Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Origin of the Dawes Commission

The treaty status of the Five Civilized Tribes and a few other tribal groups exempted them from the requirements of the Dawes Severalty Act of 1887. But the majority of whites, committed to the triumph of what they called progress, saw the effect of allotment in other places and wanted the same for Indian Territory. They immediately began to insist that their federal government not allow treaties with Indians to slow the march of civilization.

In 1893, Congress responded to this demand and approved what came to be known as the Dawes Commission. On November 1 of that year, President Grover Cleveland appointed Henry L. Dawes of Massachusetts, Meredith H. Kidd of Indiana, and Archibald S. McKennon of Arkansas to lead the commission.[1]

Note

[1] Caroline Davis, "Education of the Chickasaws, 1856-1907," Chronicles of Oklahoma 15, no. 4 (1937): 435; Kent Carter, "Dawes Commission," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org (accessed April 18, 2018).

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Dawes Severalty Act of 1887

The Dawes Severalty Act of 1887 opened a tragic new chapter in the history of Native America. This federal legislation sought to end tribal land ownership and allot parcels of land to individuals. It was named for U.S. Senator Henry L. Dawes of Massachusetts, the champion of severalty for Indians. For this reason, the Dawes Act was sometimes called the General Allotment Act.

The law was a central component of the federal government's plan to "detribalize" Indians, to "individualize" them. Ideally, each allotment of land would become a family farm or ranch. In essence, the Dawes Act sought to turn Native Americans into American homesteaders. As historian Robert M. Utley explains, many federal officials believed that "once the individual had broken free of the tribal heritage," he would then be free to "leap into the mainstream of American life." Eventually, "all Indians could be submerged in the body politic of America."[1] But a minority of leaders claimed that all such rhetoric was overly-optimistic at best, and cynical at worst. During congressional debates, Senator Henry M. Teller of Colorado noted that, according to the proposed legislation, all unassigned Indian lands would then be deemed surplus. "The real aim of this bill," he concluded, "is to get at the Indian lands and open them up for settlement."[2]

Meanwhile, Native Americans did not simply resist the allotment scheme. They found it difficult to understand the very concept of private ownership of land, or of land as capital. Much less did they appreciate these novel ideas. This had been the case, for example, in the struggles between English colonists and indigenous peoples of what became New England during the seventeenth century.[3]

Notes

[1] Robert M. Utley, The Indian Frontier 1846-1890, rev. ed. (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2003), 204-05.

[2] Roger L. Nichols, American Indians in U.S. History (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2003), 164-67.

[3] William Cronon, Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists, and the Ecology of New England, rev. ed. (New York: Hill and Wang, 2003), ch. 4.

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Schools among the Chickasaws in Indian Territory: The Civil War and Its Aftermath (4)

At the insistence of the federal government, the treaty of 1866 provided for railroads through Indian Territory, one running north and south, the other running east and west. With the coming of the railroads, immigration to Indian Territory was easier than ever.

The railroad finally entered the Chickasaw Nation in 1887, and the Chickasaw world was forever changed. By 1890, non-citizens in the nation outnumbered Indians by more than 10-to-1, with approximately 64,000 whites compared to 6,000 Indians. Who were all these people? Historian Caroline Davis described them as follows:
Farm laborers and mechanics, under permit, made up the greater share of this number; the others, holding some sort of legal status within the Nation, were licensed traders, government employees, railroad employees, coal miners, and claimants to Indian citizenship; but there was yet another group made up of sojourners, prospectors, visitors, intruders, cattlemen, and squatters who had no lawful rights whatever within the Nation.[1]
The arrival of thousands of new people created a new set of issues related to pubic education. Chickasaw officials had always refused to allow Anglo children to attend government-sponsored schools. They now maintained that position. At the same time, Anglo parents were unwilling or unable to send their children to faraway boarding schools. Euro-Americans and their federal government began agitating for some sort of remedy.

The U.S. government suggested that "certain sections of land be given the non-citizens upon which they could erect schools and hire their own teachers. In some few cases, this last was acceded to by the Indians. Slowly, however, the more progressive people began to work out a system of subscription schools within the towns."[2]

Notes

[1] Caroline Davis, "Education of the Chickasaws, 1856-1907," Chronicles of Oklahoma 15, no. 4 (1937): 434.

[2] Ibid., 435.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Schools among the Chickasaws in Indian Territory: The Civil War and Its Aftermath (3)

In the decade following the Civil War, Chickasaw students capable of high-school level work were sent to academies outside their homeland. The leadership of the Chickasaw Nation had long recognized the need to develop students who would be "competent to furnish their people with a full corps of qualified teachers and others able to fill important positions in the Nation." They provided for 60 of their best students to attend schools in the United States, and stipulated that the number was to be "equally divided between the sexes."[1]

In the meantime, the Chickasaws continued to rebuild. By 1876, a handful of schools were operating with some capacity to accommodate boarders. Bloomfield Academy, sometimes called "the Bryn Mawr of the West," housed 45 students. Wapanucka Academy, Chickasaw Male Academy, and the Orphans Home School at Lebanon could each accommodate 60 boarders.[2]

From the end of the Civil War until Oklahoma statehood, for over forty years, the Chickasaw Nation maintained control of its schools. The Chickasaws were devoted to education. By 1892, the nation owned and operated nineteen primary "neighborhood schools" and five academies, including the Orphans Home School. But, in fact, the emphasis the Chickasaws gave to education outpaced the capacity of their schools to place students. Consequently, beginning in 1884, the C.N. passed legislation that provided for the Methodist Episcopal Church South to operate schools. In 1889, the nation contracted with the Presbyterian Church in the U.S. (South) to operate an academy to be named Reed's Seminary, for 40 to 60 orphan girls. And, by 1891, the Catholic Order of the Sisters of St. Francis was operating a school in the Canadian Valley.[3]

Notes

[1] Caroline Davis, "Education of the Chickasaws, 1856-1907," Chronicles of Oklahoma 15, no. 4 (1937): 421.

[2] Ibid., 421-22. Although the government shut down Chickasaw schools at Oklahoma statehood in 1907, Bloomfield Academy, though not under the control of the C.N., remained in operation until 1949. See Amanda J. Cobb, "Chickasaw Schools," Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org (accessed April 13, 2018).

[3] Davis, "Education of the Chickasaws," 430-33. As Davis notes, there is some question whether Reed's Seminary ever opened. It appears to me that it did not.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Schools among the Chickasaws in Indian Territory: The Civil War and Its Aftermath (2)

Chickasaw leaders of the post-Civil War period emphasized the importance of schooling. For example, by 1870, all parents of Chickasaw students who attended school received a stipend that included the approximate cost of boarding as well as tuition. Perhaps officials found it hard to determine if a student lived far enough away from school to justify a separate, additional stipend for room and board. At any rate, the Chickasaw Nation provided every citizen household with school-aged children the same per-child stipend, whether students lived at school or at home. The household of every student who attended school received money to cover the cost of board as well as tuition.[1]

Again, although the Chickasaws had roughly one quarter the population of the Choctaws, the Chickasaws spent more than twice as much on education. In at least one year, 1891, the Chickasaw government spent all of the interest from its funds held by the federal government for education, which amounted to $95,000, roughly $2.5 million in 2018 values.[2]

Still, the tribe struggled with the task of getting their school system running again after the war. New facilities were built in a hurry, and were often small and rickety. Most of the better schools were those that used established facilities, which were nonetheless damaged or dilapidated. As late as 1897, one teacher complained, "The reason that writing has been omitted is that there is no desk or thing that can be used for desks."[3]

Notes

[1] Caroline Davis, "Education of the Chickasaws, 1856-1907," Chronicles of Oklahoma 15, no. 4 (1937): 420.

[2] Wendy St. Jean, Remaining Chickasaw in Indian Territory, 1830s--1907 (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2011), 99.

[3] As quoted in Davis, "Education of the Chickasaws," 420.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Schools among the Chickasaws in Indian Territory: The Civil War and Its Aftermath (1)

At the outbreak of war in the spring of 1861, the federal government abandoned Indian Territory. For example, on May 1 of that year, four U.S. Army companies posted at Fort Washita fled north with hundreds of Texas Confederates in close pursuit. The remainder of the federal troops in Indian Territory joined them and the entire group made its way to Kansas. Not only did the Confederate Army commandeer Fort Washita, it was never again occupied by the United States.[1]

In addition, many upper-class Chickasaws owned slaves. Given their sympathies, and with the states of Arkansas and Texas as neighbors, it was only natural for the leaders of the Chickasaw Nation to renounce their allegiance to the Union and side with the Confederacy. This meant, of course, that the Chickasaws forfeited their status under the government of the United States. The war halted the growth and destroyed the development of the previous years. From 1861 to 1865, schools and churches in the Chickasaw Nation were closed. Many homes were lost and destroyed.[2]

By the end of the war, Christian missionaries had long since left Indian Territory. During the years of conflict, schools and academies ceased operation and school buildings served the Confederate cause as barracks and hospitals.[3] What remained of those buildings now served as the physical foundation for the post-war educational system. The first priority was to rehabilitate those facilities. By 1867, federal appropriations of money to the Chickasaw Nation resumed. These funds provided for the new beginnings of the school system.

G. D. James served as the first Chickasaw Superintendent of Public Instruction. In  1869, James reported to George T. Olmstead, U.S. Indian agent stationed at Boggy Depot, that eleven neighborhood schools were operating, with a total of eleven instructors and four assistants. Two thirds of these educators were white and were, in James's opinion, of low caliber. But he expected the quality of instruction would only increase over time.[4]

Notes

[1] W. B. Morrison, "Fort Washita," Chronicles of Oklahoma 5, no. 2 (June 1927): 257. See also Caroline Davis, "Education of the Chickasaws, 1856-1907," Chronicles of Oklahoma 15, no. 4 (1937): 416. According to a pamphlet titled "Fort Washita: Walking Tour Guide," U.S. forces fled on April 16, contrary to the date of May 1, reported by Morrison.

[2] Davis, "Education of the Chickasaws," 416.

[3] Arrell M. Gibson, The Chickasaws (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1971), 271.

[4] Davis, "Education of the Chickasaws," 418-19.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

Schools among the Chickasaws in Indian Territory: Independence and Its Immediate Aftermath

1856 marked a major turning point in Chickasaw history. In that year a new treaty, signed in 1855, took effect and finally gave the tribe political separation from the Choctaws.

The 1837 Treaty of Doaksville had essentially made the Chickasaws a mere part of the Choctaw Nation. In the years that followed, the Chickasaws determined to distinguish themselves politically. Their argument for independence included four points.

First, against the protests of the Choctaw Nation, the Chickasaws insisted that the $530,000 paid to the Choctaws as part of the 1837 Treaty of Doaksville provided for a separate Chickasaw district. Second, a twenty-mile wide strip starting at the Canadian River in the north and running to the Red River in the south had served as a boundary between the Choctaws and Chickasaws from the time they arrived in Indian Territory. The existence of that boundary supported the first claim; if no real distinction existed between the two, then why was there ever a boundary? Third, the Chickasaws complained that they did not have adequate representation in the Choctaw government. Fourth, propagandists among the Chickasaws threatened that trouble would break out between them and the Choctaws if Chickasaw demands were not finally satisfied. The federal government responded with support for Chickasaw independence.[1]

Upon gaining their new independence, the Chickasaws set out to establish for themselves a solid educational system. Among other provisions, the tribal leadership set aside monies for additional schools and established the elected office of superintendent of public instruction.[2]

Notes

[1] Arrell M. Gibson, The Chickasaws (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1971), 250-51.

[2] Ibid., 255; Caroline Davis, "Education of the Chickasaws, 1856-1907," Chronicles of Oklahoma 15, no. 4 (1937): 415.

Friday, April 06, 2018

Indian Removal and the Treaty of Doaksville

The Indian Removal Act was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson on May 28, 1830. The legislation authorized the U.S. president to provide American Indians with lands west of the Mississippi River in exchange for the ancestral homelands the tribes were forced to abandon.[1]

As a result of the new law, in the early 1830s Chickasaw leaders traveled west and began their search for a new homeland. But several expeditions failed to identify a suitable place. The site selection was delayed. As historian Arrell M. Gibson notes, one group of Chickasaw leaders spent most of 1835 searching. Another group continued the task until late 1836.
Finally on January 17, 1837, at Doaksville in the Choctaw Nation, Chickasaw leaders concluded an agreement with Choctaw spokesmen. By the Treaty of Doaksville the Chickasaws agreed to pay the Choctaws $530,000 for the central and western portion of the tribe's vast grant. At last the Chickasaws had a western home.[2]
Notes

[1] For a narrative description of this episode, see A. J. Langguth, Driven West: Andrew Jackson and the Trail of Tears to the Civil War (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2010), 138-67. See also N. Bruce Duthu, American Indians and the Law (New York: Viking Penguin, 2008), 8-10.

[2] Gibson, The Chickasaws, 178.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Education among the Chickasaws in Indian Territory: Early Beginnings to 1855

Before 1850, public education hardly existed among the Chickasaws in Indian Territory. The tribe spent part of the money appropriated by the federal government to support students who were attending schools in the Choctaw District, where most Chickasaws lived at the time. But students were few. For example, in 1843 the tribal agent noted that there were not more than seven or eight Chickasaws attending Choctaw schools.

At least some of the brightest Chickasaws were sent to the Choctaw Academy, founded by the Baptist Mission Society at Great Crossings, Kentucky, in 1818. In time, the federal subsidy that provided for those students expired. Afterward, a few attended Plainfield Academy in eastern Connecticut, a school established mainly to prepare young men for future study at Yale College.[1]

The scene changed when Christian missionaries arrived in Indian Territory. Baptists, Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, and, above all, Methodists made up this group. Prior to Chickasaw removal from the southeastern United States, by far the most successful Christian missions among the Chickasaws were conducted by Presbyterians.[2] But during the 1840s and '50s, the most productive missionaries among them were Methodists. Part of their success resulted from a willingness to follow the Indians as they left their settlements in the Choctaw District and moved further west into what would become the territory of the Chickasaw Nation. In 1844, Methodist missionary E. B. Duncan planted a church at Pleasant Grove near Fort Washita. The settlement served as a base of operations for Duncan's circuit-riding mission among the Chickasaws. At the same time, Duncan's wife began a day school where she taught as many as forty children.[3]

Mrs. Duncan's school exemplified a strong tendency among Methodist missionaries to bring education as well as religion to Indian Territory. Early on, Methodist officials began negotiating with Chickasaw leaders regarding the educational needs of the tribe. Their collaboration led to the establishment of a system of schools for both elementary and upper-level students in the Chickasaw District. According to the agreement, the Indians contributed over 80 percent of the cost for these schools; the denominations contributed only a small fraction.

The first school in the district was the Chickasaw Manual Labor Academy. An impressive two-story stone building was completed in 1851. The school admitted both girls and boys, with 140 students as early as 1857. Instructors taught a wide variety of subjects, including English, Latin, arithmetic, geometry, music, and religion. They segregated part of the curriculum according to sex: boys learned to perform "agricultural and mechanical arts," while girls learned "house-wifery, needle-work, domestic industry, and child care."[4] 

Presbyterian missionaries established an academy among the Chickasaws in 1851, Wapanucka Female Manual Labor School. In 1854 the Methodists added Bloomfield Academy, a school for girls, and Colbert Institute. In 1857 the Chickasaw council approved legislation for the construction of a fifth school in their district, the Burney Academy near Lebanon.

From the Chickasaw perspective, antebellum missionary schools in Indian Territory focused on literacy mainly for the sake of Bible reading and conversion to Christianity. To the Indians, those educational goals did not serve the best interests of the tribe. Most Chickasaw leaders understood that schooling was vital to the future of their nation, but they wanted their schools to provide a broad academic foundation. That is, they wanted teachers who would teach, not preach.[5]

Cultural differences between missionary teachers and Chickasaw students created another concern. The differences often resulted in harsh judgments and cruel discipline based on stereotypes. For example, in 1855 at Wapanucka Academy, one schoolmaster publicly whipped a group of girls. He offered the justification that,
These little rogues need something more than mere kindness to manage them. They are full of evil from the crown of their head to the sole of their feet."
Children sometimes ran away from school and did everything they could to keep from being sent back.[6]

Trouble between students and teachers is, of course, an age-old problem. Yet, in many instances white teachers in the Chickasaw Nation interpreted the friction as the result of racial differences. One nonnative principal surmised that stubbornness was "a fundamental characteristic" of especially full-blooded Chickasaws. According to his stereotype, there was also a benefit to being a full-blood: "the higher the percentage of Indian blood the better artists they were."[7]

Notes

[1] Arrell M. Gibson, The Chickasaws (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1971), 231-32. Regarding the Choctaw Academy, see Clara Sue Kidwell, "Choctaw Academy," in The Kentucky Encyclopedia, ed. John E. Kleber (Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 1992), 184. For more about the Plainfield Academy, see Orwin Bradford Griffin, The Evolution of the Connecticut State School System (New York: Columbia University Teachers College, 1928), esp. 28, 48, 176-81. See also the following URL:  https://connecticuthistory.org/plainfield-academy-grooming-connecticut-scholars-in-the-18th-and-19th-centuries/

[2] Gibson, The Chickasaws, 106-09.

[3] Ibid., 233-34. Gibson cites the Annual Report of the Commissioner of Indian Affairs for 1845, 524-26.

[4] Gibson, The Chickasaws, 235.

[5] Wendy St. Jean, Remaining Chickasaw in Indian Territory, 1830s-1907 (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2011), 92. A very similar tension between Indians and Euro-Americans cropped up at other times and places. See, for example, Linford D. Fisher's discussion of evangelization in eighteenth-century southern New England in The Indian Great Awakening: Religion and the Shaping of Native Cultures of Early America (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), ch. 2.

[6] St. Jean, Remaining Chickasaw in Indian Territory, 91.

[7] Ibid., 95.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

The Incomparable Jesse Chisholm (c. 1805-1868)

On their way north to railheads in Kansas, trail bosses followed a path through Indian Territory that was blazed by one of the most important traders and negotiators the West has ever known. Jesse Chisholm was a mixed-blood Cherokee Indian born in Tennessee around 1805. When he was still a young man, his family, personal interests, and natural talents combined with American expansion to move him west.

His father was Ignatius Chisholm, an adventurer of Scottish heritage. His mother was Martha Rogers, the daughter of a Cherokee leader. The couple became part of the Cherokee westward movement after the tribe was pressured to give up their lands in Tennessee in exchange for new lands in Arkansas. By 1816, the family lived along the Spadra River in northwestern Arkansas.

Once the federal government began relocating Indian tribes to the territory west of Fort Smith, Arkansas, Jesse Chisholm established several trading posts in that region. At one time, his extended family operated a store at Three Forks, Indian Territory, called the Wigwam Neosho. The store once belonged to Sam Houston and his Cherokee wife, Diana, Jesse Chisholm's great aunt, whom Houston abandoned on his way to Texas in 1833. Because Chisholm could speak a dozen or more languages, including those of the Kiowas and Comanches, officials stationed at Fort Smith and Fort Gibson sometimes used him as an interpreter in their treaty negotiations.

He also served as a mediator for Sam Houston following the Council House Massacre at San Antonio in March 1840. As historian Vernon R. Maddux tells the story, thirty-five Comanche women, warriors, and chiefs came to San Antonio under a flag of truce. But the Indians "were surrounded by a troop of heavily armed Texas soldiers, who . . . killed all the warriors and some women." For the next seven years, in sporadic waves of terror, Comanche raiders took vengeance. At Houston's request, it was Jesse Chisholm who accepted "the dangerous mission of seeking out the remote Comanche bands and trying to persuade them to come in and sign a peace agreement." After seven years of tireless effort, on December 10, 1850, Chisholm signed and witnessed the treaty at San Saba Mission, which was also signed by representatives of the Peneteka Comanches.

During the Civil War, Chisholm operated a ranch and trading post near present-day Wichita, Kansas. It was after the war that he blazed his trail along the 98th meridian, from his post in Kansas all the way to the Red River. This was the path that would eventually become the cattle highway connecting ranches in Texas to the railroad in Kansas. Chisholm died in 1868 and thus never witnessed what became of his trail. He lies buried at the old site that was known as Left Hand Spring, named for a Southern Arapaho leader, in present-day Blaine County, Oklahoma, about six miles northeast of Geary.

Sources

Gibson, Arrell M. "Chisholm, Jesse (1805-68)." In The New Encyclopedia of the American West, ed. Howard R. Lamar (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998), 208-09. A brief entry.

Maddux, Vernon R. "Chisholm, Jesse (1805-4 Apr. 1868)." In American National Biography, ed. John A. Garraty and Mark C. Carnes (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 4:820-22. A much longer article than the one by Gibson.

Monday, February 19, 2018

The Chisholm Trail, 1867-1890

Of the great American cattle trails, the most famous and most significant was the one named for Jesse Chisholm. During its peaks years, from 1867 to 1884, the Chisholm Trail began with feeder trails south of San Antonio, traveled north to Fort Worth and Waco, crossed the Red River into present-day Oklahoma, and continued on into Kansas. The destination of the trail was a railroad terminal, first at Abilene, later Newton, and then Wichita, Kansas. More than eight hundred miles long, it was considered by people at the time "one of the wonders of the western world."[1]

Along the Chisholm Trail near Deanville, Texas
How did the Chisholm Trail get its start? Shortly after the Civil War, Texas cattlemen first drove their herds north and east along what they called the old Texas Road, and then into Indian Territory following the Shawnee Trail on their way to either Kansas City or Sedalia, Missouri. But the hills and woods that dotted the trail, not to mention Indians who demanded a fee for crossing their land as well as outright bandits, rendered this route virtually impossible. Because of these impediments, markets in the east as well as Texas suppliers of beef were missing an opportunity.

In 1867, Joseph G. McCoy, an Illinois farmer, recognized the problem. Beef markets in the eastern U.S. were under-supplied. Realizing the tremendous potential, McCoy bought an entire township along the Kansas Pacific Railroad and named the site Abilene. He then hired a team of promoters to travel through Texas with the news about a railhead in south-central Kansas, ready to load up Longhorns and ship them to Kansas City and beyond.[2]

Several factors conspired to bring the great cattle drives out of Texas to an end. First, railroad construction in Texas eliminated some of the need to drive cattle to Kansas. Second, ranching operations in the northern Great Plains expanded, creating new competition for Texas ranches. Finally, in 1884 Kansas legislators imposed a quarantine on cattle entering the state. As historian John R. Lovett noted, by 1890, the day of the cattle drives across Oklahoma was over.[3]

Notes

[1] Steven D. Dortch, "Chisholm Trail," The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org (accessed February 15, 2018). See also T. R. Fehrenbach, Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans. Updated ed. (New York: Tess Press, 2000), 557-58.

[2] John R. Lovett, "Major Cattle Trails, 1866-1889," in Historical Atlas of Oklahoma, 4th ed., Charles Robert Goins and Danney Goble, eds. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2006), 116.

[3] Ibid. See also Edward Everett Dale, "Chisholm Trail," in Dictionary of American History, 3rd ed. Stanley I Kutler, ed. (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2003), 2:158

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Origins of the Texas Cattle Kingdom

Meta Chestnutt's arrival in Silver City, Chickasaw Nation, in 1889 coincided closely with the end of the great cattle drives from Texas through Indian Territory and into Kansas. The story of Silver City had always been part of the saga of the cattlemen's empire and the fabled Chisholm Trail. What were the origins of the tremendous cattle industry that was centered in post-Civil War Texas?

Beginning with Christopher Columbus's second voyage, the Spanish brought to the Western Hemisphere both horses and cattle. Along with the animals, they also brought a culture of ranching and horse breeding. Their plan was to establish "husbandry on a European model in the Indies."[1] Centuries later, the enduring vocabulary of the American cowboy points back to the Spanish origins of his world. The terms are numerous: lariatlasso, remudacorral, chaparreras (chaps), rodeo, etc.[2]

As early as 1716, missions in Spanish Texas raised cattle. By 1770, the Mission La Bahia del Espiritu Santo, near Goliad, boasted herds totaling 40,000 head. Missions and private citizens in Texas became wealthy when cattle were driven east towards New Orleans, or south and west into modern-day Mexico. Those drives of the eighteenth century were harbingers of greater things to come.

During the Mexican War (1846-48), ranchers in Texas sold beef to the military and drove some of their cattle to New Orleans. In the 1840s and '50s, some cattlemen identified St. Louis as an excellent market. Following what they called the Shawnee Trail, they drove their herds north and east through Choctaw and Cherokee country in what is now eastern Oklahoma, into Arkansas and finally Missouri. Their destination was the livestock cars at either Kansas City or Sedalia, Missouri. But not until the after the Civil War did the Texas cattle kingdom emerge. During the war, the Union was eventually able to blockade the South, which prevented drives eastward. Consequently, by 1865 perhaps as many a 5 million cattle grazed on the Texas prairies, many of them unbranded and wild.[3]

Texans who served in the Confederate military and were fortunate enough to have survived the war returned home to find that during the years of conflict local herds of Longhorn cattle had grown. But great numbers drove down local prices for cattle and beef. In 1866, longhorns in the central part of the state sometimes sold for as little as $4 a head. But in major cities far to the north and east, those same cattle might bring as much as forty dollars and more. By driving their herds from Texas north through Indian Territory all the way to railroad terminals in Kansas, ranchers could get their cattle to those places where they would sell at a premium.[4]

Notes

[1] William D. Phillips, Jr., and Carla Rahn Phillips, The Worlds of Christopher Columbus (New York: Cambridge University Press, 1992), 194. The authors cite Bartolome de Las Casas, Historia de las Indias, ed. Agustin Millares Carlo. 3 vols. (Mexico City, 1951), book I, chapter 82, I:346-49.

[2] I was reminded of this by T. R. Fehrenbach, Lone Star: A History of Texas and the Texans. Updated ed. (New York: Tess Press, 2000), 556. See also Robert V. Hine and John Mack Faragher, The American West: A New Interpretive History (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2000), 302-04.

[3] Joseph A. Stout, Jr., "cattle industry," in The New Encyclopedia of the American West, edited by Howard R. Lamar (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998), 176; David Dary, "Cattle Drives," The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture, www.okhistory.org (accessed February 12, 2018); John R. Lovett, "Major Cattle Trails, 1866-1889," in Historical Atlas of Oklahoma, 4th ed., Charles Robert Goins and Danney Goble, eds. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2006), 116-17.

[4] Randolph B. Campbell, Gone to Texas: A History of the Lone Star State. 2nd ed. (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 296-99.