The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 35, July 1931 - April, 1932

Southwestern HIistorical Quarterly

A LOG OF THE TEXAS-CALIFORNIA CATTLE TRAIL, 1854
JAMES G. BELL
EDITED BY J. EVETTS HALEY
Introduction
While Texas was yet under the dominion of Spain, cattle were
trailed in and horses were trailed out of the province. Soon after
the beginning of Anglo-American settlement, and during the two
decades following, herds of cattle were driven from the Texas
ranges to New Orleans, to Natchez, to Natchitoches, and to Shreve-
port. Markets were discovered to the northeast, and in the late
forties and throughout the fifties there was a steadily growing
movement of cattle to points in Missouri-to St. Louis and to
Sedalia in particular. Other herds went into Ohio and Illinois,
some trailing to a pioneer market at Chicago. The trade was
growing in many directions when the outbreak of the Civil War
closed these markets before trail driving had achieved a very
definite technique of its own.'
In the meantime the Mexican War had been fought, California
had been acquired, and her gold discovered. In the late forties
and early fifties her mountains and valleys were teeming with
miners-hard working outdoor men who demanded a heavy ration
of beef. Naturally, the price of meat rose with that of other
necessities. At that time there were no western railroads; re-
frigeration of meat in transit was unknown; and the movement of
live cattle by water was in its experimental stage. But the long-
horn furnished his own transportation to market. He marched
with the free stride of a horse, cut down rocky trails with hoofs of
flint, and crossed long desert stretches without a drink of water.
For some twenty years constantly increasing herds of cattle had
ranged the lush grass-lands of Texas. The Texans had much beef
to sell, but few places to sell it. But now California needed the
'There is no basis for the rather general impression, perhaps attribut-
able to the writings of Emerson Hough and the featuring, in print, of the
recollections of Texas trail drivers, that trailing of cattle began with the
end of the War.

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 35, July 1931 - April, 1932. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101092/. Accessed November 21, 2014.