Hillsborough County writer Don Looper's book of poetry, "Lament of the Cracker Cowboy: Rhymes and Reflections from the Florida Cattle Country," recalls Florida cowboy traditions and the background of the state's cattle industry -- the oldest in America... Florida had the beginnings of a cattle industry by the end of the 16th Century. -- Get Up and GO Magazine, June 1999
From the Author
On a more personal level, I was struck by the historical ties between Florida and my home state. Towns I knew as a boy in Oklahoma -- Seminole, Wewoka, Bowlegs -- had Florida Indian names. The removal of Seminoles to the West is a well-known story, but most people don't realize that some western Indians were exiled to Florida in the 19th Century. Geronimo and his band of Apaches were removed to Florida in the 1880's before being remanded to Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where the old chief died after several years. Undoubtedly the most unpopular import from Oklahoma was the screwworm, which cowmen believe entered Florida with shipments of dust bowl cattle in the 1930's.
For these reasons I am writing about the Florida cowboy. Others are working the same ground, of course. But the Florida cattle story is still not well known, in the state or elsewhere. I hope that my writings will inform, and further that they might achieve the goal of most writers, to entertain.