Flashcards in The Cattle Men Deck (17):
How did the cattle industry develop ?
Cattle first were brought to America by European invaders they were not native animals. In the 1850s southern Texas was the major centre for cattle ranching. Texas longhorn were a breed of cow that were traditional and hardy animals. The population of cattle began to steadily increase in Texas in times of war (the American civil war) this was because the settled cattle ranchers were practicing as soldiers and hence were not monitoring the breeding of their herd. When the cattle ranchers returned home they were surprised to see such a huge herd of cattle. In the 1850's beef became a popular choice of meat hence the cattle industry grew.
Why did the demand for beef increase?
By the time the demoralised soldiers of the civil war returned to their ranches there was a new market for cattle. The US army in the west who had bases set up and the indians on reservations needed a source of meat hence were willing to buy from these cattle men, plus miners and railroad builders were willing to purchase cattle and beef from the cattle men. These factors combined with the growing popularity of the meat in the east meant that it was in high demand.
What initially was done to deliver cattle to the consumers?
The first people to drive cattle out of Texas where the industry were initially based was men 'Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving'. They developed the goodnight and loving trail. This route from Texas took the cattle up through New Mexico in an attempt to avoid homesteader land and to Wyoming where there were large Indian reservations and US army forts.
Why did Oliver goodnight and Charles goodnight have to make this trip and not just take a direct route?
Cattle men and homesteaders had frictions relationships , this was because on the cattle drive from Texas to market towns could trample homesteader land. This meant their fences could be damaged their crops could be damaged , their land could be trespassed and the cows being brought up from Texas could spread Texas fever which was spread by ticks and was dangerous to some live stock and could therefore kill the homesteaders cattle. Also the cattle being driven from Texas to the market could graze homesteader grass hence they were very disapproving of cattle driving across their land. for this reason goodnight and loving were forced to come up with a way of avoiding this friction , hence they took alternate routes through land which had not yet being settled by homesteaders such as through New Mexico.
What was the second advance in the cattle industry ?
Joseph McCoy then advanced on the idea of a cattle drive through setting up Cow towns in a small ton named Abilene in Kansas in 1867. McCoy bought this land and built stock pens. He advertised his new 'cow town' as a shipping point. Cow boys would drive the cattle to the cowtowns from where they could be placed on trains and moved across homesteader land as while on board a train they could not spread Texas fever. Through the use of the rail road then the cows could be sent east or west to markets in these parts , it also shortened the journeys of the cowboys.
What was the problem with cow towns ?
the problem with cowtowns was that as homesteaders moved further and further to the west the access to the cowtowns became limited as homesteaders exhibited hostility when it came to cattle crossing their land. This meant a lot of pre existing routes to cowtowns from where cattle could be loaded onto the transcontinental railways and sent to market were blocked.
Who was John Illif and what did he do
John Illif was a the first man to set up a ranch on the plains land. John Illif failed to make it in the California gold rush hence as an alternative he became a cattle rancher. Illif came to discover that cattle could survive thee cold plains winter and also realised in doing so that it could kill the ticks which were responsible for Texas fever . Illif built up his ranch near the end of the good night and loving trail and hear he began to build up. heard. The homesteaders had claimed the land as their own and were settling it thus ranchers such as ill decided to follow this and also set up stance as ranchers. This type of ranching was known as open range ranching as the territory of one mans cows was not marked out by fences , cattle roamed freely over the land , cattle was branded to show who it belonged to . the ranchers technically did not own all of the land as they realistically could not afford all the land it would take to graze their cattle however they claimed it as their own ranches.
What were the benefits of ranching
the benefits of ranching where that cattle who had previously been riddled with ticks were able to loose their ticks due to the cold over the winter months on the northern plains , it also mean that the dangerous and tasking job of cattle ranching no longer had to be completed as the cattle were not moved but left to graze on the ranches , plus the rail roads that passed the ranches were able to take the cattle to market. Plus it meant the cattle affected only neighbouring homesteaders rather than an array the stretch of the trail . the Indians had been moved onto reservations hence the problem of frictions relationships were lesser. The ranching was also successful as the buffalo who had previously grazed the plains were slaughtered by hunters . Plus ranching was easy to commence as the plains had plentiful land , with stocks of grass for feeding and they were in the early stages of the rages barren thus did not disturb anyone.
Why did the open range come to a close ?
The open range came to a close as the terrible winters of 1886 and 1887 caused the death of thousands of cattle . Plus as the popularity of ranching grew the grass of the prairies which was used for grazing dwindled meaning some cattle began to starve as there was not enough food to be shared among the cows . Making profit from cattle also became harder as it by this point was a common meat so there was lots of competition in the beef market and people were beginning to go off the taste of the meat and move onto new things like lamb. In addition to this large ranching companies squeezed out smaller ranching companies, this put smaller ranchers out of buisness .
An additional reason for the end of the open range was that ranchers came to the conclusion that they could do better if they kept a smaller quantity of cows but fed these well thus producing a better quality of meat.
What was the most important war in the cattle industry , what happened and why?
In Wyoming which was an area that was relatively far in the western direction of the plains location known as Johnson County had been settled by cattle barons in the 1870's . these 'cattle barrens' ran large ranches and were powerful men who worked often together in the interests of their own ranches but had little time for smaller less successful cattlemen.
the 3 main causes of the Johnson county war were:
beef prices were falling and the harsh winter of 1866 - 1867 had damaged the income of the cattle ranchers as they had lost alot of their live stock to the cold.
Additionally smaller ranchers and homesteaders were presenting themselves as contenders to the cattle barons as they were doing into Wyoming and claiming land that the cattle barons had previously used for cattle grazing as their own.
rustling (the stealing of cattle ) was becoming a problem for these cattle barons , they were under the impression that smaller ranchers and homesteaders where stealing the offspring of their cattle before they had had the opportunity to be branded and keeping it as their own. It was hard to get the law to prosecute these men as the barrens could not prove that the live stock of the smaller. ranchers and homesteaders belonged to them so as I consequence they took matter into their own hands.
The cattle barons in Wyoming firstly showed to what extent they did not approve of these smaller ranchers and homesteaders in 1889 , in this instance a group men lynched Jim Averill and his prostitute girl friends as they had been living on cattle rancher land. although the barrens were never prosecuted every one knew the murders where their work however they were able to escape prosecution through stating Jim Averill was a rustler.
After this did not seem to ward of those undesirables trying to claim the barrens land they launched a full scale attack on the Johnson county - an area in Wyoming- the governor of Wyoming knew all about this attack however did nothing to prevent it he even went as far to as supply the barrens with guns and recruit gun fighters for the purpose of the attack , this was probably because cattle barrens were very influential individuals whom had friends in high places( the social elite) The gun fighters were also brought to just outside Johnson country by a specialist train provided by the railroad companies who were also aware of the pending attack. The plan was to enter the town of buffalo and kill meant that they had marked on their death list as well as the sherif , this was a bid by the ranchers to show their power .
the gunfighters and cattlemen made up an invasion force of roughly 50 men , the invaders started by cutting the telephone wires to cut ff Johnson county from the outside world. However the team did not reach the town of buffalo in the way they had intended , on their way to the town they were spotted by towns person 'Nate Champion' and friend anfter the barrens killed champions friend he was managed to single hadnidly hold off the force of 50 men from a stance in a canon for the majority of the day. Nate Champion was only overcome as he was burnt from hs stance in the cabin .
However during the time Nate Champion had been holding of the attack some by passers had noticed the invaders thus by the time Nate Champion was dead the town of Buffalo has been alerted.
As the cattle barrens and gunslingers marched onward to buffalo they were meat by a mob of nearly 300 armed men , the barrens retreated and had to rely on the US cavalry to come and save them . The cattle barrens were not convicted for this crime however they never managed to uphold the same power again as they lost status through the attack. after the commotion the conflict between the barrens and smaller ranchers died down as they were left to continue in peace.
Who were the cowboys ?
The cowboys were those whom drove the cattle along the cattle drives, from cowtown to cowtown , to the market and also those whom rides the perimeter of the ranches to ensure the cattle were staying within the perimeter and that there were no wholes in the fence , the group was composed of a number of different people
the cowboys were composed of a number of people ,
- young single men who had heard tales of the wild west and were seeking a life full of new adventure
- freed ex black slaves that needed an occupation
-thieves / social rejects that wanted to leave their reality/ were on the run and escaping justice in the east
-ex soldiers who wanted a new start.
What was the job of a cowboy like?
The cowboys were poorly paid by the cattle men , they were people of very few possessions as generally they did not come from fortunate backgrounds and were not materialistic people. The cowboys lived dangerous lives their life in the outdoors made them vulnerable to extreme weather, snake and pest bites which could be fatal and also stampedes by remaining buffalo and also by the cattle being herded , a cow boys prime position was normally his horse.
What was the job of a cowboy ?
A cowboy generally would heard the animals on "the long drive" across cattle trails to market towns , cow towns or the rail road.the cowboys would protect the cows which were valuable as they could be sold for profit thus often freed them from thick mud , heavy snow or wire, after ranching began on ranches rather than in the open range cowboys would be employed to keep stray cows that were not the belonging of the barren or head rancher from grazing their grass, the cowboys also often shot predators of the cattle that lived on the plains
Which items did the cowboy value ?
the cowboy valued his hat as it was his roof against the elements , as well as his bandana which could serve multiple purposes such as a mask in sand storms a scarf in the chill of the wind a neck shield for the hot days and also a bandage inn the case of injury. The cowboys also carried lariats in order to catch the cattle as well as 6 barrel guns for self defence purposes and to ward of cattle.
What was the behaviour of the cowboys like ?
The cowboys were commonly seen as reckless individuals who were immoral. After long cattle drives and very longly stints out in the range they would return to cowtowns and spend their wages on alcohol and prostitutes , as they consumed so much alcohol they often exhibited drunken disorderly behaviour and would easily turn on each other. Plus as they carried guns they were seen as wild. In actuality on the most part cowboys were characters of endurance who were persistent and put their lives on the line to attain a good wage , they would complete "the long drive" and live a life with relatively little company other than fellow cowboy hence did not have family ties normally and were single men gear to spend their wages as they reached their final destination. Their jobs was often boring such as continually riding the perimeter of the ranch however they were wrongly built a portfolio of wreck less behaviour by the press who hyperbolised their wildness, to make the west seem appealing and like an area of interest.
relations of the cattle men and homesteaders
the cattlemen and homesteaders had frictions relations with one another as they were all interested in the same land, sometimes cattle men accidentally infected the live stock of the cattlemen with things such as Texas fever which built tension and meant the homesteaders were reluctant to accept the cattlemen. Sheep farmers were also in competition with the ranchers and would be often discriminated against as the sheep farmers were often of the nationalities and lamb was seen as the less expensive animals which made sheep farmers inferior to cattle ranchers. There were also conflicts between homesteaders and cattle men as homesteaders would often fence of water supplies which meant the cattle could no longer drink this angered the ranchers whom would then proceed to cut down the fences which enraged the homesteaders . The invention of barbed wire meant that land could be separated but it also meant that conflict could arise as cutting someone else fence was a huge insult as it was taking away their lively hood by impairing their ability to ranch or homestead.