The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968 Page: 47
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
John Thomas Lytle: Cattle Baron
man decided to abandon the humdrum of ranching for the supposed
glamour of musketry and battle.
Unfortunately, only a fragment of Lytle's participation in the con-
flict is known. One writer' states that Lytle held a commission during
the War. Whatever his rank, after the War he was almost invariably
known as "Captain Lytle."' Available information gives only a brief
outline of his service. After his enlistment on September 11, 1863, in
San Antonio, he joined Company H, 32nd Texas Cavalry (Wood's
Regiment) at Fort Clark, near Brackettville. Except for the period
from February 2 to June i, 1864, when he and his cousin Captain
Sam Lytle, commander of Company H, were on detached service in
pursuit of deserters, John remained at the fort, rising to the rank of
sergeant, apparently without once having seen battle. He was paroled
on August 29, 1865, at San Antonio and allowed to return home.'
For the next two years, while Lytle again worked on his uncle's
ranch, he was impressed by the rapidly widening business opportuni-
ties of the cattle trade. By 1867 Texas cattlemen had begun to exploit
the fabulous profits to be made by trailing their livestock to eager
purchasers at northern railroads. The North, rapidly industrializing
in the wake of the Civil War, was becoming an urban society unable
to supply itself with sufficient foodstuff; moreover, the Army faced
the task of feeding troops and conquered Indian tribes. Consequently,
Texas Longhorns-rangy, tough, and ill-flavored though they were-
commanded from eighteen to fifty dollars at the railhead markets.
In 1866 Texans had driven more than a quarter of a million head to
Sedalia, Missouri, then the closest railhead.' Seeing a fortune awaiting
him, in January, 1867, Lytle resigned as foreman of his uncle's ranch.
He leased, apparently with borrowed money, a small pasture near
2Dallas Morning News, January 11, 1907; The National Live Stock Association, Prose
and Poetry of the Live Stock Industry of the United States (New York, 19o5), 659, here-
after cited as Prose and Poetry of the Live Stock Industry.
'Lewis Atherton, The Cattle Kings (Bloomington, 1961), 122.
'Alice Lytle Gidley to J. M. S., June 1, 1965; Lytle interview. At an 1884 cattlemen's
convention at St. Louis, he was called "Colonel" Lytle. National Cattle Growers' Asso-
ciation, "Opening Session of the First National Cattle Growers' Convention," Parson's
Memorial and Historic Library Magazine, I (1885), 3ol, 309.
"Compiled Military Service Record for John T. Lytle, War Department Collection of
Confederate Records (Record Group log, National Archives, Washington; copy in the
possession of the author); Compiled Military Service Record for Samuel Lytle, ibid.
'Jimmy M. Skaggs, "The Great Western Cattle Trail to Dodge City, Kansas" (unpub-
lished M.A. thesis, Texas Technological College, 1965), 12-13.
Here’s what’s next.
This issue can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Tools / Downloads
Get a copy of this page or view the extracted text.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Periodical.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 71, July 1967 - April, 1968, periodical, 1968; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117145/m1/65/: accessed September 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.