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1870's VERY EARLY COWBOY BOOTS

The Grant County Historical Society was just given a pair of boots from about the late 1870's. A great-granddaughter made the contribution, the family lore regarding these boots was that he wore them when he first came to Dakota Territory in 1880 & filed for a homestead in Hand County near what became the town of St. Lawrence. He had to walk many miles to be able to file his claim & establish his legal presence there at that time. He was issued a Homesteading Cetificate in 1889, signed by President Benjamin Harrison, which we were given also.


Regarding these boots specifically, from the photo you will note certain elements, but there are others I will just describe. These boots followed the style issued to the Union soldiers during the Civil War, then changed due to the influence of the Mexican vaqueros. One basic element was the heel becoming what became known as the " Cuban Heel", so as to not slide through the stirrup. The boots became taller so as to protect the legs from brush. The lower part of the boot was made of thicker leather so that the top of the stirrup did not chafe the foot. The toe of the boots became more square to better accomodate the toes of the person.


These boots were also re-soled using cut nails with square heads. Round wire nails became available in 1900. One can, therefore, safey assume that the resoling occurred in the 1890's.


When we received the boots paper had been stuffed inside each boot. This paper were pages from the Sioux Falls, SD, Argus Leader newspaper, dated 1934. Time for new paper!





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