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The Weekly Holler #3 - Cattle Rustlers, Moonshiners & Cow Shoes

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May 8 · Issue #3 · View online
American Mythology
Welcome to The Weekly Holler. This newsletter is published by Luke Bauserman. Luke grew up in the Appalachian foothills of southeastern Ohio. As a young adult, he worked in a nursing home while studying history in college. During this time, he made friends with and heard many stories from the “old-timers” of his community. Shortly before graduating, Luke won the Randolph Stone Award for Historical Writing from Ohio University. Luke is working on his first novel, an Appalachian folklore fantasy (updates forthcoming). 

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Cicada Story Contest
Image Source: Pixabay.com
Image Source: Pixabay.com
The Cicada Story Contest is still open for entries! (In fact, there have been no entries so far.) This your chance to win the prize. Tell the story of that giant fish you caught using a cicada as bait. Tell about the time you ate one on a dare. Tell any story you want, as long as it has a cicada in it. 
To submit your story, send it via email to madaboz@icloud.com by 11:59pm (EST) Sunday, May 15th, along with your name and mailing address. The prize includes having your story published in The Weekly Holler and a one-of-a-kind trophy (complete with bragging rights) shipped to your door. 
Cattle Rustlers, Moonshiners & Cow Shoes
Photo source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C
Photo source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C
During the Prohibition Era (1919 - 1933), it was illegal to brew, sell, import, or transport alcoholic beverages in the United States. Moonshiners, or blockaders as they were known at the time, worked on the wrong side of the law, making their own whiskey in secluded places and selling it. Popular culture usually depicts these moonshiners as degenerate, illiterate, hillbillies. As with most stereotypes, this wasn’t always the case. On May 27, 1922 a newspaper in Florida printed a story showcasing a piece of moonshiner ingenuity that was likely inspired by none other than Sherlock Holmes. In particular, “The Adventure of the Priory School” (published in the US in 1905).
In the story, Holmes investigates the kidnapping of a duke’s son. After solving the case, Holmes marvels that the kidnapper was able to hide the tracks of his horse so well. In response, the Duke take Holmes to his private collection of artifacts and shows him a unique set of ancient horseshoes, with the following inscription:
“These shoes …  are for the use of horses; but they are shaped below with a cloven foot of iron, so as to throw pursuers off the track. They are supposed to have belonged to some of the marauding Barons of Holdernesse in the Middle Ages.”
The kidnapper had disguised his horse’s tracks by shoeing it with shoes that left cloven, cow shaped prints behind.
It’s likely that a blockader read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s story and applied this idea to his own shoes. If it worked to throw Sherlock off the track of a kidnapper, why wouldn’t it prevent revenue officers from following the footprints of blockaders? 
Photo source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C
Photo source: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C
It’s possible that “The Adventure of the Priory School” also inspired inspired another 1920’s criminal — cattle rustler “Crazy” Tex Hazelwood.
Ranch hands working for the Utah Construction Ranch in northern Nevada were mystified when they noticed that cattle were disappearing on a regular basis, but couldn’t find any sign that it was the work of rustlers.
Determined to solved the mystery, they resolved to watch the cattle more closely. One afternoon, two ranch hands noticed that a pair of cows had gone missing. They saddled up and followed the cows’ tracks into a nearby clearing where they found “Crazy” Tex at work. He had fashioned a pair of cow shoes, and wore them under his boots to hide his tracks. Tex admitted to being a thief and showed the ranch hands how he had practiced walking like a cow to make his disguise more convincing. Tex was arrested and sent to the state pen for a few years. His cow shoes are now on display in the Northeastern Nevada Museum. 
Photo source: Northeastern Nevada Museum
Photo source: Northeastern Nevada Museum
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Next week’s issue features a legendary southern critter.
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