, rather than for GOP primary votes, this may be the beginning of additional bad news for Trump.

Of interest, at least one of the weekend news shows is now beginning to talk about polls featuring Johnson and Stein, which also shows how unusual the dynamics of this election are.  Supposedly, even optimistically,  Johnson only takes 10% of the vote and Stein 5%.  McMullin will appeal to a different group of disaffected voters.  If he can take even 5% of the vote, and other third party candidates as little as 1%, this race starts to look much different.  And that's assuming that the third party candidates positions in the polls do not start to improve.

Commentary:  August 10, 2016

Some related threads I haven't previously linked in here, but I probably should have:

Cognitive Disconnect on the left and right.
Cognitive Disconnect on the left and right. Mark Shea and Moral Delusion.:
Cognitive Disconnect on the left and right. Mark Shea and Moral Delusion. Father Longnecker weights in.

Taking a look at the moral aspects of the vote, a topic that that perhaps matters more than any other here.

Okay, having noted those, an additional couple of comments.

Some Trump supporters claim that the Press is now hard focused on Trump and his gaffs and ignoring anything that questions Clinton.  While I'm reluctant to credit conspiracy theories about the press, I think there's an element of truth in that.

That seems fairly evident to me in the news pending over the past few days.  Yesterday Trump, who can't seem to know that New York buffoonish humor is detested in much of the country, made a really lame comment directed towards those who are on the right but find him distasteful.  Noting that if he looses, the Supreme Court goes with him for a generation, which is correct, he further noted that if Clinton is elected "there's nothing you can do about it". That's also correct. But then he went on to say something like "I don't know, maybe the 2nd Amendment people" (this isn't an exact quote).

To anyone listening this sounded like a reference to murder in jest.  I know his campaign is trying to spin this now, but you can't unspin that.

Trump doesn't seem to grasp that the demographic that was willing to tolerate his brash, boorish, rudeness has already voted for him and there are no more members of it.  He's loosing voters now.  But that comment probably was just another one of his lead bomb comments that most people ignore, and the press might try to be a little more balanced.  This same week we're told that many more Wikileaks of Clinton emails will be released and some of these, they claim, deal with arms to Middle Eastern folks most of us would not care for, they claim.  That seems like a pretty serious accusation against Hillary Clinton that you'd think we'd be focusing on, but we don't seem to be yet.  But maybe that's just yet.

Commentary:  August 18, 2016

Apparently signaling an intention to go full bore into his in your face style, Trump has shaken up his campaign style and put Steve Bannon, a Breitbart executive, in control of his campaign.  This signals an intention to go the polar opposite of what Republican leaders have been urging, and strongly aim for the disgruntled blue collar  and disaffected elements of the GOP.  That writes off appealing to moderate Democrats who might no like Clinton, although it might actually appeal a bit to some of Sanders blue collar support.

It will be perceived as risky, but it probably is a wise move.  Trump's campaign is going down in flames right now and he might as well throw the dice.  It will turn off wavering independents in large numbers however, so its based on the concept that there are enough hardcore right wing voters to push him over the top.  There won't be, but as a strategy, it's likely the best one a figure like him can employ.

Commentary:  August 26, 2016

Signature gatherers were out in full force in Casper for third party candidates.  Folks detailed to gather signatures for the Libertarian and the Green Party campaigns were reportedly on campus at Casper College and in the Smith's parking lot a signature gatherer, somewhat disingenuinely  or ignorantly wearing an AR15 t-shirt was gathering signatures for the Delta Party candidate.  Apparently Republican conservatives are gathering signatures for Evan McMullin, whose essentially running as a third party conservative Republican.

I'm generally of anyone getting on the ballot this year, although I didn't sign for the Delta Party candidate as I'd never heard of him.  That candidate is Roque "Rocky" De La Fuente, who apparently is to the Democrats what McMullin is to the Republicans.  He tried to gain the Democratic ticket and fell flat, so now he's formed his own party to advance what is essentially a campaign appealing to traditional Democrats who are left of center, but not so far left of center that they're now looking at Stein.

McMullin's boosters, as noted, are trying here as well.  An interview that related to him reveals that the Utah native is afflicted with the Utah disease of wanting to transfer lands from the Federal government to the states.  Why a conservative feels that he needs to run on this anti conservation platform escapes me, but this is a year in which a lot of the race escapes me.

Commentary followup: August 30, 2016

It appears that Green Party candidate Jill Stein and establishment GOP candidate Evan McMullin gathered enough votes to appear on the Wyoming ballot in November.  I know that the Libertarians had signature gatherers out as well, and I'd be surprised if they did not also make it onto the ballot.

Commentary, September 19, 2016

If George F. Will is correct, and of course he follows things more closely than I, it's his job, the control of the Senate is likely to come down to a single race, which the incumbent GOP Senator is likely to lose.

If that's the case, and assuming a Clinton victory (which is presently not safe, given that the races are actually surprisingly close) this could indeed be a transformational race, particularly in regards to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Commentary, September 27, 2016 

Last night was the first debate between the two major, and disappointing, Presidential candidates. 

This morning, no doubt, there will be piles of pundit commentary and both parties, and their real fans, will claim victory.  In reality, neither candidate can claim to have blown the other out of the water.

I'd give both candidates B-- grades, or maybe C+.  Lester Holt, whose ability to control the debate was completely non existent, gets a D-.

I can't say that either candidate was spectacular.  Hillary Clinton managed to get a few digs in, but she was also quite unspecific regarding details on some of her major themes and Trump let her be, showing insecurity on them on his part.  On gun control, for example, he let her use the euphemism of "gun safety, which id the Democratic Party's way of avoiding telling a clear truth on their position. Trump didn't want to touch it. They pushed each other around on well known positions, but didn't get into them much, in spite of grossly violating the time limits they were each given and wholly ignoring Lester Holt's efforts, such as they were, to rein them in.

Trump's blustering style and rapid speech managed to make the few really good points become muddled.  Clinton occasionally was clear and occasionally not.  Trump was probably most effective at demonstrating Democratic insiders like Clinton can't claim to carry the torch of new effective ideas as they've been around so long they would have tried them by now.  Clinton was probably most effective at seeming clearer than Trump.

I doubt anyone in either camp was much convinced by anything.  As for independents, maybe some were swayed one way or another, or maybe their taking another look at the (excluded) third party candidates who increasingly look good by comparison.

If I was to declare a winner, it'd be a close call, but it would likely be Clinton, who has more experience at this sort of thing, but only by decision, not by knock out, and only barely.  A person could argue that Trump did well simply by requiring Clinton to go toe to toe with him in her own ring.

Related threads:
Cognitive Disconnect on the left and right.
Cognitive Disconnect on the left and right. Mark Shea and Moral Delusion.:
Cognitive Disconnect on the left and right. Mark Shea and Moral Delusion. Father Longnecker weights in.
Tracking the Presidential Election, 2016
Tracking the Presidential Election, 2016, Part II
Tracking the Presidential Election, 2016, Part III Sic Transit Gloria Mundi.
Tracking the Presidential Election Part IV
Tracking the Presidential Election Part V
Tracking the Presidential Election Part VI. The wobbly Democratic Party.
Tracking the Presidential Election Part VII
Tracking the Presidential Election Part VIII. Is there a Brexit lesson for the US election?
Tracking the Presidential Election 2016, Part IX. Yawn. . . . who?. . . what parties?

The Wyoming National Guard, what was it doing and where was it going?

I posted this item two years ago on the Mid Week at Work Thread.  It occurs to me that it may very well be appropriate for the Wyoming National Guard was going through in Cheyenne these few days, a century ago:

Mid-Week at Work: U.S. Troops in Mexico.

All around the water tank, waiting for a train
A thousand miles away from home, sleeping in the rain
I walked up to a brakeman just to give him a line of talk
He said "If you got money, boy, I'll see that you don't walk
I haven't got a nickel, not a penny can I show
"Get off, get off, you railroad bum" and slammed the boxcar door

He put me off in Texas, a state I dearly love
The wide open spaces all around me, the moon and the stars up above
Nobody seems to want me, or lend me a helping hand
I'm on my way from Frisco, going back to Dixieland
My pocket book is empty and my heart is full of pain
I'm a thousand miles away from home just waiting for a train.

Jimmy Rodgers, "Waiting for a Train".
As can be seen from my entry yesterday, there's some indication the Guard entrained on September 26, 1916.  And I've reported that elsewhere, years ago.  And maybe some did leave on September 26, but I now doubt it.

Rather, in looking at it more fully, the typical Army hurry up and wait seems to have been at work.  The Guard was supposed to entrain on September 26, but the cars didn't show up or didn't in adequate numbers.  It appears, also, that the Colorado National Guard was entraining at the same time, and that may have played a role in this.  Be that as it may, I now think the September 26 date that I have used, and others do use, in in error.

What seems to have happened is that most of the Guardsmen entrained on the night of September 27, late.

But where were they going? 

That will play out here as well, but original reports in these papers said they were going to San Antonio. Then it was reported that nobody knew where they were going.

Well, they went to Deming New Mexico, which isn't far from where this all started off, in Columbus.

Rodgers didn't record Waiting For A Train until 1928, and he wasn't recording in 1916.  Too bad, this would have been a popular song with those troops.

The Cheyenne State Leader for September 27, 1916: Best laid plans?

The past couple of days the papers were reporting that the Guard would leave on September 26, but here the Cheyenne State Leader indicates that there's been some sort of delay, and the Guard was going to be leaving that day.

Did anyone leave?  Frankly, I"m not sure. The few sources I have aren't consistent.  Some report the first contingent did leave on September 26.  But this would suggest otherwise.

Elsewhere workers were discontent, and Greece appeared ready to enter World War One.

Monday, September 26, 2016

A bust in the local housing market?

Casper's real estate market has been rates as one of the ten least healthy in the United States.

No surprise there.

And there's a sense of deja vu there as well.

Along with that, there's the odd nature of depressed real state market denial.  I well remember in the 1980s, when our market was very depressed and a lot of houses went back to the banks, that well into that there were those who simply denied that this was the case until it could no longer be denied.

Having said that, it doesn't seem quite as dramatic as last time. That may be because the bottom simply hasn't fallen out of the real estate market yet.  It's subject, it seems, to sort of a delayed effect.  At first people hesitate to put homes up for sale, and then later they can't due to their being under water, and then perhaps they're forced to.  I don't know that we're to the forced to stage yet.  We could be getting there.

Indeed, over the weekend the Tribune reported on a couple of businesses and how they're doing.  Not well in a couple of instances.  The reports were interesting, however, that in one an older owner (in his 50s) felt that the petroleum sector was never coming back, a young guy in his 20s felt it would.  The difference?  Well, that guy in this 50s, two years younger than me, had no doubt seen this happen before and felt that something about the bust this time is different, and more long lasting, than lat, and that one was pretty darned long.  He could well be right.  I've already reported here on how technology has moved to where the petroleum industry may not need as many employees as it did before and during this boom.  And coal, in my view, will never be what it once was.  The one shop owner had gone from fifteen employees down to just himself.

The reason that I note that is that, somehow, real estate markets are like predator and prey populations. When the rabbit supply increases, the bobcat supply does as well, but there's a gap in it.  The rabbits start crashing before the cat's peak, which is bad for the cats post bust.  I think real estate markets tend to work that way, which if true means that we may be hearing about a declining market more in the future.

And of course this isn't just Casper.  The article claims that the market is staying stable due to retirees coming in.  Maybe, but in a statewide market I wonder.  And for that matter, Casper, of which I'm a native, always strikes me as an odd place for immigrant retirees, unless they like high winds and cold winters, which most do not.

Well, we'll see, of course, how this develops.

The first debate

Do you intend to watch it?

Douglas Enterprise for September 26, 1916: State Fair in progress, Bryan speaks.

In Douglas, where the State Fair was going on, the Guard also didn't make the news.

Bryan did, however.  He spoke there as well, no doubt doing a whistle stop tour of Wyoming.

The Casper Record for September 26, 1916: Bryan speaks, fair a success.

Far to the north of Cheyenne, one of the Casper papers reported that William Jennings Bryan spoke in town, and that the county fair had been a big success.

Nothing on the Guard.

Fairs were apparently held later in the year at this time.

The Laramie Republican for September 26, 1916: Villa moves north.

One of the Laramie papers also managed to miss the entraining of the Guard, even though Laramie is only fifty miles from Cheyenne.  It reported Villa moving north, however.

Wyoming Semi Weekly Tribune for September 26, 1916: Wyoming Guardsmen to Entrain

The Wyoming Semi Weekly Tribune, which was published by the Wyoming Tribune, oddly did managed to note that the Guard was going to entrain today, even though its daily paper had omitted that news.

Entrain, I'd note, is a verb we don't use much anymore.  But it would have bee quite a bit more common then.

The Cheyenne Leader for September 26, 1916: Rousing farewell planed for Guard.

The less dramatic Cheyenne State Leader reported that there would be a rousing farewell for the Guard in Cheyenne.

The State Fair also had opened, much later, I'd note, than it does today.

Wyoming Tribune for September 26, 1916. Villa on the move, Pershing promoted

On the day of the anticipated move of the Wyoming National Guard the Wyoming Tribune, always somewhat dramatic, reported Villa advancing toward American troops, Pershing promoted, and even cannibals in gross acts, but nothing about the Guard on the front page. 

It wanted every county represented at the State Fair, however.

The Punitive Expedition: The Wyoming National Guard departs for the Mexican border (or not). September 26, 1916

The Wyoming National Guard departed Wyoming for service on the Mexican border, according to some sources.  That this was to occur was reported several days ago in the local press, and there had been heightened action in Mexico over the past week showing that Villa was still very much an active player in Mexico.

 Some of those Guardsmen.  Members of Company C, raised from Park County Wyoming, 1916.

Because this was a significant event in the context of what we're looking at here, as well as in the history of the state, we're going to be looking at a few newspapers again from this and the following days to see how they treated the story.

And in doing that we are going to question whether this date is actually the correct one.  It's cited by some, but the period newspapers suggest it might have been the first day of a lot of waiting around expecting to entrain, in true military fashion.

Strife over the Tribal Court


I'm a member of the Wind River Reservation's bar so it pains me to see some strife over the future of the Court.

For a very long time, indeed since I think it became an independent tribal court after no longer being a BIA court, the Tribal court has been just that.  The court for both of the Tribes, the Shoshone and the Arapaho, on the  Wind River Reservation.  Both tribes managed their affairs jointly through a Joint Business Council.

But the Arapahos withdrew from the council within the last couple of years and now a suit has been filed in which it argues that the BIA must deal separately with it.  It also seeks to establish its own courts.  Basically, it wants complete administrative separation and for the Federal government to treat the Arapaho tribe separately.

Making the situation worse, the Arapahos constitute 70% of the Wind River's population, but the Joint Business Council, which is now all Shoshone, has kept on keeping on as the recognized tribal government nonetheless.  And they haven't been shy about it.  They simply are treating the Arapaho absence as temporary.

This dredges up old problems on the Reservation.  I noted a little of the history on the page I have on this blog on Tribal Court jurisdiction when I noted that the Reservation was created in 1863 for the Shoshones, at their request, and didn't become the home for the Arapahos until 1878, something that was supposed to be temporary.  At that time the Northern Arapahos were a very small tribe, and actually an enemy of the Shoshones, but now they outnumber them.

I have to admit that they have a point.  The official policy of the US is to encourage Tribal sovereignty and therefore they are a sovereign nation.  If they don't want to participate in a joint administration, I guess they don't have to.  But how there can be two separate bodies administering the same lands, let alone two separate courts, is difficult to grasp.

Theodore Roosevelt and Kermit Roosevelt, Jr. September 26, 1916

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sunday Morning Scene: Churches of the West: St. Mary's Catholic Church, Clearmont Wyoming

Churches of the West: St. Mary's Catholic Church, Clearmont Wyoming:

This is St. Mary's Catholic Church in the small town of Clearmont, Wyoming. This Mission church is served by the Catholic Parish in Buffalo, Wyoming. Clearmont itself is a small ranching town. The church was built in 1919.

Wyoming Tribune for September 25, 1916: Villa seeking alibi for Columbus Raid. Guard to go to San Antonio.

A dramatic Monday newspaper.

Villa looking for an alibi for Columbus.

The Guard to go to San Antonio.

Austria was without bread, and prohibitionist were submitting a bill to the Legislature to deprive the populace of booze.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Cheyenne Sunday State Leader for September 24, 1916: Guard awaits order to move to border

This story was repeating itself by this time, but the State's National Guard was expecting orders to move out.

Meanwhile, Army camps were proving to encourage theft, a common story, as it was found that National Guard items were making their way from Camp Kendrick to Cheyenne.

Lex Anteinternet: Where did Wyoming's political parties go? A lament

Back in July I posted this item:
Where did Wyoming's political parties go? A lament.

When I was a young voter, Wyoming had political parties.  And by that, I mean rational political parties.  There was a large, rational, Republican Party and a smaller, but actually viable, and rational, Democratic Party.  You could be a member of either and not be ashamed of it.  Indeed, you could and would have friends in the other party and you weren't embarrassed for them.
Based on the reaction to Gerald Gay everyone is having, perhaps there remains some hope that this era might revive.  Indeed, perhaps there's some hope that it'll start to revive now that Gay's given the system a shock.

I'm seeing a little evidence of it.

The big evidence is what the Billings Gazette, yes the Billings newspaper, noted about the GOP reaction to Gays' Neanderthal comments.  It praised the local GOP for condemning Gay's statements and suggested that its reaction should be a model to other state's parties that have candidates that say awful things.  It also rightly noticed, however that this was long in coming from the Wyoming GOP, which did not have the same very apparent reaction when Gay sued the Governor and some members of the legislature recently.  In their defense, however, the entire Cindy Hill spectacle probably made commenting less than desirable.

Well, the time to comment has really arrived, and Gay is getting what he deserves.  Perhaps there's some hope this will spread.

Indeed, the local GOP would do well to note that for the first time in a long time there are some Democrats, taking generally moderate approaches, that are getting some attention in places where they wouldn't have.  I 've noted more than a few Greene signs around, and given the GOP's failure to pick a true Wyoming candidate for that race, a fact that came about in part due to our first past the post system, that isn't too surprising.  Liz Cheney's connection to the state is thinner than her father's was and she hold a few of the state land issue that would absolute condemn her but for her party affiliation.  Some sportsmen I know are abandoning the GOP accordingly.  Around here I've seen quite a few Dan Neal signs for a state house race, to my surprise, although the GOP candidate is a moderate in that district and excellent. 

My point is not to suggest that the parties be milk toast. Far from it.  But the GOP has had a hard edge recently here that was not very Wyoming-centric and was headed right for where Gay went.  That some GOP politician got there is hardly a surprise.  Most Republicans don't hold that view and the party recognizes that.  It's time to recognize that a lot of the other extreme positions the party picked up in the last few years that were hostile to government in general, hostile to education and hostile, really, to the common Wyomingite are not necessarily sitting well with average people.  The Democrats have started to pick up on that.

Indeed, while its risky to say so, some of these views were things that we imported during the last oil boom.  Quite a few of the things that were debated here strongly resembled things that we read being debated about in other states far to our south.  As we imported a workforce, I suspect, we imported their political debates along with them.  This is hardly surprising.  People don't leave their old issues and spats at home, they bring them with them.  Indeed, one of the myths of the founding of the country is that Europeans left the old world behind them in every fashion.  Not hardly. English colonist brought all of their prejudices and hatreds with them and they were incorporated into the new culture as it developed for quite some time.  When the Quebecois say "je me souviens" part of what they remember, in a weakened mythological way, is that their ancestors came from France, even though that's darned near 300 years ago. And so on.

But now that the boom has become a bust, these fights that were more appropriate elsewhere should recede with them, and the issues central to Wyoming should surface again.  Politicians, and indeed parties, that can't grasp that deserve a drubbing.

Which is not to say, I'd note, that the Democrats get a pass here.  A few of the Democrats doing better this year do seem to get it, but not all.  The Democratic party during the Clinton years virtually died here and the party remains all to full of people who think they're in Berkeley California rather than Buffalo Wyoming.  Hard leftist whose views might make sense in Newark, New Jersey, if only barely, really have no place here.  And there's no good reason why a Wyoming Democratic Party needs to hang itself on views hostile to life issues and which back every social theory that the national Democratic party is fond of.

We can hope, anyhow, that perhaps the corner has been turned here, if only a bit.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Friday Farming: "Look at these two beauties".

Soviet farm propaganda poster, perhaps with a double entendre, or not, with typical blond female Russian farm worker.  In this case she's proud of the cows, wearing (in a rather unlikely fashion) a string of pearls, and has a medal of some sort just under her white coat.

I've never thought of Russia as much of a bovine source, and I know recently some Wyoming cowhands have gone over to show them the ropes to some degree, now that agriculture has been freed from the collective.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Cowboy Boots

Title: An array of boots at the F.M. Light & Sons western-wear store in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.  Library of Congress photographs.

A long, long time ago on this site, I started a thread on  cowboy boots.  Maybe as long ago as three years, or so. That's not as unusual as it might seem, a lot of threads linger as drafts on this site long before they're published.

19th Century cowboys. their boots are not very visible in this photograph, but where you can see them, they are very high shanked boots.

What is unusual is that I lost it.  But I don't think I'd gotten very far in it before I deleted it.  So, here we are starting afresh, which in this case is pretty much the same as starting.

I like cowboy boots.  I often wear them to my office job, but I've also worn them in the role for which they're actually intended, so I have pretty strong opinions on them.  And  they're also sort of bizarrely tied into the period which we've been looking at, in the context of how they've changed over time and what we now think they are.  I also frankly think that a lot of the history that gets circulated about cowboy boots is frankly wrong.

That history, if you've looked into it at all, generally holds that cowboy boots basically didn't exist until some time after the Civil War, at which time they came into being, sort of all of a sudden, in the 1870s or 1880s. Well, not so much.  Indeed, what we call "cowboy boots" had basically been around a lot longer than that.  

Yep, I'm claiming that the common story of the cowboy boot is flat out wrong.

I guess, with that being the case, we have first ask, what is a cowboy boot?

Well, in its proper form, a cowboy boot is a pull on riding boot with a high, scalloped, heel that's designed for use in a wooden stirrup.  Steel, iron or brass stirrups actually are not the same as wooden stirrups at all, in use, so perhaps we should start there.

Author, riding Wade tree stock saddle, with broad wooden, tin clad, stirrups.

Jonathan Wainright being promoted to General at Ft. Myers Virginia, 1938.  Wainright would be transferred to the Philippines prior to World War Two and would go on to serve as a captive of the Japanese after the fall of the island to the Japanese.  He received the Congressional Medal of Honor.  Here you see the two types of stirrups in use by the U.S. Army at the time. Wainright is riding a flat, English style saddle (likely an officer's pattern then in use) while the two  officers next to him are riding M1928 McClellan saddles equipped with wooden stirrups and stirrups hoods.  Wainwright's boots are not visible but are most likely the field boot then in use.  The officer on the right is wearing M1923 lace up cavalry boots.

Metal stirrups, and wooden stirrups, go relatively far back, although we would do well to note that stirrups themselves came into wide use during the Middle Ages.  Indeed, not only did they come into wide use at that time, they were a technological revolution that greatly enhances the fighting ability of a mounted man allowing the Age of Chivalry, i.e., the mounted knight, to basically be possible.  This isn't to say there weren't cavalrymen before that.  There certainly were, but once the rider could keep his seat with the aid of his feet, his utility and fighting ability was greatly enhanced.  Indeed there is a "stirrup theses" that deals with the revolutionary impact of the stirrup upon mounted combat in Europe, and hence upon history in general.

This isn't  history of the stirrup, but we should note that relatively early on there were wooden and steel stirrups.

Wide wooden strirrups are a feature of this Wade Tree saddle. Here they are clad with sheet metal on the outside.


Wooden stirrups, as a general rule, tend to be more "rustic". If there's an economy of resources we tend to see wooden stirrups.  Saddles are mostly, at least classically, wood and leather, so keeping on keeping on with wooden stirrups makes sense if that's the material you have at hand.  And if you don't have that at hand, you probably aren't making any saddles to start with.  Assuming that, you don't really need that much metal otherwise.

Leather wrapped wooden stirrups on an Association tree saddle.

Riding with wooden stirrups presents some different considerations than steel stirrups, the principal one for our purpose being that wooden stirrups tend to be quite large.  That's fine, but that presents another problem. . . keeping your foot from going through the stirrup.  If that happens you have a true disaster in progress.

Why cowboy boots have the shape that they do.

The solution albeit a partial one, for this problem has always been proper footgear.  Indeed, proper footgear is or should be a major consideration for any rider.  People who ride in tennis shoes should be flogged, as its dangerous.

Cowboy with jeans tucked in boots, using taps over his stirrups.  Very traditional set of cowboy gear.  This photograph was taken at the 2010 Sheepherders Fair.

Anyhow, the traditional riding boot for wooden stirrups is a high topped boot (which all real riding boots are, as a rule) with high heels made from leather sections, with leather soles, a somewhat pointed toe, and a scalloped heel. The boot is designed as much to let you get your foot out as anything else.  That's why its pointed, that's why its normally a leather sole, and that's why the heel is scalloped.  If it goes through in a disaster, maybe the scallop will let the boot back out. . . maybe.

 Cowboy Ned Coy on "Boy Dick".  Coy is wearing a Boss Of The Plains hat and scalloped boots.  From the popular threads on hats and caps.

It isn't laced either, due to an economy of resources, because it isn't meant to be walked in all  that much, because it is meant to allow your pants to inside the boot, and it might be capable for the boot to be jerked away in a really bad disaster.

This sort of boot has existed for a really, really, long time.  And its existed in more than one location for a really long time.  Indeed, I've even seen photographs of Afghan riders, well before the tragic Soviet period when things were less mess up there, using a boot roughly of this description.

And I've seen at least one photograph of a Civil War Army officer wearing a boot of this exact type, during the Civil War, with huge rowled spurs.

Don't tell me, therefore, that these came about after the Civil War. They did not.

They were around in some form a long time before the Civil War.

They were popular with riders in the West who were employed in cattle work quite early on for obvious reasons.  Western stock saddles uniformly featured wooden stirrups and still tend to.  Cowboys, moreover, did very little ground work if they could avoid it. And their horses tended to be rank.  A boot of that type is exactly what they needed.

They were distinct, however.  Mostly this was because most riding boots in the United States mid 19th Century were low heel, or partially low heel.  Most stirrups east of the Mississippi were steel or iron.  Not all, but most.  And  most men who wore boots, and it was mostly men, were were doing a lot of ground work as well. So, most boots reflected that.

Indeed one big user of horses, the U.S. Army, didn't even officially issue a riding type boot until late in the Civil War.  Otherwise, it simply issued its ankle high shoe to everyone. That says something about the focus that generally existed on the topic.  It probably also says how much more riding had started to go in the service during the Civil War.

 Cavalry orderly wearing low topped riding boots.  These boots may or may not have been an issue pair, as there was never an official Civil War general issue pattern of cavalry boot.

Union cavalryman, Civil War.  He's likely not wearing riding boots at all, but rather the issue ankle high service shoe.

Union cavalry officer.  Officers purchased their uniforms, but the pattern of boot shown here became very common during the war and was ultimately issued to enlisted men.  High topped, somewhat scalloped heel.

After the Civil War the Army determined to issue riding boots to cavalrymen and started to do so. As I'm not an expert on this topic, and as this isn't the history of the military riding boot of the 19th Century, I won't try to detail it, but a variety of high topped, medium heeled boots were issued all the way through the remainder of the 19th Century until the 1890s, when the service shoe for cavalrymen oddly came back in.  

 Detail from Edgar Paxson's meticulously researched Custer's Last Stand.  Paxon here depicts the cavalry boot in use in 1876 very well.  A very high topped boot than ran up over the knee to protect the knee, square toes (they had no left or right) and slightly high heels.  This boot, while a good design, was commonly regarded as uncomfortable by soldiers which may, in part, have been because they were built by Federal prisoners who had, therefore, relatively low motivation.

The common story on the cowboy boot accordingly holds that men went home wearing their boots from the Union and Confederate armies and then went into livestock work, and the cowboy boots was born.

Not so much.

For one thing, the story is really probably more the other way around. Confederate cavalry men were at first drawn from stock working men anyhow and they were already wearing riding boots.  If the boots made it through the war, a doubtful proposition, they just went home wearing what they'd left with.  If their boots wore out, they would have been lucky to get a good replacement pair of riding boots.  No doubt some did, but those boots would have been of no discernible pattern and they would have really just been riding boots.

Amongst the very first cowboys driving north Southerners would have been more common than Northerners, but not for long.  Be that as it may, it 's highly doubtful that piles of Union riding boots ended up being worn by discharged Union cavalrymen turned cowboys.  And as noted, riding boots had been around for eons prior to the Civil War with all of their basic details well established.  It was the Army that was slow to adopt them.

Cowboys near chuck and supply wagon.

Rather, after the Civil War the frontier opened up for cattle and the cowboy came onto the Plains.  He was wearing riding boots, and riding a wooden stirrup saddle that was evolved, but not much, from those used by vacqueros in Texas and Mexico.  Their boots reflected that, and fairly rapidly they became to take on some distinct features, although perhaps not as distinct as we might suppose.

It might be noted, and probably should be noted, that cowboy boots are one item that cowboys did not adopt from vaqueros and caballeros.  Mexican agricultural horsemen did not wear cowboy boots, but rather an ankle high pointed toe, moderate heeled, boot.  That's a bit surprising, but when we consider how they dressed perhaps it is not as surprising as it might at first seem.  They tended to wear leather leggins below the knee for protection if they needed it, and they also wore both chapaderos and later half chaps, known to Western horsemen as chaps and chinks, for protection.  They also wore wool clothing almost uniformly.  While I don't know t hat its related, living and working in a hot environment, the high topped boots may have been less attractive to them than to riders further north.  Additionally, most Mexican cowboy gear actually uses an economy of leather, leather being the product which Mexican cattle were actually raised for, and that may have reflected itself in their boots design.  Leather economy can impact boots permanently, as we shall shortly see.

 Emiliano Zapata (seated, center) and his staff.  There's a mix of clothing here, as there typically is in photos of Mexican revolutionaries (the figure on the far left is wearing a type of boot that darned near resembles one we'll address later, the packer) but all the seated men are wearing botin charro, a type of ankle high, pointed toe, riding boot.

So the scalloped heeled boot came to be strongly identified with cowboys, and at the same time cowboys, who tended to invest a lot of their tiny income in their gear, that being their hat, their boots, and their saddle, sometimes bought cowboy boots that had elemental elements.  Farmers didn't buy boots that had any ornamental elements, in contrast.  Spending a lot of money on their limited equipment, they wanted it to look good and distinct when they could. And that caused the Mexican influenced ornamental stitching on cowboy boots to come about.  While it does create a distinct appearance, the boots are really only slightly evolved from other riding boots in common use in the mid 19th Century.

 My regular cowboy boots.  The ones I wear to work, when I wear cowboy boots to work.

My working cowboy boots.

And of course Americans became fascinated with cowboys quite early on.

Cowboy boots basically assumed that form quite early, and indeed they retain it if they're really traditional boots.  A working 20th Century cowboy with high shank boots could walk into a 19th Century camp and pretty much not have anyone take much notice of his footgear, assuming that he went for something relatively traditional.

Well, like a lot of things, the boots changed as a result of a war.  World War One to be exact.

 Stretching leather, about 1915.

Because World War Two was such a colossal war, and because we tend to simply accept the line that the United States was the "arsenal of democracy" during the Great War, we have a pretty skewed concept of American production in the World War One time frame. Simply put, it was a mess.

Not only was the Army trying to raise a force, at breakneck speed (more rapidly by quite some measure than during World War Two) but it was trying to deploy it overnight.  It was also trying to equip it overnight.  The peacetime Army didn't have anywhere near the amount of stuff necessary to equip the huge Army that the US was trying to raise, equip, ship and deploy in 1917.

And this included leather goods.

The US didn't really even know what it needed in the way of leather goods, so it let out contracts for things like saddles and boots in absurdly large numbers.  There's a real reason that M1904 McClellan saddles are so common.  They made so darned many. Same with boots, the numbers made were astounding.  Absurd, even.

With that sort of demand going on for leather goods, the supply became very strained, and cowboy boots were the victims of that. The leather for high topped boots just wasn't there. So, as a wartime measure, bootmakers introduced the "stubbie" or "pee wee" boot, which is what most people, at least those who aren't cowboys, wear today.

 Tom Mix, 1919.  Mix was an actor, not a cowboy by trade, although the World War One veteran did buy a ranch in Wyoming after the war and he actually ranched here.  Anyhow, actors make notoriously bad examples of what cowboys actual wore, and this is no exception.  The hat is far too large for anything outside of Texas (where sugarloaf sombreros were really large), the pistols are M1873 cavalry models, which had 7" barrels and which were not favored by cowboys, who instead favorted the 5" artillery model. the pants are way too tight. The boots, moreover, are peewees. The heels, however, are just right for the era, and not uncommon amongst working cowhands now.

That was the wartime solution.  And it impacted how the boots were actually worn. Prior to WWI cowboys normally tucked their trouser in their boots, and they still sometimes will, as the photo posted above shows.  This was the routine habit, although sometimes they'd pull their pants down over their boots.  Having worn boots both ways while riding, if I'm going to ride for a long time, I'll tuck them in.  More comfortable, for the long haul.

But you really can't do that very well with pee wees, and cowboys who had to buy new boots during the war were embarrassed by the economy of leather and how it looked, so they took to pulling their pants down over their boots.  Better to wear out your pants and get them dirty than to look like a boofador.

Traditional boots do not go on as easy as peewees.  And you'll want some high socks if you wear them also.  My Olathe traditional mule hide cowboy boots.

Well, cowboy boots have always been regarded as stylish and have received a lot of non working wear by non cow hands.  The peewee boot was tailored made for the person who liked the style, but who didn't ride every day. Indeed, as I have retained the old really high style, I can attest that getting them on and off isn't easy.

And in truth mid height boots worked out okay for a lot of working applications. So the peewee, unless it was really low, quit being a mark of shame and became the common boot fairly quickly, save for the ones that had really low tops (which some did). By the 1920s a boot like that sported by Tom Mix above was pretty common, probably more common than the kind that ran to the knee.  With the spread of this sort of boot on the range, and in town, cowboy boots really entered sort of a new era.  The old style kept on keeping on, but a new style, worn by a lot of people in town, arrived.

 These aren't cowboy boots, they're Wellingtons.  Marketed, however, as "Ropers".

All along a similar low shanked ridingp with your heels, down with your head boot was around as well, the Wellington.  Named after the Duke of Wellington, who favored them, Wellingtons' were a peewee variant of the common Riding Boot, that boot worn by those who rode flat, or "English", saddles. Low topped, and low heeled, they always had a following amonst those who rode a bit or who rode flat saddles but whom didn't favor the knee high boot generally worn by those who used steel stirrups.  They were quite similar, in some fashion, with some of the lower shanked boots worn by Army officers in the 1860s through the 1890s, and therefore had a natural retained following there.  Some European armies, including the English Army, flat out adopted them as riding boots.  At some point in the 20th Century, and at least by the 1940s, the U.S. Army allowed them as alternative footgear for dress wear and they became particularly popular with pilots as dress gear. So much so, in fact, that after the USAF was officially separated from the Army after World War Two black Wellingtons were allowed as private purchase dress shoes for officers.

Working rancher with very low heeled boots, perhaps Wellingtons.


The popularity of Wellingtons plateaued however until some marketing genius at the Justin company thought of re-branding them as "Ropers'.  Where this idea came from is anyone idea, but it was a marketing stroke of genius.  With the rebranding Wellingtons crossed over into the cowboy boot market and someawht remain there. Their popularity seems to have diminished a bit, but then boots with "walking heels" have increased in popularity as well, with those two boot types occupying each others niche, more or less.

While on this topic, let us dispel the notion that the type of rubber or synthetic boot the English call "wellies" are Wellingtons. They are not.  Apparently the name "Wellington" was applied to them at some point due to a purely superficial relationship they bore to real Wellingtons.  The British users truncated that  name to "wellies", but whatever they are, they are not Wellingtons.  The Duke of Wellington would not be pleased if you thought so.

Wellington at Waterloo. Seriously, the man was not wearing rubber boots.

With cowboy boots as fashion, we do of course see varieties of them.  In some eras, the 50s in particularly it seems to me, the toes became very narrow.  In others, the toes are fairly round.  Square toes were very common in 19th Century boots and have recently returned.  Originally, that was a manufacturing item, as square toes were easy to manufacture and with some boots and shoes there was no left or right.  Now, it's just a matter of fashion.

Working rancher with a pair of cowboy boots with a walking heel.

Heel height waxes and wanes as well, although with modern boots you don't seen the really high "doggin" (ie bulldogging) heel nearly as much as you did in earlier eras.  You still see them, however.  As noted, "walking heels", which are basically a conventional shoe heel, are now also common and you see them in use even by working hands.    Every now and then, however, doggin heels will enjoy a comeback, and they never really go away.  As noted, working hands will wear them, and in towns more than a few folks wear lower riding heels.

Indeed, I suppose only a tiny fraction of cowboy boots are worn by people who actually ride. For that reason it'd be interesting to take a census of actual working hands and see what they wear.  By my casual observation, really high topped boots are more common with working hands than a person might suppose, which makes sense.  Medium height boots are fairly common as well, but you do see stubbies and ropers out there, as the photos in this thread attest to.  In town, of course, most folks aren't wearing the really high boots like I do.  Indeed, I'd guess only a tiny fraction of people who wear cowboy boots in town do that.

Cowboy boots aren't the only riding boots, of course, and we'll deal with that on a later thread, to the extent its relevant to this site and the period of time it focuses on.  But cowboy boots are interesting in general, so in looking at footgear, we've started off here.