tv Early Ranching and Cattle Driving CSPAN April 8, 2018 12:55pm-2:01pm EDT
by name -- for a critic by name. tonight at 90 5 p.m. eastern on c-span two's of tv. -- book tv. idaho governor -- we our guest on the bus on washington journal beginning at 9:30 a.m. eastern. tv,ext, on american history jim gray, rancher and cowboy historian talks about the development of cattle driving and ranching in the 19th century. he discusses the impact of the railroad and other historic events that shaped the industry and by extension the west. the kansas city public library posted this event. it is one hour. welcome.
welcome, everyone. i head up the missouri valley self -- special collection. -- ourcal and regional archives are headquartered just across the hall from this auditorium. in the missouri room, you will find books, articles and photographs documenting kansas city's history. it is a history that begins in the 1870's with the emergence and rapid growth of the kansas city stockyards. cattleds of heads of will receive daily at the stockyards before eventually being shipped by rail to eastern markets. however, before the cattle ever reach kansas city, they had to be driven in large herds from ranches in texas to kansas. teams of drovers, or cowboys had -- herded thousands of heads of cattle hundreds of miles while
under threat from dangerous and often unpredictable weather, stampedes, injuries, sickness, as well as the occasional rifle toting landowner. here today to talk about cattle driving and life on the trail is the cowboy jim gray. , you do not in the name the cowboy if you have not spent a considerable amount of time trail riding and working a ranch. he has done both. he is a fourth-generation rancher and six generation kansan. his great-grandfather established a ranch in 1883. jim carries on the ranching tradition to this day. when not raising cattle he is promoting and preserving the cowboy heritage as executive drovers of the national hall of fame in ellsworth, kansas. he is also cofounder of the cowboy society. cowboy being an acronym for the cockeyed old west band of yahoos.
in addition he also serves on the board of directors for the international chisholm trail association. in 2017 he helped organize the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the chisholm trail. he has also authored a book. his presentation today is titled head'em up and move'em out. please welcome to the kansas city public library, the cowboy, the trail boss, jim gray. [applause] jim: thank you, jeremy. yeah, cockeyed old band of yahoos. that is the way my mind works. years ago i ran a shop in ellsworth. people would come and go.
one day this old fellow came in. he was dressed in a suit, but i could tell by the way he carried himself that he was an old cowboy, probably in his 80's. tall, slender guy. his family had started ranching out in western kansas in the 1880's. my family had done the same in central kansas so we had things in common. it was a slow day, and i said -- and i think we spent a couple of hours telling stories. he got up to leave and as he was going to the door he hesitated, turned and looked back and said, i didn't think anybody cared about this stuff anymore. then he walked out. in truth the whole time i did , not even get his name. it struck me that these stories are dying every day. at that time, i was a younger fellow and i'm getting up to that age were a lot of stories i've got i think about. if i don't tell them, they will just die with me.
so we started the cockeyed old west band of yahoos, basically as a group to preserve these old cowboy stories. that got into the history of the trail driving history of something that i was attracted to because my great-grandfather had been involved with buying texas cattle. his son and uncle of mine had been on the trail. we got a picture of him dressed in his cowboy gear. from the stress of the trail and in and out of close quarters in saloons, he got consumption. he died before he was 30 years old. it was an adventurous life, it could be a boring life. it was a life worth living.
i got into these old trail driver stories and that led me into this greater story. museums all across the great plains and find stories about the trail drivers and about the trails themselves but in most cases, they specifically focus on perhaps a or a drover or two ranching concern. it is localized. the national rancher hall of fame is something we felt was necessary to tell the whole story, the greater story of the drover. drover is a term that was founded in england. a herd of referring to sheep or or a flock of any other type of animal having
its own designation, everything was a drove. of sheep,have a drove a drove of geese, a drove of cattle. if you moved them from one place to the other, you were a drover. that culture was brought over to our colonies and established .tself very early on the early markets for livestock were boston and new york and the roads to them were the drover roads and even today, there are old drover inns that can be found in the colonial part of our country. , droverser experience really were our frontiersmen. everyone who was pushing the frontier usually ran livestock
in open areas, and in order to get any income from those livestock, they had to turn around and drive them back to the market. frontiersmen were usually drovers as well as frontiersmen. this drover system pushed its way down the coast and into the carolinas and eventually all the , andown into louisiana then over into texas where it the in to contact with spanish culture. theyone will tell you that ,owboy comes from the mexicans but that is only part of the truth because our american cowboy is a hybrid of the english culture meeting with the
spanish culture in south texas and southwest louisiana. examples that show that it is a hybrid is just in words. corral and pen. the english penned their livestock and control them. the spanish liked the open range. the only time they gathered them up, they corraled then to control them. you've got this dual line which you can -- dual language you can follow. to kansasily had come out of ontario and became cattlemen and i grew up
referring to everything as pens and yet neighbors not that far away utilized the word corral. a unique way of looking at all of this history. of the cattleays texas, -- let me 1845 and the statehood of texas, and then you had this huge push out of the state for settlement into texas coming out of missouri, down across indian territory and into texas. that route was known as the texas road and it just cut the corner going into southwest missouri and in the corner of kansas and then on down into .exas
almost right away, texas cattlemen recognize the opening of that road was a perfect route for them to return the cattle to the east to better markets. by 1846, they were already cattle on the texas road. -- there were already cattle on the texas road. the route became known as shawnee cattle trail. at the same time, there was a very strong connection with louisiana so that a lot of those early texas cattle were being driven to new orleans. new orleans was a huge cattle market and a lot of beef was being slaughtered for consumption, and when they would had --way whatever they
whatever they could not market, it was just going into the river. realized thatn the yellow fever that was so devastating to the new orleans area was somewhat being helped -- by thisis on unsanitary way of butchering beef. a lot of the early drovers that went into louisiana neither did not make it home or died soon after they brought yellow fever back into texas from louisiana. cattle began to go in larger numbers of the shawnee trail -- up the shawnee trail. that was going well. you had this drover wrote economy, whole economies would build up along the road. farmers would fence off pastors and put up hay.
you could turn your cattle into a pastor and feed them and stay overnight in the barnes. inns began to develop up in the colonies. that was going on really well. cattle had begun going up the trail as early as 46. 1845, something brought a lot of this to a screeching halt. , not thegan to die texas cattle but the domestic curds that were being pastored near the trail -- being pastured near the trail. everyone recognized that the domestic cattle were getting sick just a short time after the cattle from texas had been driven to the country, so they knew it was coming from the texas cattle, they just did not know why. they had all kinds of ideas. some of them thought they carried something on their hose
out of texas and poisoned the grass. some people thought there were spores growing inside the intestines of the cattle like mushrooms, but nobody knew for sure. all everybody knew was it was texas cattle. what was known in texas as spanish fever became known as texas cattle fever in the north begun a limited the problem by corrine -- eliminate the problem by quarantine so you could not drive texas cattle through the , through theouri summer months, right up until october. one of the things they had discovered -- texas fever had
been known for a -- for years prior to 1845 but -- 1854, that it had not been as devastating as it had been. one of the things they realize was over the years, a heavy frost, a cold winter and something about the cold did away with the texas cattle fever. it sterilized animals. if you could show that you wintered your cattle over in the north, then you were allowed to drive through the country. in 1856, 1857, the cattle coming up out of texas all seemed to be clean from the texas fever and fellas that have their documents to show they had wintered over in the north, all of these
things in the place, the quarantine idea died down until in 1858, it struck again and created all of this upheaval in the cattle business. and ofame the civil war course texans were not going to travel -- drive their cattle north to support the yankees and they were welcome anyway. the whole thing shutdown and came to a close. something that i have not studied but would like to is that even though we think of this trail driving industry as coming to a stop during the civil war years, actually there had to have been a great number of drovers in the north driving large herds of domestic cattle to support the moving armies. cattle and hogs were being driven along in support of the army's and butchered on the spot
to keep those armies fed. there was a lot of that going on that i am not well versed in but is worthy of more research. texas, thetime, in idea is put out that all of these ranches or just abandoned for all of these guys to go fight the war and to some extent, that happened, but it was not just wholesale abandonment. there were people out there keeping the ranches going, but it was not overwhelming. by the time the war was over, a lot of these branches had fallen hadranches -- ranches fallen into near ruin. ranch operations
were devastated financially. confederate money was worth .othing forhad cattle that had been many years and were not branded. there was an opportunity to start all over. all you had to do was have a good horse and a good rope and some pens you could get those cattle into and go out and capture them. a fellow by the name of jim cook left an account of just such a thing. 1871, a fework in years after the trail driving industry had taken back off. he went to work for a slaughter branch -- slaughter ranch down in san antonio. the first thing that happened when he got there.
a young northerner, no experience, but these cowboy said you will get a job with us. the first thing that happened when he got there was they went on a cow hunt. we talk about roundups, they did not gather them or round them up, they hunted them. they were wild animals. and het them on a horse said i don't know what i am doing and they said don't worry about it. he said they have been doing it for generations and you just follow their lead and do what they do and when things get to rolling, you let that horse do his work. they went out into the brush country. these cattle are wild animals. during the day, they are brushed up in the brush. you don't see them. they are hidden, like dear. -- like deer.
at night, they work their way out onto the open prairie. settling,ings were the sun is drifting low, the -- they led john cook and these other young cowboys out onto the prairie. as they rode toward the brush, they split and one lying went to the left and the other went to the right and he began to sing a little tune that he called the texas lullaby. i wish somebody had made a recording of it. we don't know exactly what it was but it was just kind of a soft melody that kept everything quiet and at the same time, everyone knew where everyone was in that deep brush and so did the cattle. as they rode in, they closed that circle in and once the circle was closed, the signal was given and all of the writers
word-- riders turned in and be cattle in that brush moved away from them. forwarditing -- riding and pretty soon he can hear hooves in front of him and he can hear horns crashing into the brush and his horses picking up a little bit of speed and as he rode along, there was nothing he was full sleeve -- full speed and they are riding through and finally, they come out and this is all in the dark, and they come out onto the open prairie and they got all these cattle out there and he looked down and about every piece of clothing he had was
ripped because of the mesquite foreign and the brush -- mesquite thorn and brush. collart a leather breast around the horse so he was protected. if they are the right kind of horse, they don't like to be beat. that is the kinds of horses they were using on this and when they charged after those cattle, those cattle are not going to go anywhere but that way. what he was writing -- riding. brown, theye all had turned white from the brush brushing up against him. the next thing they do is they cattledecoy herd of tame
and they would drive these wild cattle into the tame cattle and then they could move them towards the pens. corral was not like a small something, it was a whole pastor -- pasture. acrescribed it as 600 that they would drive them. loose.uld turn them this is split rail fencing. somebody had to go out there and build these miles and miles of pens. the cattle pen would be collected over a period of time. upy would get them branded and if they were going to go north with them, they would actually have to go into the county seat and get a special
registration for a road brand for them to go north. would mix these herds together and the road brand would help identify your specific set of cattle. so they would get all of that in is, this ise thing february 18. they are doing that right now in january or february. as the green grass would begin to take off, that is when they started north up the trail. the cattle trails up into insouri, you will hear
sedalia, but prior to that, they were going to st. louis. sometimes they would drift off and go to hannibal or drift north to chicago. when these guys came up the trail, they got to the border around baxter spring and they could not go any farther because the quarantines that have been put in place, the local county sheriffs would not allow you to enter their county. across theld not get state of missouri, there was a market here in kansas city. it started to develop in the 1850's out of westport and eventually kansas city itself took over the cattle market in this area. they came up with the military road which is basically from fort leavenworth to fort scott gibson.
that militarye road north to kansas city but the problem was it was almost like a no man's land on the border of missouri and kansas city after the war -- kansas after the war. they could turn into missouri and run into county sheriffs and bushwhackers. if they turned up the military road, they would run into former jay hawker's doing the same thing. the --d was writing up riding of the military road and was shotr -- rider right out of the saddle and they stampeded the cattle. he was only like 19 years old and they took his heard from him and then decided they were going
court him in a kangaroo for bringing diseased cattle into the country and decided he was worthy of execution. one of the guys felt bad enough for him that he talked everybody out of it and all they did was whip him and turned him loose. north a problems going with the cattle. how do we get them to the markets? mccoy,ung guy, joseph -- she with the idea found out there is a brand-new railroad going across kansas. it was just open prairie out there and there are a few trails going across kansas to santa fe and denver but there is no railroad except a brand-new one that is being built and by the
time the cori is talking about doing this, it has reached the mccoy isy the time talking about doing this, it has reached the town of -- he talked about putting a cattle depot along the railroad, then the drovers can come straight north out of texas on this open prairie and get to the railroad and buyers can come out of st. louis and chicago and get to the same depot and the buyers and sellers are all brought together in one place and those cattle can be loaded onto railcars and shipped back east. eventually, he settles on a little town that provided him the space that he needed to build his cattle depot, that was
abilene, kansas. he sent runners south to tell the drovers that his new market was open. what happened was he started doing that in june of 1867. he had to go to st. louis, talk to the head of the missouri specifics. that did not turn out too well. the guy did not think you get the job done and kicked him out. he made arrangements with the kansas city railroad to get a siting bill and he had to get an extension on the rails to chicago. he had to build his stockyards. the build a hotel. he did all of that by september 5, he shipped his first load of cattle. from june to september.
by the end of that season, they had shipped 35,000 head of cattle. it was a tremendous success. greate becomes our first kansas cattle town on the everything just exploded. they talk about how wild and wooly cowboys are but that how much there is to do in the first place. when they got to abilene, there and almosttle saloon nothing else, so they got paid for the cattle and they went home. they did not raise heck. when they went home with gold in their pockets, they did not accept paper money. they usually put false bottoms in wagons and carried their gold home.
they spread the word around texas, was going on. sales-- news about the went back to kansas city and st. louis and chicago and they told the same story about the money changing hands in abilene. the next spring in 1868, you could hear the echo of the justr as buildings were springing up like crazy. by 1868, cattle were flooding in early on, there was a pretty good market but then it kind of fell into the -- potentially, it was going to collapse on mccoy. he came up with this idea and picked out a group of top drovers that had come up the trail, the very best he could find. he sent them out to a little
kansas, whereral russell, kansas is located today. cars there --ute railcars there and sent these cowboys out to drove buffalo and wild mustang and anything they could find and they loaded them onto these cars. one of those cowboys was johnson, his great uncle. he ended up drowning in a river crossing a few years later but he was one of the top cowboys in that state. was to draw idea attention to abilene and this was an exciting way to do it. he shipped all of these cars
back to st. louis with these wild animals and they put on virtually the first wild west road. cowboys robing mustangs in the roping-- robing -- mustangs in the arenas. he went at the chicago and did the same thing and he also made a deal with the kansas pacific to provide an excursion trains of the could be like tourists. they saw the great herds of buffalo in western kansas, and it worked. it brought all of these buyers to abilene and he was able to get the market back going where hiseeded to be to keep cattle coming up out of texas and buyers coming to abilene. through this whole thing working really well, there is so much to this story. the quarantine, there was a line was justine
west of abilene but it was not just because the governor of the state of kansas felt that this was a great economic boom for the state, so they overlooked it. then the settlers began to come in around abilene and overtime, began to fill up the prairies around it. a lot of people will tell you that the cattle towns moved west with the railroad. it depends on the situation, that is not exactly right because abilene's biggest year was 1871. 600,000 head of cattle came north out of texas. they did not go -- they did not all go to abilene, abilene could not handle them. that is when the work spread out.
the santa fe railroad was just building across kansas itself and when they got to the santa fe trail south of abilene, they built a new town. the new townthe new town of new. it became a cattle town. cattle went north as far as schuyler, nebraska looking for stockyards to ship out of. to handle this tremendous overflow of cattle, they were being spread all over the country but at the same time, the railroad reached denver, colorado by 1870. the cattle towns did not move west with the railroads. the railroads had gone to denver by 1870 good in 1871 abilene was the big market. also, by 1871, that is when the settlement was coming in so
strong that the settlers began to enforce that quarantine. they basically wrote a letter that they published in the papers in texas telling the drovers do not come back. from 1871 into 1872, the new markets were newton and ellsworth. what really drives these cattle towns from one town to the next is the quarantine. the texas fever. this thing continues to follow one cattle town after another. newton only lasts a couple of -- if any of you know about newton's history there is a huge mennonite influx. they are proud of their mennonite history.
the farmers came in and pushed the drovers out. by that time, they had built a track to wichita and wichita had been thirsting for the cattle trade ever since it came north. in 1867, when the first herds came north to abilene, that trail passed right by jesse chisholm's cabin at the little arkansas river and the arkansas river. in 1878 wichita was built at that location. wichita becomes a new market and competes with ellsworth for the west on the kansas pacific as the railroad and santa fe is wichita's railroad. they compete. the same thing happens. the settlers move in and ellsworth loses its market.
ellsworth's last year was 1875. wichita's last year was 1876. everything shifted further to the west. the santa fe railroad ends up being the source of shipping cattle at dodge city. a brand-new trail opened up. the western trail opened up -- the first fellow, -- the first up was 1874. he passed all the way north to fort robinson, nebraska with a cattle contract. 1875, they are still using the chisholm trail, mostly. by 1876 the western trail pretty much takes over as the route to go north and to going to dodge city. they also went north to ellis, kansas and to nebraska.
those folks at dodge city cannot stand to see those cattle passing them by. they were doing a good brisk business with the cowboys, but a lot of them are just passing by. going to ellis are north to nebraska. what are we going to do about this? they put together a group of people and went to topeka and did good old-fashioned lobbying and got the quarantine line moved west of ellis and they killed the ellis market. [laughter] but they cannot do anything about nebraska so a lot of cattle continued north. the reason they continued north was not just for shipping. that was the case, even with the beginning of the trade. this cattle trade evolved over the years.
what began as big steers coming north later on becomes a mix of different classes of cattle. by the time they hit ellsworth in the early-middle 1870's, you have steers coming north, two-year-old steers coming north, cows and the big fact cattle coming north. you had all kinds of things you could do with the cattle, just like what we do at the cattle markets. a lot of those cattle, a lot of pin the shipping numbers to how successful the towns were. in the years were ellsworth and wichita were competing, wichita shipped more cattle but ellsworth, like in 1873, they
they had a hundred and 73 -- they are hundred and 73,000 on their ranges. they only ship somewhere in the neighborhood of 30,000 south. what happened to the other cattle? buyers were coming together in ellsworth with the cattlemen. a lot of them were young cattle that were being driven north to what they call the territories, north and west, into colorado, wyoming, montana into the dakotas to be grown out on the grass out there. that is how cheyenne became so famous and so popular. those fat cattle that have been brought up a few years earlier into the north were now ready to be marketed. they were shifted to cheyenne. they were shifted to cheyenne and then sent back east that way. you also had big herds of just cows that would come north. folks will tell you the stories about the cowboys and homesteaders not getting along
good it happened. i have a story. i met a fellow out in western kansas once his grandfather was a drover. he told me that he was coming up the trail, the western trail and they were driving towards his homestead. , these kids came running out of the corn patch and they were throwing blankets in the air and the cattle just stampeded. was gone and he told the kids, if any herds come up, protect the cornfield. he rolled over to those kids and said i turned the sky-blue cussing them. then i rode on after the cattle and we got them all collected. i got to thinking, one of those
gals is kind of cute. darn if he did not go back to make sure if he was right or not. the old guy was telling story, he said that was my great-grandmother. they did not get along, and they did get along. these guys coming up the trail cows,towels -- with they had baby cows born on the trail. there are not panning the bulls away from the cattle. you have cows being born year-round. whenever they have baby cows born, i have been raised in the cattle business and one of the things we know you cannot do is drive a cow and calf. the cow is constantly turning around to look back at her calf. you cannot get them to move forward. the only thing they can do is to kill the calves.
they hated killing the cows just as much as anybody else but it had to be done to move the herd forward. the farmers figured it out that calves.e killing the i don't know if the cowboys went to the farmers or they were figuring it out they showed up , whenever they were driven through and they would come up. they would rather give those calves away then kill them. so a lot of early herds were started because of that. the whole cattle business, it is maturing and growing. if you went on, a trail with 1200 head of cattle on the old shawnee trail, that was a big heard. you might find a few herds that were larger than that, but a lot of those herds were 500 or 600
head. by the time you get to the mature business going up the western trail, you would see 3000 head in a heard. generally managed by the same number of drovers as there would have been in the early days. they had gotten that much better at handling them than they did in the early years. and :00 and as wrangler to handle the horses ad that was a good crew -- dozen cowboys and :00 -- and a c wrangler to handle the horses and that was a good crew. the whole thing kept shifting to the west. eventually, the state of kansas
-- passed a law quarantined the whole state of kansas. no more cattle being driven through the state. there was a fellow by the name of mark culver. he was hanging out there for years and he tried to bring the first heard through in 1886 to dodge city. he said when he got to the kansas state line -- by this time, and a lot of these guys started their own ranches out of texas. there were ranches everywhere. some of these guys were good friends. they were sitting on horseback. every one of them had a winchester rifle in hand. he called it the winchester quarantine. they said, no father, you are not going any farther. all he could do was turn to his cowboys and told them to bend them west and he took them around the corner of kansas and took them up to the kansas line on the colorado side. they started a town called trail
city. they were hoping it would be the new dodge city. at the same time, all of these ranchers, drovers out of texas, wyoming, the whole country, have established their own cattle associations. for the first time they all came together in st. louis. the idea was that they would get the federal government to build a national trail at the colorado line all the way into the territories in the north. no settlement could be made inside those boundaries for that trail. dot was what they tried to through this bringing together of all the cattlemen in st. louis. it is the first time the beef industry became a national industry. they cannot get the government to do it. it fell by the wayside. the trail driving continued on into the territories but it is
really dropping off. by the 1890's there are still a few herds they go north to montana and run the young cattle and'st them fat on grass ship them out of cheyenne. most of that is pretty well gone . all because of this quarantine against texas cattle fever. they figured90's, out what texas cattle fever was. does anyone know what it was? ticks. there was a tick that lived on the south coast of louisiana, texas down into mexico that carried a blood disease that was deadly to the cattle. the texas cattle that lived in association with them for so long developed their own
communities -- their own immunities. the northern cattle did not have any immunities. in the wintertime they did not carry the disease. ks backoy knew it was tic in 1868. he was invited to a special conference here in missouri to discuss what was causing texas cattle fever. these scientists have those ideas and mccoy says i think it is the ticks. he said when the cattle came up out of the coast they were sometimes covered with so many ticks that the sun would just shimmer and they would turn colors. the ticks would drop off into the grass having thousands of babies and those babies are carrying the disease to the brand-new cattle they were crawling up on. once they figured out what it was, then they knew how they could fix it. a fellow by the name of richard
king, king ranch in south texas, still in operation, had been dipping sheep in a trench of water and insecticide. they were dipping them for scabies. he noticed that when there was ticks on the sheep they died too. he says, i got the answer. they began dipping those cattle, no more ticks on the cattle, no more texas cattle fever. what i want you to think about is, had they known that it was a tick back when they were first going up the shawnee trail in 1854 when it first hit so bad, then they could have dipped to those cattle and that cattle business would not have been shifted further west. abilene, too
ellsworth, to wichita. abilene was just a little backwater town before joseph mccoy came along. it may never have become the home of a president. wichita is the air capital of the world. but where would it have been if it had not been first on the chisholm trail. dodge city is the cowboy capital of the world and it may never become anything famous, all because of a little tick that hitched a ride on a texas steer and changed all of our history. i thank you for coming today. if you have questions we have a microphone over here. [applause] >> we will invite questions if
you have any. i do have one. thank you for being here. because of film and literature there is a lot of mythology surrounding cattle drives and cowboys, drovers. can you name what is the biggest misconception as far as the life of a cowboy, or on cattle drives. or one of the biggest myths or mythologies from film and literature. jim: probably, i don't if it is so much about the cowboys, but when you see most cattle drivers on film, they are almost running, or they may be running. it is the same thing with riding a horse. most of the time you see cowboys riding at a gallop. it is a very slow-paced culture. i was on a cattle drive to
ellsworth in 2011. we spent three weeks on the trail. i got so used to being in the saddle. i did not want to quit. people tell you what a boring life, but for me it was a great life. i did not want to quit but at the end of the drive i had to go home. it was a sunday morning, not much traffic on the road and i got in my car and drove out on the highway. i must have gone over a mile before i realized i was only doing 35 miles per hour. [laughter] jim: i had to force myself to go faster. >> i have two questions. first of all, would you explain the importance of quincy, illinois? jim: i'm not familiar with quincy. >> i am reading a book about the trails and quincy is mentioned quite often.
i know you mentioned hannibal. jim: i am not as familiar with the feeding part of things. i would think that what is going on is they were driving them to st. louis to hannibal and probably to quincy because that is where they would come into contact with the farmer feeders to go ahead and feed these cattle for fattening. that is my best guess. but i would say that is what is going on there. >> second question. i have nephews and a brother-in-law who all live in wyoming. two of my nephews are attorneys there, quite proud of them. they gave me this cowgirl hat. we were there for the big rodeo. they told me that this is
typical of the wyoming hat. is that correct? [laughter] jim: everyone will tell you you a cowboy -- where he is from by the style of his hat. that is kind of an intermountain region style. i suppose that is what you would say is a wyoming hat. you have the buckaroos out farther west who where the flat brim with a low crown. the hat i am wearing is more of a -- some people call it a will james style hat. >> we also went to the dimon ranch, which is awesome in wyoming. just it quick tidbit, when i was a collegiate at the university
of missouri and we had our fall homecoming, we tried to sell western hats. missouri style cowgirl, cowboy hats to get some sort of theme going. it went over like a lead bullet. [laughter] >> i wonder a few would talk a little bit about the chuckwagon on the drives and how efficient efficient andnot maybe talk about the cook, what his duties were besides feeding the drovers. jim: what is interesting about chuckwagon culture is it is actually a later development of the cattle driving industry. when they drove to louisiana and the shawnee trail, they did not have chuckwagons.
they basically carried their cooking goods individually in a tarp packet that held over the back of the saddle. wheelvolved into the two car that came up the trail. joseph mccoy is the author of the first real history of the cattle industry. trade off the cattle the west and the southwest. their he has a draw -- in the re he has a drawing of what he calls a a cooking camp. two wheeled cart being pulled by an oxen. the book was published in 1874.
even by 1873, when he is putting that book together, the chuckwagon is not common enough at the end of the trail that it is in his book. goodnight is credited with coming up with the chuck wagon, which took a military wagon and covered it on the back. that is when it began to take off. i suppose from his usage of the trail into new mexico and into colorado, that it finally spread west, or maybe when he took it back home too. the chuckwagon finally becomes popular. the trail boss is pretty much in charge of where the herd goes. to a large extent that cook had a lot of power on the trail because he's the guy that's going to feed you. the idea was you did not want
the cook to be mad at you. everybody did what they could to keep the cook happy. he was known to be a grumpy fella. why wouldn't he be? he gets up at 3:00 in the morning to cook a meal so you can be on the trail before daybreak. it is an interesting way in which the trail drives were handled. a lot of times it depends upon the image you are given. they will show a chuckwagon at the back of the trail heard. herd.e back of the trail that would depend. they would pick up and move out before the herd would even take off. he is moving on to the next point. he not only took care of the cooking but he was the doctor and so many other things. it was the home base. it was home for the cowboys. he did not ride a horse anywhere
near that chuckwagon because you do not want dust flying. cooking know that the was that clean. >> did he sleep in the chuckwagon? jim: i don't think anyone ever slept in -- other than shelter in particular storms. most of the time they slept on the open ground or they would have a kansas cover that would reach out from the end of the chuckwagon to give more protection and people could sleep under there. one of the stories that i had gotten was how, when these guys come up the trail, they are only 12, 13, 14 miles a day. what they would do is, in the morning when they would throw the cattle, they would take them
off the browned and graze them and get water and put them back on the trail. the trail was just like a road. they would walk them for five or six or seven miles. then it is time to rest. the chuckwagon would go on ahead and there would be a short camp, a quick cap in the middle of the day. the cattle would get a chance to rest, graze, water. while they were doing that they get a light meal off the wagon. camp would last for about does go guys would crawl hours. underneath the wagon and take a little snooze. then they would throw the cattle back on the trail, walk them another five or six or seven miles. by late afternoon they are ready for the evening camp and everything starts all over again. >> no matter what walk of life
it is always a good idea to stay on the good side of the cook. [laughter] >> i want to thank everyone for coming out today. jim has some literature on the national drover hall of fame. i believe he has a few copies of ellsworth. i believe he will talk to you about it and maybe sell a few copies. we will take one more question. >> you talk about the economy, what was the price per head on these cattle? either what was the price in texas, or were they free if you gathered them? what was the price at the railhead? jim: we are talking about a 20 or 30 year period of time. things change. in the beginning, right after the war, they could be free for the taking. as long as you got your brand on them. to sell them in
texas, they were usually only worth what the high was worth. they talk about going on the cow hunts and kill an animal for meat for the evening. they are only worth two or three dollars in texas. the same animal driven north was the incentive to go north. i did not talk about -- during the gold rush in california there were cattle driven all the way to california in the 1850's. the late 1840's into the 1850's. they could be worth $35 to $45 a head depending on the size of the animal. a tremendous difference between two dollars and three dollars to $35 or $45. >> thank you for coming out. let's give jim a hand. [applause] jim: thank you very much. [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2018] [captioning performed by the
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