AfricanCowboy Header

photo of One horse Charlie


More: One Horse Charlie
and other cowboys

The job of a bronco buster was to tame a wild horse, so that it would get use to people and could be used to pull a wagon, or ride. Some times a bronco buster might tame a horse, but no one else could ride it. That’s how ONE HORSE CHARLIE got his name. He was a rodeo rider know all over Nevada.“One Horse Charley” was the nickname of a noted AfricanCowboy who rode with the Shoshone Indians.


The history of the AfricanCowboys began long before the establishment of large ranches with cattle grazing in the late nineteenth century. Gambia and some other African countries were known to be lands of large cattle herds with the African people possessing innate skills in controlling and managing the movement of the Cattle and other animals.

They were not called cowboys at that time, but merely herders. Throughout the slave trade, ranchers and farmers (slave owners) with large herds of cattle in the lower south were attracted to this particular groups that had been captured in those African countries. Once purchased prior to the Civil War, the slaves began to hunt and work cattle in the tall grass, pine barrens, and marshes of South Carolina and other sections of the Lower South in groups on what was then called cattle plantations.

A few were mounted, but most used dogs, bullwhips, and salt to manage cattle. The pine barrens extended westward through Georgia and northern Florida, the Gulf of Mexico, southern Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and into the grazing lands of southeast Texas. As more and more cattle farmers moved westward with their herds and slaves, more and more slaves escaped into the northern states of Mexico, between the Sierra Madre where the principal occupation was cattle and sheep herding.

The ex-slaves swapped skills with the Vaqueros. They taught the Vaqueros the skills of controlling cattle, and the vaqueros taught the ex-slaves the skills of horseback riding and roping. From this group came some of the best cowboys to work the ranches in Texas, and to ride the cattle trail northward. Another center of AfricanCowboys prior to the movements westward to Texas was in the savannahs of southern Florida.

This group was made up mostly of black escapees from the plantations in Georgia and South Carolina into the Seminole Indian Nation. They became herdsmen on foot and horseback. Many in this group went to Oklahoma with the Seminoles, and subsequently with their leader, John Horse and the Seminole Chief Wild Cat, to Mexico where their skills were used in herding cattle as well as fighting with the Mexican army.

Probably the largest contingent of AfricanCowboys just prior to and immediately after the Civil War could be found in the wide coastal prairie of coarse grass, groves of trees, wooded creeks, and bayous along the Gulf below Houston, Texas from the Guadalupe River eastward to Louisiana.

For more info: on the Black Cowboys



previous pg.23 | Next pg.25

Home pg.1 | pg.2 | pg.3 | pg.4 | pg.5 | pg.6 | pg,7 | pg,8 | pg.9 | pg10. | pg.11
pg.12 | pg.13 | pg.14 | pg.15 | pg.16 | pg.17 | pg.18 | pg.19 | pg.20 | pg.21
pg.22 | pg.23 | pg.24 | pg.25 | pg.26 | pg.27 | pg.28 | pg.29 | pg.30 | pg.31
pg.32 | pg33 | pg.34 | pg.35 | pg.36 / 24.One Horse Charlie text.html

Emerson R. Terry /
Skype /emersonrterry / Copyright © 1997
Revised: March 30,1998 Revised: 2009
Revised / Revised 2011