Texas Cattle Drive
By Kezia

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   The first cowboys, the Texans, stole cattle from Mexican ranches. The cowboys later learned how to take care of the ranches on their own. Many Texans went to fight in the South during the Civil War. When they returned they saw that their ranches were ruined and the cattle were roaming free. Since the price of meat was ten times higher in the north than it was in Texas, the ranchers knew that could make fortunes if they got their cattle to the north. But to reach their goals, the cowboys needed a strong drive crew.

Heading North

  Texas cowboys had to drive their cattle a long way, and during the trips they faced some problems. The cowboys drove the first herds 1,500 miles northward. The ranchers in the north were scared that the Texas cattle would bring illnesses to their animal. Joseph G McCoy scouted a new place for cattlemen and buyers to meet. The new depot, Abilene, became a booming town and the Texas cattle was born

The Drive Crew

A cattle drive could take up to six months. The drive crew made the difficult and dangerous months much easier. The trail boss led the drive crew and was the owner who was in charge of up to a dozen cowboys. The cook drove the chuck wagon. The younger cowboys, also called wranglers, watched over spare horses and brought up the rear of the herd. The crew brought the herd from one watering place to another.

Rounding Up the Cattle

Cattle drives became a regular event once the route north was established. Cattle roamed freely most of the year. In spring, cowboys rounded up all the cattle they could find. Then the drive crews started to herd several thousand head of cattle northward.

So you can see, cattle drives could be difficult. Cattle could get very sick. Without a strong drive crew, the cattle drives would be impossible.

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