The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 35, July 1931 - April, 1932 Page: 209
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A Log of the Texas-California Cattle Trail, 1854
beef that Texas had, and Texas cowmen ventured upon the long
trail of some fifteen hundred hazardous miles.
Perhaps of all the trails the Texans blazed, no other traversed
such a forbidding land. From end to end it was a trail of dangers
and uncertainties-long dry drives that set cattle mad with thirst
and drew saddle horses to "skin and bones"; alkaline lakes that
poisoned and killed thirsting herds; malpais ridges that cut hoofs
to the quick and set the riders afoot; and the eternal threat of loss
to white and Indian thieves. And yet, of all the American trails
followed by men who rode in the dust of cattle, no other is so little
known. It came into existence at the middle of the nineteenth
century; it passed into tradition within approximately twenty
years. The bow-legged men who drove its trying course are dead;
the brief contemporary allusions to its history are buried beneath
the dust of years. But from a few scattered sources something
of the story may be sifted out.
Oral tradition tells of a herd that was driven to California in
1848 by T. J. Trimmier, from Washington County, Texas. The
five hundred beeves said to have been in the drive, sold in California
at one hundred dollars a head. Trimmier turned back to Texas in
1849, and met herd after herd upon the trail.2
Whatever may be the limitations of traditional sources, it is a
fact that in the early spring of 1849 a large caravan gathered at
Fredericksburg, on the Texas frontier, and prepared to start to
California with "three or four thousand horses and mules . . .
besides numerous herds of cattle."3
Almost overnight Houston and San Antonio became important
emigrant markets for mules, which were sometimes hard to obtain
because the Comanches kept them stolen away.4 But as the stam-
pede to the coast continued, herds of cattle were gathered and
pointed west each year, and by 1854 the movement seemed to be at
"The speculation of driving beef cattle from our State to Cali-
fornia," observed The Colorado Tribune of July 21, 1854, "still
continues, and doubtless a regular trade will be made of it for
2T. A. Morrison to J. Evetts Haley, September 11, 1931.
3Telegrcaph (Houston), March 8, 1849.
'The same, March 1, March 15, and April 12, 1849.
5Michael Erskine, MS., "Diary, 1854," pp. 41, 47-48, 68-69, 143; Gal-
veston Journal, May 26, 1854; Texas State Gazette, July 29, 1854, and
April 21, 1855.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 35, July 1931 - April, 1932, periodical, 1932; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101092/m1/213/: accessed August 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.