Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What Exactly is a Florida Cracker?

Growing up in Florida, I often heard someone referred to as a Florida Cracker.  I didn't understand if this was a derogatory description of a Floridian or of a cracker.  It was apparent to me that this description did have a negative connotation.  Not so.

Years later living in Georgia, I joke about growing up with other Florida Crackers and most Georgians declare their state owns the "cracker".  To stay away from controversy, can you imagine telling a Cowboy in Montana or Wyoming today that the first cowboy came from Florida?    Bar fight for sure.  For another blog...  For now, back to the Florida Cracker.

Let's eliminate some confusion.  A Florida Cracker is NOT: A white southern racist, a hillbilly, or a refined flour crunchy snack.  

It is said by many that the name "Florida Cracker" came from Scott-Irish and English descendants and pioneers that moved and settled in the back southern woods.  With them, they brought and bred Spanish Horses for working cattle and ranching.   These folks were later called the Florida Cowboys and Cracker Cowboys because of the Whips they cracked herding the cattle.  Florida is, in fact, the oldest cattle raising state that required these shepherds and handlers mounted on horseback.

As these settlers migrated west for gold and the opportunity for cheaper land , the climate and clothing requirements changed.  The clothing needed to adapt to the environment.  Moving west these settlers experienced wind, snow, and generally blustery conditions.  Some of these items still used today are bandannas, chaps, cowboy boots, and working gloves. 

For more, watch this interesting video and never think of a Florida Cracker the same way again.    Perhaps in my next blog, I'll discuss the history of the Western American Cowboy.  I did not create this video, nor do I claim any rights for this video found on YouTube. here ...   Florida Cracker


  1. Interesting!! And yes, please do a follow up on the American Cowboy. I find it all fascinating- and now fresh on the heels of my jaunt to WY last week (over already?!) I'm hooked. Lovely blog! -Farrah

    1. Thank you so much Farrah. You can always go back!