SAINT JOHNS COUNTY – Florida Cracker Cattle and Horses are described as of moderate size, brought to Florida in the 1500s by the Spanish. And each year, the St. Johns County Cattlemen’s Association pays tribute to both that date back centuries “just because it has to be done,” said Chuck Stevens, former local association president. There is a need to carry on the tradition of telling the history of Florida Crackers.
As explained in Wikipedia, “In Florida, those who own or work cattle traditionally have been called cowmen. In the late 1800s, they were often called cow hunters, a reference to hunting for cattle scattered over the wooded rangelands during roundups. At times the terms cowman and Cracker have been used interchangeably because of similarities in their folk culture. Today the western term “cowboy” is often used for those who work cattle.
“The Florida “cowhunter” or “cracker cowboy” of the 19th and early 20th centuries was distinct from the Spanish vaquero and the Western cowboy. Florida cowboys did not use lassos to herd or capture cattle. Their primary tools were cow whips and dogs. Florida cattle and horses were smaller than the western breeds. The “cracker cow“, also known as the “native” or “scrub” cow, averaged about 600 pounds (270 kg) and had large horns and large feet.”