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Ranching in Texas

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Catherine Kozuch

on 5 May 2010

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Transcript of Ranching in Texas

Long before Europeans explored what is now North America, cattle in Spain were raised for meat and hides. When the first Spanish explorers came from Mexico into Texas, they brought cattle along with them. The first successful cattle trail was the Chisholm Trail. Next was Dodge City Trail, or also known as The Western Trail, and The Goodnight-Loving Trail. The people who recieved land grants and formed ranches were known as charros. Charros were Mexican cowhands who rode horses and used ropes to round up cattle. Over time, the different breeds that the Spanish brought mixed to make a new breed, the Texas Longhorn. After Mexico gained control of Texas in 1821, cattle raising increased. Settlers could recieve 4,400 acres from the Mexican government if they raised cattle. James Taylor White was considered Texas's first cattle baron. He owned a ranch in Liberty Canyon and was among the first ranchers that took cattles to market in Louisiana. After the Civil War the demand of beef increased. a Longhorn that was worth about $4 in Texas brought about $40 in the packinghouses. Cattle owners looked for a way to safely transport their cattle to the Stockyards. Joseph G. McCoy built the first cow town in Abilene, Kansas; a town that serves as a market or shipping point for cattle. Trail drives began with a roundup, which is when unbranded cattle were marked to prove ownership. Roundups usually took several weeks and involved hundreds of cowhands. The Cattle Owners drove the herds themselves, as they got farther away they hired agents to drive the cattle for $1 per head delivered to the market. scouts rode in front of the herd to select the best path; the path depended on the availability of water and grass, season of the year, and how many herds had passed over the trail that year. wranglers took care of the saddled horses. the stockyards Were pens where livestock was kept before being butchered or sent to market. cattle ranching was one of the biggest businesses in Texas. Four of the best known ranches were the King Ranch, the JA Ranch, the Matador Ranch, and the XIT Ranch. The King Ranch was founded in 1852 by Richard King and his partner Mifflin Kenedy. when King died in 1885 his wife, Henrietta King, inherited the ranch. with Robert Kleberg's help, she expanded the ranch to more than a million acres. In 1876, Charles Goodnight&John Adair established the JA Ranch in Palo Duro Canyon. Goodnight also created the Goodnight-Loving trail with Oliver Loving. The Matador Ranch was founded by A.M. Britton and H.H. Campbell on a homestead in Motley County in 1878. The largest ranch in Texas, and one of the most famous was the XIT Ranch. It was located in the panhandle; by the New Mexico border, and covered over 3 million acres. one legend says that XIT stood for "ten in Texas" because it was on ten counties. The managers of the ranch chose straight lines for their brand because it would be difficult for the rustlers to change. a rustler is a cattle thief The success of the ranching industry was also the cause of its decline. The grazing pastures couldn't support the growing number of cattle. As the industry expanded, farmers moved onto Native American reservations, and they farmed on the land the cattle needed to graze on. fencing materials like wooden rails and rocks were not easy to find. Joseph F. Gates changed this with his invention of the barbed wire. In the 1870's and 1880's fence cutting became a major problem. Fences were cut by rustlers and the ones who resented the closing of the range. In 1884 the state legislator passed a series of laws that outlawed fence cutting. The invention of windmills also encouraged ranchers to get fences. Most of West Texas was dry, so ranchers allowed their cattles to roam the plains in search of water. The windmill allowed them to pump water from underground sources; it also allowed them to keep their cattle in a specific area now that they could provide water. Ranching in Texas
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