The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966 Page: 420
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
the Spanish era in 1821, there were hundreds of thousands of
cattle in Texas.'
Anglo-American immigrants to Texas observed the teeming
herds of wild cattle free to anyone with the courage and skill to
challenge their freedom. The vast reaches of rich grass were also
available to anyone with the courage to leave the security of the
settlements and move into the path of Comanche raiding parties
that regularly swept down from the north. Although it was not
a lucrative occupation and the market remained principally
domestic, Texans in the years of the republic (1836-1845) and
early statehood (1845-1861) prepared the way for the cattle boom
that burst upon them after the Civil War.2
During those years the Texas Longhorn began to evolve, an
evolution that continued and accelerated until the closing decades
of the nineteenth century. By choosing superior calves to be left
for bulls, Texas stockmen improved the old Spanish breed without
fundamentally altering its essential characteristics. Texas Long-
horns retained the endurance, agility, alertness, ferocity, and
muscularity of their Spanish ancestors, but their horns grew
longer, their bodies more heavy and rangy, and they displayed
a nearly infinite variety of colors."
The cattle industry had established itself before the Civil War
and, even in the 1850's, had probed tentatively at markets beyond
1J. Frank Dobie is the best authority on the appearance, habits, and psychology
of the Texas Longhorn and his progenitors, the Spanish or Mexican cattle. See
The Longhorns (New York, 1941). The Grossett and Dunlap Universal Library
edition has been used in this study. Chapter 1 discusses Spanish cattle. A concise
explanation of the evolution of the Longhorn is Dobie's "Longhorn Cattle," in
Walter P. Webb and H. Bailey Carroll (eds.), The Handbook of Texas (2 vols.;
Austin, 1952), I, 78-79. A discussion of the European progenitors of Spanish cattle
with an enlightening treatment of the foundations of the American cattle industry
is Charles J. Bishko, "The Peninsular Background of Latin American Cattle Ranch-
ing," Hispanic American Historical Review, XXXII, 491-515.
2Most of the standard histories of the range cattle industry treat its origins in
Texas. See E. E. Dale, The Range Cattle Industry (Norman, 1930); Joseph G.
McCoy (Ralph P. Bieber, ed.), Historic Sketches of the Cattle Trade of the West
and Southwest (Glendale, 1940); Ernest S. Osgood, The Day of the Cattlemen (Min-
neapolis, 1929); Louis Pelzer, The Cattlemen's Frontier (Glendale, 1936); James
Cox, Historical and Biographical Record of the Cattle Industry and the Cattlemen
of Texas and Adjacent Territory (St. Louis, 1895). See also Clara M. Love, "The
Cattle Industry of the Southwest," Southwestern Historical Quarterly, XIX, 370-
399, XX, 1-18; T. C. Richardson, "Texas Cattle," American Heritage, IV, 28-33.
8Dobie, Longhorns, 41-42. Chapter 2 deals with the emergence of the Longhorn
from the Spanish cattle.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966, periodical, 1966; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117144/m1/498/: accessed July 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.