Flashcards in Cattle ranching and cowboy Deck (14)
What happened between 1820 to 1865 Origins in Texas
Why cattle ranching developed in Texas.
-Ranching first started in Texas, with ranches mostly manned by Mexican cowboys called vaqueros.
-In 1836 Texan ranchers drove many Mexicans out, and claimed the cattle left behind.
-The Civil War started in 1861, and Texans went off to fight. The cattle roamed free as huge herds grew up. -On returning home, the Texans started rounding them up and driving them to sell in places such as New Orleans and California.
What happened between 1865-1870 The 'long drives' - first 'open range' ranch
-Realising that there was a great demand for beef in the north of the USA, the Texans drove their cattle north on a long drive to Sedalia in Missouri, where they were loaded onto trains for Chicago.
-Two Texas ranchers, Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving, pioneered a second trail, to Denver in Colorado, where they sold their cattle to gold miners.
-In 1868, a rancher named John Iliff (the 'cattle-king of the northern plains') won the contract to supply beef to the Sioux, who had been forced onto a reservation in the Black Hills.
-A safer drive, the Chisholm Trail, was established to Abilene. This was set up by Joseph McCoy as a 'cow-town', with railroad stockyards and numerous saloons where the cowboys could spend their wages.
-John Iliff was the first rancher to set up an 'open range' ranch - in Wyoming in 1867.
What happened between 1870-1885: The 'open range'
There were huge areas of 'open range' - unfenced land which was free for anyone to use.
Charles Goodnight is reputed to have invented the crazy quilt - by buying small patches of land here and there over an area, he could effectively control all of it.
Refrigeration cars on trains opened a world-wide market for beef.
By 1885, just 35 cattle-barons owned 8 million hectares of range, and owned perhaps 1.5 million cattle.
1885-1890: The end of the 'open range'
- Ranchers had over-grazed the plains. Overstocking had also led to a fall in prices.
- In spring 1886 there was a drought, followed by a scorching hot summer, up to 43°C. This was followed by a winter storm in January 1887, in which the temperature dropped to -43°C. Half the cattle on the plains died in a single year.
- More and more homesteaders were coming onto the plains, and fencing off their farms with barbed wire, patented in 1874.
- The Johnson County war in 1892 happened when cattle barons attempted to clear small scale ranchers and homesteaders out of Johnson County. They were angry at castle rustling and land being fenced off. They were fought off by local people and ultimately failed. Ranchers and homesteaders were able to continue following their way of life.
Key factors in development of cattle ranching
The underlying factor in the development of cattle ranching was the free availability of three crucial natural products what are these:
- wild cattle
- wild horses
These, together with a huge and growing market for beef in the north, meant that ranching became a good way to make a living.
For ranching to work, several things had to be in place, what are these?
- The railroads were a critical factor in the development of cattle ranching - without them the cattle would not have reached the marketplace.
- The long drives, which took the cattle to the railroads, cow-towns and stockyards, where the cattle were loaded onto the trains, were also all vital in getting the product to market.
- The cowboys were another essential ingredient - without their skills nothing, particularly the long drives, would have been possible.
- Range rights and the invention of crazy quilt allowed ranchers to acquire huge areas of land very cheaply.
- Skilful breeding - the development of heavier cattle, which were still tough enough to survive on the plains - increased the ranchers' profits.
- Also important for profits was the defeat of the rustlers and the Indians, which allowed ranchers to trade unhindered.
- Finally there was publicity - which encouraged people to take up cattle ranching.
Charles Goodnight had a huge effect on the history of cattle ranching, why?
- He was one of the original Texas ranchers, starting as a rancher in 1856.
- He was the first to recognise and exploit the huge and growing market for beef in the mining towns of Wyoming.
- He pioneered the 'long drive' (the Goodnight-Loving Trail).
- He helped to develop the cowboys' skills on the long drives.
- Range rights - Goodnight is reputed to have invented the technique he called the crazy quilt.
- By crossing the Texas Longhorn with British Herefords, Goodnight was able to breed heavier cattle, which were still tough enough to survive on the plains.
- He made a truce with a famous local rustler, 'Dutch Henry', then helped to form the Panhandle Stock Association, which drove out rustlers - especially Billy the Kid, who was killed in 1881.
- James Brisbin's book about Goodnight - How to Get Rich on the Plains - encouraged many other people to take up cattle ranching.
The real cowboys
Why are the depictions of cowboys in Hollywood films incorrect?
- Many real cowboys were black ex-slaves, whereas the Hollywood heroes were always white.
- Also, after the hardships of the long drive, it seems unlikely that many genuine cowboys were specially good-looking!
How were cowboys highly skilled, what could they do?
- round up,
- cross rivers,
- 'turn' stampedes,
- keep watch
- and drive off rustlers - all in rain, hail and burning sun.
How did life as a cowboy follow the seasons?
- in winter they hung round the ranch, or lived in 'line camps', taking daily rides to stop the cattle 'drifting' onto the open plain
- in spring, they went 'bog-riding' to haul out 'mired' cows, and then went on the 'round-up'
- in summer, they went on the trail drives to market
How were cowboys' lives similar in many ways to the lives of Native Americans?
- they were entirely dependent on the natural products of the Great Plains
- they moved around - though the cowboys were herding cattle, whereas the Native Americans were following the buffalo
- they cared for the cattle, eg by bog-riding and from line-camps, in a way similar to the way Native
- American dog-soldiers cared for the buffalo
their food and clothing was derived from cattle - beef and leather
- the round-up was a collective, community event similar in many ways to a buffalo hunt
cowboys developed a system of long-range signals, such as waving a hat, in much the same way as the Native Americans used smoke signals
What hardships did real life cowboys have to endure?
- freezing winter cold in the line camps
- danger of being trampled, especially in a stampede
- danger of drowning - crossing rivers
- rain, hail and burning sun on the long drive
- having to stay awake all night on guard duty on the long drive
- having to ride 'drag' on the long drive - dust from the herd
- attacks from Native American warriors on the long drive
- attacks from rustlers
Cowboys and their jobs
There were different types of cowboys who each did a particular job, describe them.
Trail boss - Is in charge of the drive
Chuck wagon - Acts as the cook
Point - Keeps lookout and turns the herd
Swing - Watches the flanks of the herd
Drag - Chases up stragglers
Wrangler - Looks after the horses