The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959 Page: 341
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Horace M. Hall's Letters from Gillespie County
here get from $30 to $1oo a month and board. You cannot imagine
how many cattle are shipped from here about ioo cars a day and
they say that this is the dullest season of the year. The say along in
June they ship day and night. The Johnson boys have brought up
25 herds this season the smallest of which was 1500.7 Captain King
is the biggest cattle man that comes here I guess, he was in the rebel
army,8 I talked with him several times and he gave Bill and me a
good deal of encouragement he told us Texas was the place for us,
he would have took us down but was going down by water and the
fare would have been $6o.oo.U It has not cost us much since we have
been here about $2.50, and Charlie made $4.50 plastering a house.
They say no more cattle shall be brought to Abilene next year
and if so the cattle market will be at Newton, 6o miles south of
here,'1 then there would be a good opening for you Pa for you cant
imagine what prices they charge for every thing, about double what
7"The spring of 1871 found twice as many cattle on the Chisholm Trail as in the
preceding record year-four times as many as in 1869." In fact, 1871 appears to be
the year of the largest drive on record.-Gard, The Chisholm Trail, 149-150.
"Estimates of the year's drive ran as high as 700,ooo head, though 6oo,ooo was the
generally accepted figure." The Saline County Journal, on July 2o, 1871, said:
"There are not only cattle 'on a thousand hills' but a thousand cattle on one and
every hill."-Ibid., 157.
The "Johnson boys" were Sam and Tom, above-mentioned (see footnote 2). An
R. J. (Dick) Johnson is mentioned in the letter of November 5, 1871, and others.
SHorace's meeting with this famous river boatman and rancher is noteworthy.
Dictionary of American Biography (20 vols.; New York, 1928-1937), X, 397-398.
Richard King, born in New York state in 1825, ran away from home as a boy and
went to Mobile, Alabama, where he learned to pilot river boats. There he met
Captain Mifflin Kenedy, who took him to Texas to help the United States with
river boat piloting during the Mexican War. For these services King was awarded a
captaincy. In 1852 he bought the Santa Gertrudis tract, maintaining it despite
Indian attacks, and later enlarged it to a half million acres, with livestock num-
bering 1oo,ooo cattle, 20,000 sheep, and lo,ooo horses. During the Civil War, King
and Kenedy built and operated steamboats on the Rio Grande. Thousands of
King's cattle were driven to Kansas markets and northern ranges. He died in 1885.
See also Tom Lea, The King Ranch (2 vols.; Boston, 1957).
oConsidering Captain King's long experience at navigation, it would have been
natural for him to return to Texas by a water route. The trail drivers returning to
Texas from Kansas could take the railroad to St. Louis and proceed thence by
water. This would of course be via the Mississippi River to some Gulf port.-
Everett Dick, "The Long Drive," Collections of the Kansas State Historical Society,
XVII (1926-1928), 67. By 1882 cowboys returning from the northern drive could
travel as far as San Antonio by rail.-Ibid., 70.
1oAfter Abilene began to repudiate the Texas drovers, the cattle business slack-
ened: " Both the Texans and those who preyed on them began to pull out of
Abilene." The unsavory parts of the population departed to Newton and other
towns. The move was made possible by the extension of the Santa Fe Railroad,
which was reaching southwest across the Kansas prairies. "By mid-August [of 18711,
Newton had an estimated twelve hundred to fifteen hundred inhabitants and was
being called the wickedest town in Kansas."-Gard, The Chisholm Trail, 177, 158.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959, periodical, 1959; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/m1/406/: accessed May 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.