The Chisholm Trail

Dinner time on the trail with the remuda in the background. (Photos courtesy of Judy Wade)

By Judy Wade

At the end of the Civil War, Texas was an impoverished state. Although no major battles were fought here, damage had been done. Texas had supplied horses, cattle and soldiers to the Confederacy until mid-1863. After that, the Union controlled the Mississippi, making the transfer of men and livestock impossible. Cotton had been a staple crop in pre-war days, but the blockades of the Mississippi and the port of Galveston prevented its sale.

A little cotton was sold to Mexico, but most of the crop was useless. Transportation networks were damaged or destroyed, and imports from the northern factories had ceased. Refugees from the Deep South poured into Texas.

The only things that had thrived during the war were the Longhorns, and there was no market for them. Missouri and Kansas had closed their borders to Texas cattle because of the Texas fever they carried. Countless scores of the beasts not only thrived, but multiplied in the brush of South Texas.
A secessionist state, Texas was under the rule of Reconstruction, and many lost their land when they could not pay their taxes.
Gradually, the sky got a little brighter for the cotton farmers as the market finally got better and labor became available. To read more pick up a copy of the June 2016 issue.