Chisholm Trail 150 Celebration in 2017

Posted by Rob Houston, Visit Enid Communications Coordinator on 01/04/2017

Enid is playing its part in the planning and development of Oklahoma activities commemorating the 150-year anniversary of the Chisholm Trail in 2017.

Chisholm Trail 150In its time, the Chisholm Trail was considered to be one of the wonders of the western world. Herds with as many as ten thousand cattle were driven from Texas over the trail to Kansas. The trail acquired its name from trader Jesse Chisholm, a part-Cherokee, who just before the Civil War had built a trading post in what is now western Oklahoma City. Black Beaver, a Delaware Indian scout and friend of Chisholm, had led Union soldiers north into Kansas along part of the route after the federal government abandoned Indian Territory to the Confederates at the beginning of the Civil War.

During the Civil War, while many Texans were away fighting for the Confederacy, the cattle multiplied. By 1866 they were only worth four dollars per head in Texas. In the North and East they could be worth forty dollars per head. In 1866 some herds traveled the Shawnee Trail in eastern Oklahoma, but the woods and the region’s rough terrain discouraged trail driving.

In 1867 Joseph McCoy built stockyards on the Kansas-Pacific railroad in Abilene, Kansas. He sent men south to encourage Texas cattlemen to send herds to his stockyards. He also encouraged cattle buyers to come to Abilene, where cattle would be waiting. Drovers followed assorted minor trails through south and central Texas northward to the Red River crossing and then joined the Abilene Cattle Trail, which later became famous as the Chisholm Trail. It was so named at least by 1870 for trader Jesse Chisholm, who had operated a ranch near Wichita, Kansas, during the war. After being driven north along the Chisholm Trail to Abilene, the cattle were shipped east to the beef packers. (Source: Oklahoma Historical Society)

Enid has teamed up with  the Oklahoma Historical Society, the Chisholm Trail Museum in Duncan and the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department to spearhead Oklahoma's efforts to bring foreign and domestic visitors to the Chisholm Trail. 

Visit for details on the Trail and the 150th Anniversary Celebration taking place in 2017.

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