Chisholm Trail

Chisholm Trail, route over which vast herds of cattle were driven from Texas to the railheads in Kansas after the Civil War. Its name is generally believed to come from Jesse Chisholm, a part-Cherokee trader who, in the spring of 1866, drove his wagon, heavily loaded with buffalo hides, through the Indian Territory that is now Oklahoma to his trading post near Wichita, Kans., the wheels cutting deep ruts in the prairie. These marked a route followed for almost two decades by traders and by drovers bringing cattle to shipping points and markets in Kansas. Hundreds of thousands of Texas longhorns were driven north annually, following the Eastern and Western trails in Texas to the Chisholm Trail, which became celebrated in frontier lore and cowboy ballads. With the development of railroads and the introduction of wire fencing, the trail fell into disuse, although traces of it can still be seen.

See studies by W. Gard (1954) and B. J. Fletcher (1968).

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright© 2015, The Columbia University Press.

Chisholm Trail: Selected full-text books and articles

Storm and Stampede on the Chisholm By Hubert E. Collins; Robert R. Dykstra; Paul Brown University of Nebraska Press, 1998
Touring the Old West By Kent Ruth University of Nebraska Press, 1986
Librarian’s tip: "Jesse Chisholm among Others" begins on p. 21
FREE! American Ballads and Songs By Louise Pound Charles Scribner's Sons, 1922
Librarian’s tip: "The Old Chisholm Trail" begins on p. 167
Santa Fe: The Railroad That Built an Empire By James Marshall Random House, 1945
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of Jesse Chisholm and the Chisholm Trail begins on p. 49
American Cities in the Growth of the Nation By Constance McLaughlin Green John De Graff, 1957
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of the Chisholm Trail begins on p. 150
What They Didn't Teach You about the Wild West By Mike Wright Presidio Press, 2000
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of the Chisholm Trail begins on p. 79
Tom Horn: Last of the Bad Men By Jay Monaghan University of Nebraska Press, 1997
Librarian’s tip: Discussion of the Chisholm Trail begins on p. 36
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