Where did the first American cowboys come from? Texas? The Dakotas? Kansas?
No. Florida. Yes, Florida, although they are not called cowboys, but cowmen or more often just Crackers. Now Crackers will tell you they got their name because they use whips instead of lassoes and it was the cracking whips that gave them their moniker. More likely it comes from the Elizabethan term for a braggart and blowhard. Shakespeare uses the term in his 1595 play, King John: "What cracker is this ... that deafes our ears / With this abundance of superfluous breath?"
In 1763, when Great Britain gained control of Florida, many English American and Scots-Irish immigrated into the Florida back country as settlers. The more “civilized” folks in the port towns called them Crackers for their boasting. Only the toughest folk could survive the heat, mosquitoes and alligators, so maybe the Crackers had a reason to brag.
By the twentieth century “Cracker” will be used as a derogatory meaning “poor white folk.” Now here in Florida it has come to mean a cowboy. I noticed some of the "Crackers" out here are African-American or Seminole Ameridians.
Good thing to. Both the Cracker horse and Cracker cow will be used by off-world homesteaders because of their durability in harsh conditions.
The fight to save the Cracker Cow