Table of Contents

This is one of a
series of paintings
by Robert Butler
that depict
turn-of-the-century scenes from twelve
of Florida's major
agricultural industries.
Cracker Cowman
Florida ranks 10th nationally in the number of beef cows, with more than 1 million head spread among 20,000 herds, some of which are the largest in the country. Florida has four of the nations 15 largest cattle ranches, including the largest in the country with more than 35,000 cows on more than 300,000 acres. Cattle and calves generate annual cash farm receipts of about $300 million in Florida.

All narratives accompanying the paintings were written by Robert Butler.
All rights reserved by the artist.

bullet.gif (943 bytes) Cracker Cowman
bullet.gif (943 bytes) Golden Grove
bullet.gif (943 bytes) Equine Splendor
bullet.gif (943 bytes) Farmers' Harvest
bullet.gif (943 bytes) Fern Garden
bullet.gif (943 bytes) Timber Shadows
bullet.gif (943 bytes) Shipping Cotton
bullet.gif (943 bytes) Ocean Farming
bullet.gif (943 bytes)
Strawberry Patch
bullet.gif (943 bytes) Sugar Harvest
bullet.gif (943 bytes) Tomato Garden
bullet.gif (943 bytes) Beekeeping in the Pines
rule.gif (2885 bytes)
Cracker Cowman

Many cultures of the world take pride in a cattle-based system of value. One of the oldest is the Mashai of Eastern Africa. But until the advance of the more sophisticated cultures of the West, most cattle-based financial systems enjoyed what might be called by modern standards "moderate success."

An enlightened look at the music, art and literature of the Western World will reveal a startling variety of expressions regarding a cattle culture. It seems that etched into Western psyche is an indelible signature left by a peoples relationship with the bovine. The level of bovine management in the Western world has been so skillful that the entire world has copied and thrived on the results.

Men like Lawrence Silas a famed Cracker cowman from Kissimmee, Fla. is but one of many whose sweat and blood created better breeds to feed a growing nation. The family history of many like him played out on the prairie of time, the swamps of trial.

Armed only with an attitude, a horse and dog, and a cowhide whip, the Cracker cowman carved his mark into the tree bark of American history. At the threshold of a new century, cattle remain an integral part of Floridas culture and economy. The "crack" of the whip still rides the wind of Floridas open spaces.

Robert Butler 1999