The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997 Page: 478
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
largely anecdotal evidence that the Morgan steamers monopolized the
Gulf shipping of cattle." This essay introduces new evidence on late-ante-
bellum movements of Texas cattle. This new evidence demonstrates that
the extent of the Gulf trade was larger than previously described, and it
also challenges McCoy's assertion that the Morgan line monopolized
New Orleans was an important market for Texas cattle. The cattle ei-
ther were shipped across the Gulf of Mexico or trailed overland. Ralph
Bieber, McCoy's editor, believed that a greater number were driven
overland via two routes. The first route drained central and eastern
Texas; the cattle crossed the Sabine en route to Shreveport, Natchi-
toches, or Alexandria, Louisiana, where they were shipped down the
Red and Mississippi Rivers to New Orleans. The western and southern
Texas ranchers drove their cattle to Liberty on the Trinity River, Beau-
mont on the Neches, and across the Sabine, Calcasieu, and Mississippi
Rivers to New Orleans.4 A resident of Beaumont estimated that 40,000
head crossed the Neches River there in 1853 en route to Louisiana. In
1855 twenty-five droves with a total of 5,843 head used the Trinity River
ferry, while in 1856 the numbers were thirty-one and 6,869. The Galve-
ston Weekly News reported that 32,412 beeves from western Texas had
crossed the Sabine into Louisiana during the first ten months of 1856.5
The alternative to overland driving was shipping across the Gulf of
Mexico. There were two supposed disadvantages to shipping by water:
weight loss during shipment and high freights. The voyage between
Galveston or Indianola and New Orleans took two days under normal
conditions. According to Clarence Gordon, the cattle were not provided
with feed during the trip.6 The weight loss or shrinkage was exacerbated
by the refusal of the cattle to lie down while on board, and David Galen-
son has estimated an average weight loss of between 3 and 4.5 percent
of total body weight per day.' In addition, rough weather that caused
1, 1859; Wayne Gard, The Chisholm Trail (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1954), 28, 32,
35; "Texas Cattle in NewYork," Prairie Farmer, XV (1855), 248; Indianola Bulletin, June 29, 1855;
Indianola Commercial Bulletin, Oct. 15, 1859; "Livestock Market at New York and Brighton,"
Hunt's Merchants' Magazine, XLVI (1862), 460; Garnet Brayer and Herbert O. Brayer, American
Cattle Trails (Denver: Smith-Brooks Printing Co., 1952), 29.
' McCoy, Historical Sketches, 93.
McCoy, Historical Sketches, 24-25. See Thonhoff for a discussion of Spanish cattle drives
across Louisiana. Robert H. Thonhoff, The Texas Connection with the American Revolution (Burnet,
Tex.: Eakin Press, 1981), 46, 50.
5 Gard, Chisholm Trail, 25, and McCoy, Historical Sketches, 24-25, cite The Texas Monument (La-
Grange), Nov. 11, 1853, for 40,ooo head estimate and the Galveston Weekly News, Nov. 18, 1856,
and Aug. 4, 1857, for 6,869 and 32,412 estimates respectively. These primary sources were un-
available to the author
B U. S. Tenth Census-z88o, Agriculture, 976.
7 David Galenson, "Origins of the Long Dnve,"Journal of the West, XIV(July, 1977), 5.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 100, July 1996 - April, 1997, periodical, 1997; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101218/m1/556/: accessed November 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.