Friday, July 23, 2010

Chisholm Trail and the Great Western Trail

One of the first cattleman associations in Texas had it's beginning in the old town of Pleasanton, Atascosa County, Texas. This was the Stock Raiser's Association of Western Texas, organized in 1867. This information was found in the Western Stock Journal, June, 1873. Cowmen from several counties would meet at a designated place to discuss problems and to settle up after the drives to Kansas. Those counties were Bee, Refugio, Live Oak, Guadalupe, McMullen, Karnes, Uvalde, Wilson, Goliad and others that now make up South Texas.

The Western Stock Journal kept journals in trail brand books containing records of all cattle drives from Atascosa and surrounding counties. J.Frank Dobie, in his "A VAQUERO OF THE BRUSH COUNTRY" book, has an example of this information. These old books are in the Witte Museum in San Antonio. Atascosa County records from 1868-1876 are in these journals. On page 118 of my book, ATASCOSA COUNTY HISTORY THROUGH 1912, published in 2007, there is a copy of a page from the Western Stock Journal showing the number of cattle (43,000) trailed north from Atascosa County in a three month period in the year 1873.

During the 1936 Texas Centennial, Chisholm Trail Markers (metal) were placed along this old trail. One was placed in front of the old Atascosa County Courthouse. It remained there until the building was torn down in 1953. It was then placed in front of Pleasanton's Longhorn Museum. It was stolen the first night after being placed there.

It is the feeling of many, including the Atascosa Historical Commission, that both the Chisholm Trail and the Great Western Stock Trail had its beginning in South Texas, south of San Antonio, near Pleasanton, Atascosa County, Texas, and should be part of a national trail designation. Both trails, The Great Western Trail, west of San Antonio, and the Chisholm Trail, east of San Antonio, went through Atascosa County and possibly started here. Thousands of Longhorns left Atascosa County were trailed up these two trails beginning in late 1860's through the early 1880's.

Written by: Norman F. Porter, Sr., Chairman
Atascosa County Historical Commission

No comments: