Whip Cracking Demonstration—L.K. Edwards, Junior

Whip Cracking Demonstration—L.K. Edwards, Junior

Description

Fredric Remington introduced Americans to the “Florida Cracker” cowboy in the August 1895 issue of Harper’s Magazine. Remington sketched and wrote about the fiercely independent breed of Florida cattlemen, who herded cattle and battled rustlers along the frontier. For Remington and many of his contemporaries, the Florida they knew resembled a frontier as much as any region of the United States in the late 19th century. The term “cracker” derives from the sound created by the popping of a bull whip. Florida crackers carried whips and used them, along with dogs, to herd cattle on Florida’s wet prairies and scrublands. In this recording, L.K. Edwards, Junior, a third-generation cattleman from Marion County, Florida, demonstrates whip cracking at the 1956 Florida Folk Festival in White Springs. According to Edwards, buckskin “tanned by the Indians” and maintained with oil rendered from cows’ feet made for the best bull whip. He discusses the different sizes, materials and construction styles used to make bull whips, which constitute a long-standing folk art and tradition among Florida cattlemen.

Last updated: October 17, 2014