TWO NATIVE AMERICAN OR POSSIBLY AFRICAN AMERICAN COWBOYS

black-cowboysThis Cabinet card pictures, what appears to be, two Native American or possibly African American cowboys wearing their cow punching clothing. The cowboy on the left is wearing a western hat, a neckerchief, and  wooly chaps. I do not know what he wearing over his lower arms and wrists. The cowboy on the right has his western hat, neckerchief, and is wearing spurs on his boots. The photographer is Elliott of Marion, Iowa. Marion was established in 1839 and named after popular figure General Marion. The courthouse in Marion was the location of the recruitment of nine full companies which fought for the Union in the Civil War. The area was known as the most patriotic part of Iowa.

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. The two”African-American” cowboys you describe are obviously Native American to anyone with reasonable eyesite. Check your facts.

  2. I THINK THAT YOU ARE LIKELY CORRECT IN YOUR OPINION THAT THESE COWBOYS ARE NATIVE AMERICAN AND NOT AFRICAN AMERICAN. IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO BE SURE OF THEIR ETHNIC ORIGIN (IE PERHAPS THEY ARE HISPANIC). THANK YOU FOR YOUR COMMENT. IT IS DIFFICULT TO CHECK ONES FACTS WHEN DEALING WITH PHOTOGRAPHS THAT ARE OVER A HUNDRED YEARS OLD AND HAVE NO ACCOMPANYING IDENTIFYING INFORMATION. DESCRIBING THE PEOPLE AND SCENARIO IN CABINET CARDS WILL ALWAYS INVOLVE SUBJECTIVE JUDGEMENT. CABINET CARDS TELL PHOTOGRAPHIC STORIES ABOUT HISTORY AND IT IS OUR INTERPRETATIONS ABOUT THESE IMAGES THAT ADD TO THE PLEASURE OF VIEWING THESE HISTORIC PHOTOGRAPHS. THANKS AGAIN. I AM APPRECIATIVE OF YOUR FEEDBACK. BRUCE MARSH

  3. Enjoy this site very much. For me, the gaps in knowledge about who the subjects were only enhances the tantalizing aspect of the photos. Westerners of the past were not limited to one line of descent – conceivably the young men above could have been of mixed Native American, African, Spanish, French, and Scottish heritage (to name only a few possibilities)?

  4. I am working on a book of American fashion of the same period. In all likelihood, the young men in the photo were “dressing up” to pose as cowboys.

    SJR
    The Pink Flamingo

  5. The leather cuffs on the cowboys’ wrists are probably some sort of protective apparel, intended to protect the wearer from scratches, rope burns, or the like. If one were tp Google “cowboy gear” I bet an explanation would be found. Interesting thought, that the sitters might be “dressing up” for the photo. Altho’ there were African-American cowboys, and cowboys of mixed-ethnicity. I’m not sure how one can tell if the young woman in the first photo shown in this set is indeed African American.

  6. Do you have a high resolution version of these two gentlemen? I am working with an artist who is making a Christmas card for me using a cabinet card and photos of my two dogs. Thank you for any leads on using this image or purchasing a digital copy for you. Your blog is fantastic.


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