The Trail in fact aided in the collection of herds of cattle from San Antonio, Helena and Texana in the south and Uvalde, and also from Comanche and Fort Worth, from further north. From Fort Worth, the Chisolm Trail goes straight northwards, and crosses the Red River at Red River Station, and when it reaches the Indian Nation Territory, it passes through Rush Springs, Kingfisher and Hennessy on through to Kansas. In fact, what made this particular trail very important was the fact that along the route, there were present, three important cattle terminals, which were Wichita, Abilene, and Newton. Abilene was in fact one of the largest cow towns in Kansas, and it was a mere hamlet of twelve red roofed cabins in the year 1867, which was the year when Joseph Mc Coy, a cattle dealer from Chicago, happened to arrive at Kansas.
Recognizing the potential of the town as a potential cattle center, he started negotiations with Hannibal and St. Joseph RR, for better rates, and started the process of building cattle pens, and then sent circulars to all the Texas drovers that the Chisolm Trail was the best route to be used to drive their cattle north. He promised that there was more grass, more water and more prairies along the trail, as well as less timber and less Indians. Soon, a number of herders started to use this promised trail, and this was how the Chisolm Trail started to gain in popularity among the ranchers of that day. (Famous Cattle Trails)
2. The Shawnee Trail:
In the year 1846, one Edward Piper, happened to drive a herd North of Missouri, and into the state of Ohio, and his purpose was to sell the cattle that he was driving in the spring of 1847. This trail came to be known as, in later years, the Osage Trace, or the Kansas Trail, or the Shawnee Trail. By the time it was the mid-1850's, the trail became extremely popular and it began to be used by numbers of Texas drovers. They would in fact start by crossing the Red River at Red Rock, which is actually near the current town on Preston, in Texas, today, and then move north to boggy Depot, and then on to the northeast across the Arkansas River. They would then drive their cattle through Fort Gibson, and then through Baxter Springs, Kansas and then on to Joplin, Missouri.
It was after the Civil War that the Shawnee Trail became an increasingly popular and came to be known as an established route that extended south through the state of Texas. The Shawnee Trail is in fact one of the oldest known cattle trails, and it remained an important and widely used cattle trail until the year 1879, because of the fact that it would terminate at Baxter Station, which was situated directly across the border, from Indian Nation Territory, and also because it was several miles closer to the Eastern markets. (Famous Cattle Trails)
3. The Western Trail
The Great Western Trail where more than six million Texas Longhorn Cattle would have walked and grazed during the years from 1866 to 1885 is located between Bandera in Texas, Northwest of San Antonio, and about 450 miles south of the Red River. It started at Bandera, and ended in Dodge City, at Kansas, about 45 miles north of Indian Territory. In 1892, homesteaders began to fence in Oklahoma Territory, and at this time, there was confusion about whether the Great Western Trail was actually the old 'Doan Trail', which in fact it was, or whether it was the 'Old Dodge City Trail', which it was, because of the fact that it ended at Dodge City, and there were some who believed that the Chisolm Trail and the Great Western Trail were one and the same, which it was not. The so-called Doan's Crossing was directly opposite to Doan's Store, and in fact, CE Doan has kept the records of the herds crossing the trail meticulously and extremely well. The trail drivers who crossed the Great Western Trail would have been able to see the Wichita Mountains on one side, whose peak was also known as the Mount Webster, or the Mount Teepee, and drivers would be able to pint out this peak when crossing the North fork of the Red River. (The Great Western Cattle Trail)
4. The Goodnight-Loving Trail:
This trail ran from Young County, Texas, southwest to Horse head Crossing on the Pecos River, to the Pecos, to Fort Sumner, New Mexico, and then onwards up to Colorado. It was in early 1886 that Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving happened to drive their first herd of Longhorn cattle up over the Butterfield Overland Mail Route, near the Fort Belknap, through the Middle Concho River, to the Horse head crossing, or the Dead Horse Crossing. After leaving the former mail route where it was, these two drivers would go up to the Pecos, crossing it from time to time, as and when they needed to do so, and when the cattle needed a watering hole or two. However, it was not until the year 1866 that the northern extension of the goodnight-Loving Trail was discovered, by Loving himself, and after this discovery, the trail could run north from Fort Sumner up the Pecos to Las Vegas, and then it would go across the Santa Fe Trail to Raton Pass, from where it would wind around the base of the Rockies via Trinidad and Pueblo to Denver, Colorado. (Good-Night Loving Trail: The Handbook of Texas Online)
However, this was still a roundabout way, and it would waste a lot of time, and this led Goodnight to search for another route, which he discovered eventually in the year 1867, after which the distance was reduced by about fifty to sixty miles to the east. This new route would cross the Gallinas valley and the well-watered plains of northeastern New Mexico near Capulin Mountains, and then move back towards the Raton Pass. Numerous cattle concerns from Texas, New Mexico, as well as from Colorado ended up using the Goodnight-Loving Trail, until the advent of the railroads in the Southwest in the 1880's. (Good-Night Loving Trail: The Handbook of Texas Online)
C. Round up
The 'round up' of the cattle that would have had to be driven along any of the trails was an extremely difficult and time consuming activity in the days of yore, but it was unavoidable, and it had to be done. According to an Article in the Wild West magazine, about Jerree Chisholm's Trail, that led from Texas to Abilene, in Kansas, driving a herd of 'half-wild Longhorns' over that trail was in fact a literal 'Baptism by Fire'. One description says that when the Red River was once in full flood, and its waters were looking more like the waters of the Mississippi River than the small and muddy stream of water that the cowboys had been expecting, one brave man, named Todd, was determined to get his herds of cattle across, no matter what. This man was keenly aware of the dangers of what would happen if his large herd of cattle was to get stuck up in the waters of the Red River near a ford, and what a long wait for the water of the river to go down there would have to be, for him as well as for his cattle, if that were to happen, and with the more than 25,000 heads of cattle standing there in the rolling land, all packed tightly together, would be an inevitable disaster, if there were to be a panic and a subsequent stampede. Anyway, even if that didn't happen, the land would soon be overgrazed. (Hard times along the Chisholm Trail)
Therefore, Todd called one of his hands, Jim Foster, and asked him to drive the lead steers across the water first. However, this caused the steers to swim around in a circle after having reached halfway across, and this caused a jam, and the jam would have to be broken before more cattle at the center of the circle would be pushed under the water, and drowned. What Foster did was that he drove his horse to the middle of the river, climbed on to one of the Longhorns, and walked across the herd, as if 'it was a logjam'. He straddled one of the biggest steers in the herd, and forced it to swim to the far bank, and automatically, the rest of the herd followed that steer. In this way, Jim Foster managed to save Todd's herd of more than 25,000 cattle, most of which would have perished but for the timely round up of the cattle that Jim Foster managed to accomplish.
In fact, after the Civil War, there were many young men just like…