"One Horse Charley" was an African Cowboy. One Horse Charley was known all over Nevada for his expertise as a rodeo rider able to ride any horse. "Black cowboys or African American cowboys were largely African American freedmen after the Civil War who were drawn to cowboy life, in part because there was not quite as much discrimination in the west as in other areas of American society at the time. Some estimates suggest that in the late 19th century, 20% of all cowboys may have been African American" Black Cowboys Historically, many ex-slaves had the skills of working with cattle. The Vaqueros were skilled in horses and roping. The blending of respective proficiencies between both groups, gave rise to some of the finest cowboys in the Old West. These cowboys worked the cattle ranches and drives from Texas to Southern Florida. However, not all were freedmen after the Civil War. Many of these men were black slaves who had escaped from the plantations in Georgia and South Carolina. They ended up in the territory of the Seminole Indian Nation, as did One Horse Charley. Many rode with the Seminoles to Oklahoma. Cattle and sheep were herded both on foot and from horse back. These black cowboys worked in the northern states of Mexico between the Sierra Madre, they worked the ranches in Texas, and the savannahs of southern Florida. Some ended up fighting in the Mexican Army.

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First posted: June 29, 2014
Last update: Jan 3, 2015