Texas Cattle Drives

After the Civil War, maverick cattle could be found all over the Texas frontier.  People in the Northeast were not so lucky.  This caused a new industry to emerge in Texas for the first time - The Cattle Industry was born.

Texans could not easily drive their cattle the distance to the markets in New York.  They soon found that they could get their cattle to the trains that were now reaching as far west as Missouri and Kansas.  

Various trails were used from 1866 to 1890.  They included the Sedalia Trail (later called the Shawnee Trail) which ran from South Texas to Sedalia Missouri.  The Chisholm Trail named for fur trader Jesse Chisholm ran from South Texas to Abilene Kansas and later Ellsworth and Dodge City Kansas.  The Great Western also went from South Texas to Dodge City Kansas and later would extend up to Ogallala Nebraska.

While the first three trails ran from Texas to the railroads, the last Goodnight - Loving Trail did not. Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving want to sell directly to consumers so their trail went from just west of Fort Worth south and west to various forts in Texas before continuing to follow forts to sell to them, indians and miners in New Mexico, Colorado and Wyoming.

Although the railroad finally arrived in Fort Worth in 1876, many of the trails continued to be used.  It was not until the invention of barbed wire and the closing of the open range that the trail drive era came to an end.  

Fort Worth still hold twice daily cattle drives down Exchange Street to commemorate their rich cattle history.

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2 years ago

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