The frontier trading post

Trading posts were establishments, usually found at key places on trade routes, where goods were both bought and sold. What was most commonly bought by the posts was a valuable commodity yielded in abundance by the rough country of the frontiers: furs of various animals which had been either hunted or trapped. What was bought… Read More

Barbed wire, the invention that tamed the West

An increase in the number of railheads meant that driving cattle long distances was no longer necessary. However the golden age of the cowboy really ended when the open range was divided up and fenced under private ownership. The means for restricting the vast open spaces was a type of fencing which was cheap, easy… Read More

Many rivers to cross

After the Red River, there were nine more rivers to cross on the Chisholm Trail going to Abilene. Washita River Also spelt Ouachita. This is described as one of the most silt-laden streams in North America and its waters are opaque brown over an unstable mud and sand bed. It’s famous for being the site… Read More

Jobs on a cattle drive

Cattle drives generally speaking were tight ships with regard to the personnel involved. Ranches couldn’t spare more men than were necessary, but conversely too few men could be a disaster if any problems were encountered which they almost certainly would be. Trail Boss and Cook The different roles were well defined. Apart from the Trail… Read More

The Chisholm Trail

The Chisholm Trail is possibly the most famous route in the southern USA along which cattle were driven from Texas ranches where they were reared to Kansas railheads where they were sold and transported away to feed the growing population of the North. It was named after the Scottish-Cherokee trader Jesse Chisholm who used it… Read More