Ancestors of the Texas longhorn came with Columbus to Santo Domingo on his second voyage in 1493. Within 30 years descendants of these cattle were brought to Mexico, and by the late 1600's the Spanish were establishing missions and ranches in Texas, and they brought their cattle with them.
Over the years many cattle escaped the Spanish, many were let go, and when Texas won its battle for independence, Mexican landholders fled leaving more cattle. All these cattle ran loose, and those that survived disease developed immunity to those diseases. Those that survived wild animals became wild themselves, and in time multiplied into millions of tough, hardy cattle with long horns; a totally unique breed.
They were captured and driven to Texas ports and slaughtered or shipped out live for years, but after the Civil War, Texas was in need of money The northeastern states had acquired a taste for beef and would pay for it if it could be delivered t them Texas was virtually without railroads, so the cattle were driven to where the railroads were. An estimated 10 million longhorns were trailed north by several different routes. In 1866, 260,000 Texas longhorns went up the trail to Kansas and Missouri railroads.
Twenty years ago in 1966, Charlie Schreiner, Ill, and several other Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America members, took a hundred head of older steers up the old Chisholm Trail route from San Antonio to Dodge City, Kansas. This drive was to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the old cattle drives, and I went along with them. It wasn't just like the old drives, for there were many new luxuries along the way, but it was an unforgettable adventure.
-Excerpt from Charles Beckendorf Texas
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