The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 55, July 1951 - April, 1952

Notes and Documents


Au garly Cattle Drive from Zxas to Iliaois
N February, 1854, George Jackson Squires, his wife, Emeline
Bent Squires, her father, Silas Proctor Bent, and her brother,
John J. Bent, set out for Texas to look for cattle.? Mrs.
Squires was in poor health, and it was thought that such a trip
might help to cure her ailment.2 John J. Bent was also ill,
suffering from rheumatic fever, and had to be carried to the
railroad station.8 The party probably boarded the first train
that ran over the Rock Island Railroad from Chicago to Rock
Island, Illinois,4 reaching Cairo, Illinois, by changing to a steam-
boat either at Peru, Illinois, on the Illinois River or at Rock
Island on the Mississippi.5 At Cairo the party embarked for New
On arrival at New Orleans, George Squires left the others and
proceeded overland alone to a point near Houston, Texas, where
'Genealogical and Biographical Record of Kendall and Will Counties, Illinois
(Chicago, 1901), 253-255. Fred J. Bent, Silas P. Bent's grandson, states that Silas
P. Bent, as well as his father, John Bent, accompanied George and Emeline
Squires at the beginning of the trip.-Fred J. Bent to G. S. H., DeKalb, Illinois,
November 27, 1938 (letter in writer's possession).
2The writer has heard his grandmother, Georgianna Squires Herrington, on a
number of occasions, relate that this trip was taken by her father and mother
primarily for health rather than for financial gain.
8Genealogical and Biographical Record; Fred J. Bent to G. S. H.
4A. O. Gibson, secretary and treasurer, Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Rail-
road, to G. S. H., Chicago, Illinois, March 9, 1951 (letter in possession of writer).
The Genealogical and Biographical Record is no doubt in error in its statement
that the party boarded the first train that ran over the Illinois Central Railroad.
It was not until January 8, 1855, that the first through Illinois Central passenger
train from Cairo to Chicago arrived at Chicago. This was an indirect routing,
necessitating the use of the Burlington line from Mendota, Illinois, to Chicago.
The main line of the Illinois Central Railroad from Chicago via Champaign and
Centralia to Cairo was not completed until September 27, 1856. The Chicago,
Rock Island Railroad, however, did inaugurate service from Chicago to Rock
Island, Illinois, on February 22, 1854. See also Caroline E. MacGill and others,
History of Transportation in the United States before z86o (Washington, 1948),
513, 547.
glbid. Mr. Gibson indicates these as the routings available at this time. It is not
likely that the party proceeded overland to Cairo from some point on the Rock
Island Railroad in view of J. J. Bent's condition. Moreover, it would have been
just as easy to have traveled overland to Cairo the whole distance if travel by
steamboat had not been anticipated.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 55, July 1951 - April, 1952. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed May 25, 2016.

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