From Governor Galvez to General Pemberton: Texas Cattle Drives, 1779-1863




Scott, William V.

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Cattle have been connected with the settlement of Texas dating back to it's earliest European inhabitants. Cattle have served as a crucial element of the settlement of Texas as it was a lifeline that produced meat, leather, tallow and an assortment of related byproducts. Wild cattle thrived in the South Texas borderlands and became an invaluable resource of commerce for these settlers of the Texas frontier. To get these Texas cattle to markets cattle drives were established by the Spanish. These drives show a continuity of the cattle drives that spread the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. This thesis will argue that this continuity of cattle ranching, and the cattle drives that transported cattle to distant markets from the Spanish trade with Coahuila and Louisiana to Anglo Americans trailing from coast to coast prior to the U.S. Civil War. Making the post-Civil War cattle drives part of a much larger context, and the American Civil War a hiccup in the growing Texas cattle industry. This thesis will show that there are traditions of cattle ranching in Texas, that trace their roots to the Spanish, African, and Anglo traditions that evolved to make the Texas cattle industry and spread these Texas cattle from California to New York in the Antebellum period. While during the Civil War thousands of Texas cattle were shipped east to support Confederate troops in the field.


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cattle, cattle drives, ranching, Spanish Texas, U.S. Civil War