Cattle Ranching


Cattle Ranching

  • In the 1500s, Spanish invaders first brought cattle to America
  • In Southern Texas, the cattle thrived as it had a mild climate and plenty of water
  • The cattle would roam wild, this type of ranching was known as the open range. The ranchers employed Indians to round up the cattle for their meat.
  • As the population of Northern USA grew so did the beef demand. Ranchers would drive their cattle North to sell them, this was known as the Long Drive.
  • The Plains Indians would demand payment for cattle drives crossing their land.
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Why did Cattle Ranching Boom?

For two main reasons:

The Civil War- In the 1860s the North and South of the USA fought a Civil War. Tis disrupted the cattle trade, as cattle were not killed, so the number of cattle grew dramatically. For example Charles Goodnight went to fight the war, when he left he had 180 cattle and he returned to 5000. Ranchers knew if they could get these North they would make a fortune.

The growth of the Railroads- This meant that cattle could be transported even further to the East. In 1869, the transcontinental railroad connectet the entire continent. 

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Cow Towns

Joseph McCoy-

  • He was a cattle dealer
  • He established a town called Abilene by building offices and cattle pens next to a Railhed, where southern cattle drivers could meet up with northern cattle buyers. 
  • Between 167 and 1881 half a million cattle passed through Abilene
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