Cattle Kingdoms & Westward Expansion

Cattle Kingdoms & Westward Expansion
Spanish Origins
*The Spanish first brought cattle & horses to Texas
-By early 1800’s: nearly 1 million wild longhorns in TX
-Spaniards allowed their cattle to roam the plains freely & marked
their cows with a brand to show ownership
Cattle Brands
The First Cattle Ranchers in TX:
-First ranchers: Spanish priests and
-1820’s: Anglos entered the business
& soon adopted ways of SpanishMexican vaqueros – riding, roping,
herding, and branding.
Talk like a Vaquero
-Early ranchers faced many problems:
drought, disease, theft, and finding
markets for their stock
Influence of the Civil War
-Civil War changed the TX cattle
-Union blockade increased need for
food & demand for TX beef
-Blockade made it difficult to ship
beef out of state >>>> industry
declined >>>> longhorns
roamed the plains unattended
Union ironclad the Monitor (1862)
Influence of the Civil War
*End of War marked cattle BOOM!
-New markets opened
-As population grew, demand soared!
-During war, cattle decreased in North & increased greatly in
-By 1865 millions of longhorns roamed TX & worth only $3 to $4
in TX
-In East, sold for $30 to $40 each!! WOW!
*Large supply and high demand created great profits!
*Cattle boom helped TX recover from the war!
Cattle Trails
*Northern demand for beef led to rise of cattle trails
1. Roundup – took place in spring
2. Cowboys drove herds north to towns with rail stations
3. Cattle sent by rail to Northern states where they would be slaughtered
for meat
Cattle Trails
-Unpredictable weather, river crossings, rattlesnakes, stampedes, extreme
heat, Indian attacks, cattle thieves
-Farmers complained the cattle trampled their crops
-Claimed longhorns spread disease called TX fever to their cows
Famous Trails
-Chisholm Trail
-Great Western Trail
-Goodnight-Loving Trail
Lead a Cattle Drive
Life on the Trail
-Cowboys rounded up the cattle in the spring
-Branded and divided cattle into herds
-Average trail herd: 3,000!
-Cowboys ranged from 11-18, including cook and scout, and remuda of fresh horses
-Trail boss (manager) picked route & was responsible for success of drive – made
$100 or more
-Cook received about $75 a month Stock a Chuck Wagon
-Trail hands earned only $25-$40 a month
Life on the Trail
-Herd moved 10-15 miles a day
-guard duty at night
-Most cowboys – teens to early 20’s (small build)
-2 out of 3 was Anglo – rest African Americans, Tejanos, Mexicans, Indians,
and few women!
-Spent up to 36 hrs. straight in a saddle…ouch!
Big Ranches
*Late 1870’s – land & cattle companies owned over HALF the land in West
-Ranchers soon enclosed their land – ending large cattle drives
-King Ranch
-Charles Goodnight’s JA Ranch
-XIT Ranch
*Sheep, goat, and mustang ranches expanded in Texas
Closing of the Western Frontier
-With Indians now on reservations, conflict arose among settlers about open land.
Barbed Wire
-1874: Illinois farmer, Joseph Glidden is credited
with an effective design of barbed wire
-Metal was light, strong, cheap
-Barbed wire changed Texas forever…
Ranchers strung thousands of miles of it across
-The open range no longer existed by the
1880’s. It was fenced in.
Fence Cutting Wars -Landless cattle owners wanted the open
range again where cattle had access to
water and grass - cut fences!
-Threatened ranchers, burned pastures
-Caused damages around $20 million
-1884, Texas made it a felony to cat a
-End of the decade, Rangers brought an end
to fence cutting wars

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