November 13, 1862
A Substitute for Shoes
An able and
experienced citizen has called our attention to the subject of the use of
cowhide moccasins as a substitute for shoes.
He states that when he moved to the Mississippi, fifty years ago, no shoes were
to be had for the negroes, and they made their own out
of the material, which answered the purpose as well as the more elaborately
made article, and in some respects better.
The process is simple: take a green cowhide, or one well soaked, with
the hair on—which is to go next to the foot—“put the foot down firmly” upon it
and cut out the pattern desired, make the necessary holes along the edge, and
lace it with a thong of the same material at the heel and instep. Let it dry upon the foot, and it accommodates
itself perfectly to the shape of the latter, while it is sufficiently
substantial for all kinds of traveling, and its elasticity is preserved by
use. Socks should be put on when it is
made though it can be worn without, and such allowance be made for shrinking so
as to avoid too tight a fit. The
moccasin, it is scarcely necessary to observe, adapts itself to the shape of
the foot, and the fit is perfect. It
outwears leather, and is not hard, as some might suppose, but quite the
reverse. If desired, it can be half
soled with the same material. The hair
lining gives the advantage of warmth, so that socks, when not to be had, can be
better dispensed with when moccasins are used than if shoes were worn.
person to whom we are indebted for this suggestion says that he has mentioned
the subject to soldiers, who are very much pleased with it, and they say there
is no reason soldiers should go barefoot while so many hides are thrown away in
think the idea a valuable one, and would be glad that every newspaper in the
Confederacy would lend its aid in giving it circulation.
by Sharon Strout]