Heritage, Summer 2003 Page: 11
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useful life, but it further demonstrated the need for the movement
of people and goods and foreshadowed development of the nation's
first transcontinental railroad.
Not all transportation systems developed specifically to accommodate
people. An economy wrecked by the war between the
North and South was revived by the herding of wild Longhorn cattle
from the brush country of South Texas to the railhead in Kansas.
The best known of these cattle routes was the Chisholm Trail
"The principal [cattle] trail now traveled," pioneer cattleman
Joseph G. McCoy wrote in 1874, "is more direct and is known as
'Chisholm trail,' so named from a semi civilized Indian who is said
to have traveled it first. It is more direct, has more prairie, less timber,
more small streams and less large ones, and altogether better
grass and fewer flies than any other route yet driven over....So
many cattle have been driven over the trail in the last few years
that a broad highway is tread out, looking much like a national
highway; so plain, a fool could not fail to keep in it...."
Former Texas President Houston, even if he had not been able to
do much about it during his two terms, nevertheless understood the
importance of transportation. After Texas' admission to the Union,
the hero of San Jacinto went to Washington to serve the new state
as one of its two senators.
In 1858, during debate on what route the nation's first transcontinental
railroad should take, the tall Texan rose to put the issue
Transportation, Houston pronounced, "is...of vital importance,
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HERITAGE SUMMER 2003
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Summer 2003, periodical, Summer 2003; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45377/m1/11/: accessed November 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.