Did you have family in Texas during or after the Civil War? Were any of them cattle ranchers or drivers? This Ebook is a collection of recollections of about 500 cattlemen of that time period.
An estimated 25,000 to 35,000 men trailed six to ten million head of cattle and a million horses northward from Texas to Kansas and other distant markets between the end of the Civil War and the turn of the century. Judging from the literary remains housed in range archives and libraries, memories of the experience lingered far longer in the minds of the men and boys involved than did the tracks of bovine hooves upon the landscape of the Great Plains and beyond. Besides drudgery and hardship, the long drive promised excitement and danger for some; for many, a trip across the prairie behind a herd of Texas Longhorns was the most unforgettable experience of their lives.
Reproduced from the Introduction in, “The Trail Drivers of Texas” (subtitled “Interesting Sketches of Early Cowboys and Their Experiences on the Range and on the Trail during the Days That Tried Men’s Souls – True Narratives Related by Real Cowpunchers and Men Who Fathered the Cattle Industry in Texas“), this 1924 publication has been paced online in ebook format by the University of Texas in their Texas Classics section. It is unique in that it includes many photographs of the trail drivers as well as their stories. “I first saw the light of day in April of 1855″ is just one introduction to his story a cowboy used – giving us unique insight into their lives and lifestyles as well as genealogical data.
Ebooks are a great place to not only find family information but also to learn about how our ancestors lived. One caution – back in “the day” your ancestor didn’t have to document what they said, so there is a lot of conjecture if not downright misinformation. Be sure you try to verify important specific information if you find it in these older sources. But if you want to know what was important, what was humorous, and how certain legends came to be, the old books are wonderful windows into that world. Even if you don’t find one of your kinfolk in this specific ebook, the reading is interesting and varied in “The Trail Drivers of Texas“.