Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Oh, this is simply sublime...

Those who know me best know that I am suffering through a severe case of "author's wife syndrome" as my husband pores over stacks of books and documents either from or pertaining to the American West in the last half of the 19th century. Today, he came across something that had us both howling with laughter and clutching our sides. And what caused this mirthful outburst? Well, I'm glad you asked!

The source of this raucous laughter was the origin of the term "maverick" - and there is more to it than you will find on

In the mid-1800's a New England lawyer named Samuel Maverick decided to try his hand at ranching in the San Antonio River Valley, but he was something of a stubborn sumbitch who thought he knew better than everyone else, and refused to brand his cattle. In less than a year, he discovered that his avaricious neighbors and outright rustlers had made off with his stock, so in spite of having good land and plentiful water, he was out of business in a year because he neglected the basics.

Soon the Texans of that era and area were applying the term derisively, to mean a person who was too stubborn or stupid to attend to business and ended up losing their shirt.


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