The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957 Page: 64
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
the next year. Several Abilene businessmen even took down their
buildings in sections and moved them to Ellsworth. With them
went some of the gamblers, including Ben Thompson.
Wichita, which split with Ellsworth the business of shipping
Texas trail cattle, was a new town at the mouth of the Little
Arkansas. It had just been reached by the Santa Fe Railroad in
May, 1872, and it hastened to build loading pens and to hire
agents to persuade the drovers to use its market. It also engaged
Joe McCoy to go north and east to persuade cattle buyers to
come to Wichita. This new market had an advantage in being
on the trail and in being much nearer to Texas than was Ells-
With the peak of trailing past and the business divided, neither
Ellsworth nor Wichita matched Abilene as a trail's-end town.
Yet each did a flourishing business from 1872 through 1875, and
each had its share of vice and crime. As at Abilene, steers from
the beef herds were shipped mainly to feeders in Illinois, while
cattle from the mixed herds were trailed on, often by new own-
ers, to stock virgin ranges in the Northwest.
The 1875 season marked a peak in the practice of some of the
big cowmen in buying herds on the range or on the Texas part
of the trail and sending them on under their own road brands.
One successful partnership in such ventures had been that of
Captain Eugene B. Millett and Major Seth Mabry. Another was
that of John O. Dewes and Colonel James F. Ellison. In 1875
all four combined in a partnership that owned or controlled
two-thirds of the whole Texas drive.
Yet the fringe of farmer settlement kept pushing farther west
as the buffaloes were cleared from the plains and as railroads ex-
tended their tracks. Kansas lawmakers kept edging westward
their quarantine line, only beyond which trailing was lawful.
This trend virtually ended the shipping of trail cattle at Ells-
worth and Wichita after the 1875 season.
The spring of 1876 marked the opening of a new major cattle
market at Dodge City, on the Santa Fe, west of Wichita. Dodge,
which had been the chief headquarters for the Kansas buffalo
hunters a few years earlier, had shipped a few cattle in 1875.
Now that the older markets were closed to trail drivers by the
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957, periodical, 1957; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101163/m1/77/: accessed April 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.