The Chisholm Trail
The Chisholm Trail was a trail used in 1800’s to drive Longhorn cattle to Kansas railroads. The trail started in San Antonio, Texas and went to Abilene, Kansas, where the cattle were sold and shipped eastward. The Chisholm Trail was named after Jesse Chisholm. Jesse Chisholm was a skilled trader, guide and an interpreter that spoke English and fourteen different Indian languages. In 1865, Jesse Chisholm hauled wagons loaded with buffalo hides from his trading post near Wichita, Kansas and traded them with Indians and soldiers. His route came to be known as the Chisholm Trail. For the next twenty years, traders and cowboys used this trail to drive up to ten thousand Texas Longhorn Cattle at a time to Abilene, Kansas. The Longhorn Cattle that were shipped to the new world, had adapted for centuries. Living in the wilderness, they learned to survive without human aid. These cattle were immune to many diseases and were able to defend themselves from predators and Indians. One of the downfalls was that the Texas Longhorn cattle tended to carry ticks with them. These ticks carried Texas Fever which was harmless to Longhorns, but was deadly to the other domestic breeds. During the Civil War, millions of Longhorn Cattle grazed in Texas. They were multiplying faster than they were slaughtered. The Longhorns in Texas were worth four dollars, while Longhorns in the North and East were sold for forty dollars a head. Being so wild and dangerous, it took several skilled cowboys to trap a Longhorn. It was said that to kill a Texas Longhorn, one would have to stalk it as you would a deer. To make the drive to Kansas easier, the cowboys mixed Mexican domestic herds with the Texas Longhorn Cattle. The Chisholm Trail stretched eight hundred miles from South Texas to Kansas. It took cowboys about two months to drive cattle to Kansas railroads. For the drive, a rancher would assign a herd of cattle to a trail boss who would hire ten to...
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