30 And Found

In the settling of the west, cowboys were hired for monthly wages of $30 and found. What did the “found” stand for? Would that be like room and board?

Googled 30 and found.
Top hit.


According to this siteit means food and lodging. See Thesaurus about half way down the page.

I wonder what the etymology of that meaning of ‘found’ is? The dictionaries that give etymologies don’t have that meaning, and the ones that give that meaning don’t have etymologies.

This was the best I could find. No claim to its accuracy!

The OED does not give a direct etymology, but there is a theme one may discover in the various other definitions.

As a noun, found is a nautical term indicating supplies necessary for a voyage. (No indication of its source.)

As a verb, one definition, refers to establishing a city or an institution “esp. with provisions for its perpetual maintenance.”

If the notion of “provisioning” had been brought into the the nautical usage, (late 1700s), then it wound not be a great leap to use it as the word for provisions or supplies.

Brit usage would add the word ‘all’, as in “salary 30 pounds all found”

Essentially the same usage remains in usage for Australian cowboys (known as station hands) to this day.