H. S. Tennant
By: Thornhill, McClintock, Burton, Hutchinson,
AN ACT PROVIDING FOR LOCATING, TRACING, MAPPING AND FILING PLATES OF THE LINES OF THE OLD ESTABLISHED CATTLE TRAILS ACROSS THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA, AND PROVIDING FOR THE EXPENSES OF SUCH WORK, AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.
Be It Enacted by the People of the State of Oklahoma:
SECTION 1. It shall be the duty of the State Highway Department of the State of Oklahoma, and the said department is required to immediately locate the correct line of the old established Chisholm Trail across the State of Oklahoma, showing as near as possible the exact location that the same crossed each section of land in said state in its course from the point where said trail crossed the south line of said state in southern Jefferson County, Oklahoma, to where it crossed the north line of said state in northern Grant County, Oklahoma, and said Highway Department shall also locate in the same manner the correct line of the old established Texas Cattle Trail crossing western Oklahoma from where it crossed the south line of the State of Oklahoma, crossing the Red River at what is known as Doan's Store or Doan's Crossing, and following the line of the said trail north to where it crossed the north line of said State of Oklahoma south of Dodge City or Fort Dodge, Kansas. The said department shall cause maps to be made of the said locations so determined by them, which said maps shall show the location of the main line of the Rock Island Railway running across said state to Dallas, Texas, and shall show the location of the present Meridian Highway, being Government Highway No. 81, across said state, and the proximity of said railroad and said highway to the said trail.
SECTION 2. At least one copy of the said maps above referred to shall be retained in the office of the State Highway Department, and one copy shall be furnished to the State Historical Society to be preserved in the office of said society, and that smaller copies of the same shall be prepared, either by drafts or by printing, and shall be by the said Highway Department and by the said State Historical Society furnished to all known map makers, who are making and placing upon the market maps of the State of Oklahoma, so that the same may be copied and inserted on said maps.
SECTION 3. That all expenses connected with the carrying out of this provision shall be defrayed and paid by the State Highway Department out of any available funds in their hands, provided, that in no event, shall the expense exceed five hundred dollars ($500.00) out of the General Revenue Fund.
SECTION 4. It being immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety, an emergency is hereby declared to exist, by reason whereof this Act shall take effect and be in full force from and after its passage and approval.
PASSED by the House of Representatives this the 27th day of March, 1931.
PASSED by the Senate this the 26th day of March, 1931.
APPROVED by the Governor of the State of Oklahoma: On this the 31 day of March, 1931
WM. H. MURRAY.
STATE HIGHWAY COMMISSION
February 19, 1936
Mr. Dan Peery, Secretary
In accordance with House Bill No. 149, which provided for the locating, tracing and mapping of the Chisholm and Texas Cattle Trails across Oklahoma by the State Highway Department, we are transmitting herewith for the files of the Historical Society tracings of the two trails as located by the Highway Department from the historical data also attached.
Very truly yours,
THE TEXAS CATTLE TRAILS
|J. C. Chisum||62 years old||Altus, Oklahoma|
|W. F. (Fox) Chambers||79 " "||" "|
|A. G. Wilson||77 " "||Hess, "|
|J. A. Madden||70 " "||Hess, Oklahoma|
|N. J. McElroy||75 " "||Blair, "|
|John L. McDonald||52 " "||Port, "|
|R. P. Dunn||62 " "||" "|
|J. A. McDonald||83 " "||Carter, "|
|W. F. Copeland||78 " "||Lone Wolfe, "|
|O. F. Curry||59 " "||" " "|
|T. F. Wright||48 " "||" " "|
|R. W. (Bob) Winters||55 " "||" " "|
|Tom P. Tackett||73 " "||" " "|
|Geo. W. Briggs||81 " "||Granite, "|
|S. H. Tittle||75 " "||" "|
|I. W. Estes||76 " "||Headrick, "|
|L. M. Mathews||64 " "||Port, "|
|J. B. Sullins||65 " "||Canute, "|
|Q. E. Bates||60 " "||" "|
|O. Rea||69 " "||" "|
|G. W. Turney||54 " "||" "|
|D. W. (Mat) Blocker||83 " "||Elk City, "|
|P. R. Ackley||69 " "||" " "|
|Cris Kauk||57 " "||Butler, "|
|John Kinner||65 " "||" "|
|F. T. Walker||75 " "||" "|
|Bob Nickels||68 " "||" "|
|U. G. Armstrong||68 " "||" "|
|Henry Bibbs||69 " "||" "|
|W. I. Richardson||65 " "||" "|
|W. N. Chandler||71 " "||Leedy, "|
|Frankie Benge||76 " "||" "|
|Sam A. Stout||81 " "||" "|
|Ben Aston||60 " "||" "|
|Geo. Allen||84 " "||" "|
|J. M. Patterson||59 " "||" "|
|W. A. Patterson||56 " "||" "|
|S. P. (Price) Hall||72 " "||" "|
|J. A. (Allen) Mulkey||70 " "||" "|
|Tom Black||73 " "||Camargo, "|
|Jeff Rhorer||70 " "||" "|
|Greal Turner||Vici, "|
|G. W. Trimble||41 " "||" "|
|S. F. Kygar||54 " "||Vici, Oklahoma|
|I. P. Ventioner||70 " "||Lenora, "|
|John, A. Trotter||80 " "||Sharon, "|
|Buck Walsh||58 " "||Woodward, "|
|G. K. Tousley||60 " "||Vici, "|
|W. H. Payton||Woodward, "|
|H. E. McDonald||48 " "||" "|
|C. S. Baird||68 " "||" "|
|John Smith||60 " "||Fargo, "|
|Henry Schmidt||Tangier, "|
|Herman Flherty||63 " "||Gage, "|
|Robert Ward||" "|
|Otto Lienemann||51 " "||May, "|
|P. T. Pete Lienemann||51 " "||" "|
|Mrs. S. H. James||75 " "||Laverne, "|
|W. R. Cornell||84 " "||" "|
|C. C. (Chris) Doby||90 " "||" "|
|W. F. Kinney||65 " "||" "|
|S. T. Love||" "|
|J. H. Pennington||78 " "||May, "|
|P. E. McAlheney||Rosston, "|
|Frank Armstrong||Laverne, "|
|W. H. Neff||56 " "||" "|
|Mrs. Mable Dean Igou||48 " "||Doan, Texas|
|L. (Grandma) Mason||78 " "||Supply, Oklahoma|
|Jack Innis||70 " "||" "|
|Melch Ortiz (Mexican)||74 " "||Buffalo, "|
|Brad Grimes||75 " "||Ashland, Kansas|
|J. H. Snider||74 " "||Rosston, Oklahoma|
|J. Shumann||" "|
|W. H. Painter||67 " "||" "|
|Chas. Dunagan||64 " "||Buffalo, "|
Oklahoma City, Okla,
June 15, 1933
Mr. H. S. Tennant
Oklahoma State Highway Commission
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Drivers starting cattle drives from southern Texas usually started from the vicinity of San Antonio, going north thru Texas. In the late sixties after the Civil War, the State of Texas was checkerboard cattle country. Cattle was driven from practically all points in Texas north to the northern markets. In the year of 1866 just after the Civil War, cattle was first driven over the Eastern Texas Trail in Texas, crossing Red River at what was known as the Old Red River Station, located in Texas near the mouth of Salt Creek in Montague County.
At the Old Red River Station, then entered Indian, Territory going north up the Jesse Chisholm Trail, going on by Monument Hills, crossing Cow Creek at the old Duncan Store, then on north thru now the town of Marlow; thence on by the old Cook Brothers Store, located on the Washita River, crossing the Washita River at the old Rock crossing about four miles southeast of the present town of Chickasha, thence on north to the old town of Silver City, located on the south bank of the South Canadian River, located about two miles north of the present town of Tuttle, then on north crossing the Cimarron River near the mouth of Kingfisher Creek, thence to Dover, thence on north to Hennessey where Pat Hennessey was killed by the Indians in 1874. The Trail ran on north through the town of Enid by the Bull Foot Springs and on north thru Pond Creek and east of Medford to Caldwell, Kansas. This was the end of the Chisholm Trail in Old Oklahoma, or Indian Territory.
As the country began settling up the drives had to be changed further west. About 1876 drivers began crossing at Doan's Store at what was known in Texas as the Western Trail Crossing of Red River. Entering Indian Territory near the mouth of the north Fork of Red River, then on north about six miles east of the town of Altus, and crossing the North Fork of Red River, north of the present town of Warren; going on north thru the Wichita Mountains, later called the Granite Mountains. The trail ran on northeast, east of the present town of Granite, thru the town of Port and on up on the west side of the Trail Elk Creek by the old Soldiers' Spring and about two miles east of Canute, Oklahoma.
Crossing Oak Creek in the south part of Custer county in S. 31 T 12 N, R 19 W, then on northeast to the crossing of Washita River about six miles south of Butler, Oklahoma, the Trail go-
ing north up the water divide between Washita River and Barnett Creek. Missing the town of Ray, Oklahoma one mile west, then on north through the Gyp Hills entering the McKenzie Flats east of the town of Leedy, Oklahoma, and west of the South Canadian River, going just west of the town of Trail, crossing the South Canadian River just west of the present bridge of the M. K. & T. Railroad about a mile and one-half south of Camargo, Oklahoma. The Trail then bore west crossing Trail Creek, west of Camargo, going up the divide between Gyp Creek and Trail Creek and on by the old Cedar Springs which was a very noted watering place and camp ground.
Then on north the Trail ran crossing near the head of South Persimmon Creek then on north near the head of North Persimmon Creek and by the old spring near the head of Indian Creek. Thence the Trail bore in a northwest course crossing Wolf Creek near the mouth of Boggy Creek. Then the Trail went on northwest crossing the divide into the headwaters of Otter Creek going on down Otter Creek and crossing Beaver Creek near the mouth of Clear Creek, which is located about three miles northwest of May, Oklahoma. Then the Trail ran in the general northern direction and going by old Buffalo Springs which is now called Doby Springs. Mr. Chris Doby filed on the claim in 1893, the year the Cherokee Strip opened, and lived on this place until the year of 1912, now owned by John D. Carter. The Trail ran on across the divide going down near Readout Creek crossing the Oklahoma-Kansas State line, just east of Readout Creek and crossing the Cimarron River at what was known in those days as Deep Hole.
C. C. (Chris) Doby of Laverne, Oklahoma. Age 90, June 27, 1933. Came from North Carolina in 1870 to Emporia, Kansas and went from Kansas to Indian Territory and then to Texas. He rode cattle trails the year round for forty five years for different companies in Indian Territory, Texas, Kansas, New Mexico and Colorado.
I have a right to know the Old Chisholm Trail as well as anyone now living. I knew Joe McCoy personally, the man who established the first stock pens at Abilene, Kanasas in 1867.
I knew Bat Masterson, Bob Wright, George Beverly, York and Draper, George W. Saunders of Cattle Commission Company of San Antonio and Forth Worth Texas. I knew Fort Worth when it was no more than blacksmith shop, Post Office and grocery store. I knew Ham Bell, Alf. Walker.
I knew the Trail from Doan's Store going thru the old Indian Territory and Nation to Dodge City, Kansas as heretofore described as the Tuttle Trail.
In April, 1883, I came from Dodge City, Kansas, and went to work on the YL Cattle Ranch. This ranch was located on the west side of the old Texas Cattle Trail and extended from the divide between Wolf Creek and the Cimarron to the Kansas line. The YL Cattle Company fenced this land in 1883. It paralleled the old Texas Cattle Trail for perhaps twenty-five miles, that is the east end. In working the country at that time we worked all over it. In general roundups and such like. That way the hands traveled all over the country. I went as far south as Doan's Store on Red River once. That is over into Texas. I went down there with two or three others and we worked on the general round-up. We came back through Texas, gathering up our cattle and taking them home.
I guess we had about 20,000 head on the range. We went along the various creeks and rivers, gathering up the cattle and had no particular route. We had no trouble in crossing any of the rivers. I can't remember anything in particular in the way of excitement. I was sent with L. H. Henry who was outside man for the YL Ranch. All of the land west of the North Fork was called Greer County at that time. There were no disputes that I remember of. We went down through what was called the Wichita Mountains. They are now called the Granite Mountains. I can't remember just where we crossed Red River. There was nothing there to mark the place.
As I remember the old Texas Cattle Trail, it crossed the South Canadian at just about the place where the railroad bridge is now
located just south of the town of Camargo, going along the divide between Trail Creek and Gyp Creek on to what was then known as Cedar Springs, which was a well known watering place and used for camping purposes. Then on to about ten miles west of Woodward, between Eight Mile Creek and Twenty-five Mile Creek. There the trail went across to the east side of Otter Creek and up to Buffalo Springs. And north from there and followed Redoubt Creek to the State line. The Texas Trail followed the old Supply Trail from Redoubt to Dodge City, Kansas, through Ashland, Kansas. There was a stage stand at Ashland, Kansas, run daily. I knew the men running them then but can't remember just now. The trails crossed Mulberry Creek twenty-five miles south of Dodge, where there was also a stage stand.
This old trail going from Dodge City almost straight south was known to everyone as the old Texas Cattle Trail. The north end was called the Dodge City Trail. I was raised about forty miles north of Dodge City, then came further south where I went to work in 1883 and worked on the cattle range. Not always for the same bunch—worked about six years, I guess. This old Texas Trail was the main trail from our ranch to Dodge City. The trail from the crossing on the Cimarron to the Kansas line was also a freight trail.
The old Jones & Plummer Trail went from Dodge City to Meade Center, crossed to Beaver City on the North Canadian, crossed Wolf Creek and went on west of Canadian City. This trail left the old Supply Trail about five miles south of Dodge City, and went in a general southwestern direction. Jones is now living at Woodward and I understand Plummer was killed sometime ago in Wyoming.
As I remember the old original Chisholm Trail—it went from Caldwell, Kansas, south to the west side of what is now Pond Creek, Oklahoma, through what is now the town of Enid, going through the Government Springs located there, and on south to Hennessey as it is now known, being named after a Pat Hennessey who was killed there. Then on south through Dover, across the Cimarron River and on the east side of the Kingfisher Creek, crossing the North Canadian about where Yukon is now. On south across the South Canadian at old Silver City where the
Johnson Ranch was located in the early 60's. On south across the Washita River at what was then known as Rock Crossing, now located about four miles south east of the present town of Chickasha. And on south to Cook Brothers Store located on the divide between Washita and Little Washita Creeks. And on south to approximately three miles east of the present Rush Springs, crossing Rush Creek near the Huntley Ranch, south through the present town of Marlow, south to old Duncan—old Duncan being located about two miles east of the present town of Duncan. In the early 60' and 70's there was no railroad in that country but in about 1892 the Rock Island Railroad built on south from Minco. At that time the old town of Duncan was moved over to the railroad where the present Duncan is located. I believe old Duncan was located on Cow Creek. Then south to about three miles east of Comanche and south to about three miles east of Addington. I know the old trail down as far as Rush Springs and have been on it, but just knew where it lead south from there.
In 1889 I filed on a claim in old Oklahoma about 12 miles east of Kingfisher. That was the year old Oklahoma opened. In those days the old Trail as above described was always known as the Jesse Chisholm Trail. And the Trail further west going through western Oklahoma north and south leading to Dodge City, Kansas, was always known as the old Texas Cattle Trail. At that time there was no question as to the names and meaning of each trail.
Doan's Store was established in April, 1878. We came in October, 1878 but Judge Doan came, and established the post April, 1878. His family came from Wilmington, Ohio. J. Doan and C. F. Doan, our father, were in Fort Sill in 1874-75 buying hides from the Indians. The Indians suggested to them if they wished to put in a store, to come to this point.
Mr. J. Doan went back to Ohio sick, but there recovered and came back in 1878. He would follow the buffalo hunters from point to point, but made a permanent camp at Doan's Crossing
in 1878. When the family got here it was too late to see the herds pass. They lived in a pickett house. According to cow-boys the first cattle to come over the trail was what was known as wet cattle from Old Mexico. They were just two jumps ahead of the Uvalde Sheriff when they crossed the ford. These herds started the trail.
The first cattle driven over the trail was in 1876. According to old trail-drivers and old cow-boys this was not called the Chisholm trail at that time. The cow-boys merely spoke of it as the trail, the word Chisholm was not used. This is not on the Chisholm trail. The trail drivers sometimes called this the Western Trail and some times it was called the Texas-Kansas Trail. My father said the trail was called Fort Griffin-Fort Dodge Trail. About two or three years before my father died he emphatically stated that this was not the Chisholm trail. This trail passes through Kiowa and Comanche country. The real Chisholm trail went through the Creek and Cherokee country. Four hundred Texas cowmen of the Texas Trail Drivers Association went on record stating the fact that this was not the Chisholm Trail. The Chisholm Trail started from Red River Station.
The Trail was pushed West by nestors and fences, however, this trail was 125 miles west of the Chisholm Trail.
In nineteen years 7,000,000 cattle and 4,000,000 horses went over this trail. My father kept a perfect account of the trail through the years. He would keep the name of the trail bosses and the number of cattle and who they belonged to, but this book was destroyed.
The year 1881 was the peak of the cattle herds. In that year 301,000 head of cattle were driven through.
The first post office was established in 1879 and C. F. Doan was made post master. The name Baldwin Springs was sent into the Post Office department as the name of the post office. But the Post Office department claimed that there were too many towns named after some sort of spring and the application being signed by a Doan the Post Office department named the town Doan.
We know very little of the location of the trail in Oklahoma, but the trail drivers when starting out from Doan's Crossing
could see one of the Wichita Mountains which stood out from the rest and was in appearance like an Indian teepee, and they used this mountain as a landmark to guide them.
The cattlemen started driving by the present site of Doan's Store in 1871. Maxwell and Morris drove the first herd going to Dodge City in 1871. The first men who made the trail went by the stars and had guides who knew where the watering holes and rivers were. These men knew nothing of the distances merely guessing at it. Some herds would start down on the Gulf and come up to Buffalo Gap, which was a popular place and source of supplies and come on up the trail.
The Maxwell-Morris trail started down at Buffalo Gap, Texas and came up by Albany in Shackleford County and on up by Fort Griffin and then up by Throckmorton. From Throckmorton it went to Seymour in Baylor County, then to Vernon, which was then called Eagle Flat. This was in 1871 and Doan's Store was not established in 1871. I later knew C. F. Doan. My father was a trader and hauled buffalo hides to various points such as Albany, Denison, Fort Worth and Doan's Store. After leaving Doan's Store we came on up through old Greer County close to North Fork and crossed North Fork of Red River north of Warren and went right up through the Wichita Mountains. We passed between what is now called Teepee Mountain and Soldiers Mountain. There were some soldiers stationed in the Wichita Mountains near a big spring.
Going on up through the Wichita Mountains we went a little to the East of Gyp Springs. Then we went on up just a little east of Lone Wolf, then on by the Comanche Springs and then turned to a East course, then turned northeast and crossed Elk Creek West of Hobart about four or five miles.
We went close to what is now the town of Port and then went west of Soldier's Springs and then right on up Trail Elk Creek.
After going up Trail Elk Creek we continued down Tenth Cavalry Creek on the north side thereof, then turned north along
a little creek called Dear Man's Creek. After this we went down a Canon called Poker Creek. Next we crossed Washita just west of the old Indian Agency. We crossed the Canadian at Camargo then went on up to Cedar Springs, which was a big watering place.
After leaving there we crossed South and North Persimmon, then went by a spring at the head of Indian Creek. We then crossed Wolf Creek near Horse Shoe Lake, about two miles north of the present town of Fargo. Then the trail went up Sixteen Mile Creek, then went down Otter Creek to the mouth of Clear Creek. We crossed the Beaver in close to the mouth of Clear Creek, then we went on in a little west of Doby Springs and we crossed the Cimarron at Dull Knife's Camp Ground.
The next place was up in Kansas, at a little town called Trail City. Before we came to Dodge we, crossed Plumb Creek and Salt River, as well as several other creeks. I went up the trail in 1872-73-74 and '75. In 1876 myself and family settled in Wichita Falls, Texas. I again came up the trail in 1882 and the trail described above was the main trail on every trip.
The trail went six miles from Woodward. We sometimes left the main trail on Indian Creek and went just a little west of Woodward, then hit the Fort Supply—Fort Sill road and went just west of Fort Supply in order to keep off the reservation. Then we bore back east and hit the old trail and went up the old wagon trail from Camp Supply to Fort Dodge. After the trail hit the Kansas Line from Fort Supply, all trails are the same.
I trailed for Tom Waggoner, as well as the Wichita Land and Cattle Company. At that time a good cow-boy got from $50.00 to $200.00 per month. I had quite a reputation as a trail driver and never lost any cattle to the Indians, except on one trip when I herded cattle for Joe Estes.
I was kidnaped by the Comanche Indians in 1860 and was held captive five months and twenty-one days. This happened in Montague County, Texas. I was a mere boy. The Indians took me up across the North Fork River, they also captured my brother and sister. My brother was seven years of age and I was nine.
They took me on and left my brother and sister with their women and children.
They took me on up to Comanche Springs, from there thirty-four warriors, two girls and myself started west.
We went to old Fort Sumner in New Mexico, from there to Newgate, Arizona. The Rangers struck the Indians in the Arizona Desert. Pursued in the Desert there was no water, except that to be obtained from the cactus plants.
We went on through the Rockies and came back down through Nebraska and Kansas on back to Fort Cobb. There my father traded the Indians $950.00 for me and $900.00 for my brother and sister, that is to say $900.00 each.
I first went over the trail in 1879. The trail went right through the town of Vernon, Texas, about a quarter of a mile west of the public square. From Vernon the trail went on up north to Doan's crossing on Red River, where Doan's Store is located. From Doan's Store the trail went along the West side of North. Fork until it got to Navajo.
From Navajo the trail went on up to where it crossed the North Fork of Red River which was at a ford due north of old Warren. This crossing is also close to the present location of N. J. McElroy's place.
The trail then went through an opening in the mountains and continued on going a little west of the present town of Lone Wolf, Oklahoma. Then in order to obtain water for the cattle the trail swung in through George W. Brigg's ranch. From here the trail went on up by Canute and crossed the Washita River about the mouth of Oak Creek, just south of Butler and went on up close to where Vici is.
We crossed South Canadian close to Trail and then crossed Trail Creek at Camargo. From this point the trail went on over North and South Persimmon Creeks, then crossed Indian Creek West of the springs, then crossed Wolf Creek southwest of Fort Supply. From Wolf Creek the trail went on north and around
in west of where Supply is, crossing Beaver Creek in close to May, Oklahoma.
I never went north of Beaver Creek but went out through Beaver and Texas Counties. I never went up the trail from Beaver Creek on North to Fort Dodge, Kansas. When I went over the trail I was taking cattle from Clay County, Texas. I have herded for both John Powers and John Haynie.
G. W. Briggs, Jr., Agent
July 6, 1933
Mr. H. S. Tennant
State Capitol Building
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
My Dear Mr. Tennant:
To fulfill a promise I made to you on June 29th, to write you a short sketch of the early Texas and Oklahoma Cow trails, bear in mind I will confine my remarks, mostly, to one main trail that started at point Isabel on the Rio Grande, thence north to San Antonio, Waco, Hillsboro, Fort Worth and Doans Store on Red River and from there to Dodge City. What I shall say about the location of this old trail shall be from my own observation, and driving over the northern portion, in the past fifty-four years, I located on this trail twenty five miles south of Vernon, Texas in 1879 on the Waggoner Ranch. In the early days this trail was known as the Abilene and Dodge trail, also as the Chisholm trail, but was never known as the Western Trail as some contend, for the reason that there was a trail west of this trail, that was used extensively in the early eighties. To my personal knowledge on May 1st, 1880 some men with myself from North Texas ranches, were sent to Doans Store to inspect all herds (for brands), that went up the trail that year. We were known as trail cutters, but the trail drivers called us the dirty bunch, because we relieved them of thousands of cattle that did not belong to them.
To best of my recollection, there were about four hundred fifty thousand cattle passed up the trail that year and about the same number in 1881. The average herd was about three thousand
cattle with about ten men per herd, each man having about seven horses. So you can see there were one hundred fifty herds, fifteen hundred men and ten thousand five hundred horses. I am reminded here of what an old Kiowa Indian Chief remarked to me one day while sitting on a hill top near Comanche Springs in 1881 after gazing stolidly over six big herds of cattle on a big flat below us. He said, "Texas heap cattle, heap horses."
Last year at the dedication of the old trail drivers monument at Doan's Store, I met about sixty of the old boys who wrangled the doggies up the trail in the early days of the trail. This monument to the old boys, was erected of a large piece of solid polished granite. Of the sixty old boys I met at that time, the youngest was seventy-five years old and the oldest was ninety-two years of age. The monument to the old trail drivers should stand in memory of the boys for hundreds of years.
Quotation from a letter from Jim McKinney of Coahoma, Texas:
"When driving cattle on the trail, there were two things required by the cow boys, when on night herd, he would have to whistle or sing. It is claimed by a poet that there will be another round-up when cowboys will have to stand and be cut out by a rider who is posted and knows every brand."
Here, I wish to pause and pay my respects to a friend who has just been cut out by the rider who knows every brand. I shall quote from the Fort Worth Star Telegram of July 4th, 1933. San Antonio, July 3rd—George W. Saunders, 79, Pioneer Cattleman of Texas, died Monday at 10:30 A. M. The name of Saunders is inseparably linked with the old trail driving days of the cattle industry. At the age of seventeen he drove his first herd across the plains, through swollen rivers and past the menace of Indians to the market at Abilene, Kansas. As the ranks of the gallant band of pioneers were thinned by time, in 1915 he was the founder of the Old Trail Drivers Association and two years later was elected President, a position held continuously thereafter. He was the inspiring force back of bringing out "The Trail Drivers of Texas", edited by J. Marvin Hunter, a book of recollections written by the trail drivers themselves. It has been declared that this volume will prove to be the stone-house of his-
torians and novelists for generations. He cherished memories of his picturesque past and only last year led twenty-five old trail drivers to Vernon and out to Doan's Crossing where a monument to the men who had driven the bellowing herds along the trail, crossing Red River at that point, was unveiled."
On May 10th, 1881, I was sent to Comanche Springs, on the North Fork of Red River five miles northeast of the present town of Granite, Oklahoma, to inspect all trail herds that went up the trail and stayed there until it was discontinued in 1889. I have been asked the question: When did the first trail herd cross Red River at Doan's Crossing? I do not claim to have positive knowledge of the first crossing. My knowledge only extends back to 1879 but I will quote from a part of a letter from J. M. (Jim) McKinney of Coahoma, Texas. "I will describe some of the routes of the old trails. The first cattle trail was made in 1867, between the Rio Grande and Des Moines, Iowa, by John Dudley. This trail was followed by John Chisholm in the early seventies from point Isabel, on the Rio Grande, to San Antonio, Waco, Hillsboro, Fort Worth and Doans on Red River and from there to Dodge City. Mr. Chisholm established another trail between San Antonio, Fort Conaho and Fort Stockton, and from there to Fort Sumner. John Chisholm was a large cattle king and was said to control nearly all the public domain in Central and Northern New Mexico. It was that from Fort Stockton to Fort Sumner was the longest stretch without water that was ever known on any trail. Nearly one hundred miles, on the long cattle trails were mirages. One could see in the distance great lakes of water, surrounded by trees but when you reached the place where the water was supposed to be, it was farther on."
Now, I will take the Texas trail also called the Chisholm trail from Doan's Crossing to where it leaves the State of Oklahoma and enters Kansas. After leaving Doan's Crossing the trail bore due north through old Greer county forty miles to Warren and crossed the North Fork of Red River; thence northwest to Comanche Springs on North Fork passing about four miles east of the present town of Lugert and about one mile east of the bridge on Highway No. 9, on North Fork. There was a company of U. S. Soldiers stationed at Comanche Springs as an escort to the herds to the Washita River and another company that went with
the herds to Supply on the North Canadian River. The trail leaving Comanche Springs due north to Elk Creek, thence north passing a little to the east of the present town of Canute. Thence north near the town of Butler, thence slightly west, passing a little to the east of Leedy; thence northwest to the present town of Trail, crossing the South Canadian at the west end of Burns Flat, thence northwest to the head of Persimmon Creek. The trail crosses Highway No. 34 near Camargo. At the head of Persimmon Creek there were two trails branched off from the main trail. The main trail went in a Northwestern direction passing west of Woodward and Supply, then turning north and passing east of Laverne, thence nearly north to the Kansas line. Several herds after leaving the head of the Persimmon Creek, went north to the North Canadian River and drifted up the stream from Woodward past Supply and joined the main trail again. The other branch of the trail left the head of Persimmon, went down Indian Creek to the North Canadian, thence down the river to Cantonement, crossing the river going north to the Cimarron River; thence east to Hunnewell and Caldwell and some going east to the Arkansas River, for finishing before sending to market.
I drove herds two years up the last mentioned route and delivered them at Caldwell and some of them on the Arkansas River.
The following note concerning the Western Trail published in the Cheyenne Transporter, printed at Darlington, May 28, 1883, is of interest in connection with this report as it confirms the findings of highway department, not only to the name of the trail, but the reason cattle and horses from Texas were driven north over this trail rather than the Chisholm trail.
"The following is a crude statement of herds passing up the western trail since the drive commenced. The cattle are shipped by rail from all parts of Texas to Wichita Falls, as it is no longer possible to bring a herd through the state on account of the fences. Thus the drive commences at Wichita Falls, Tex., where the herds take the trail:
"Dominion Cattle Co 2 herds, 3,400 young steers H Laforce in charge, and 2,600 yearlings steers T J Johnson in charge. The Texas Land and Cattle have five herds on the trail 3,000 Bill McClelan in charge, 3,030 Frank Brown, 2,750 Bill Simpson, 2,600 Joe Richey and 3,850 Jim Smith in charge. Henry Phillips 3,000 yearlings and cows in charge of Bill Green. Shanghi Pierce has 6,850 steers in 3 herds. The Standard Cattle Co have 4,500 in 2 herds. John Wilson has a herd of 3,100 bulls, 1, 2 and 3 years old from Old Mexico, something new in the way of a drive. Total cattle as above 41,680.
"Quite a number of horse herds reported, Frank Newton 480 saddle horses, James Bryant 600 unbroken horses and mules; W Myers 350 saddle horses and mules; Randolph & Worthington 700 unbroken horses and mules and I Little 530 mixed saddle and unbroken horses and mules. This latter herd was stampeded on Red River and lost 142 head. Total horses as above reported 2,660 head."—Ed.
I spoke of cutting out thousands of cattle from the herds but I don't want to leave the impression that the trail drivers were trying to steal them. Strays got into all herds and they were hard to keep out after once getting in. In all my experience, with trail drivers, I found them to be gentlemen with one exception. When a trail foreman offered me four hundred dollars to keep away from his herd and I cut four hundred head out of his herd.
I might go on and write many pages, telling of the taming of the wild and woolly west in the early days of the settling of Wichita, Clay, Wilbarger and Greer Counties, but it was the cow trails that you were interested in, so I will bring this Jig-Saw puzzle to a close.
(Signed) Geo. W. Briggs, Sr.
The histories of Oklahoma tell us a great deal about the Chisholm Cattle Trail. It is easy to find some very interesting articles that have been Written about this noted cattle trail.
A large percentage of the old settlers of Indian Territory, vary relative to the location of the Chisholm Trail, some of this information would lead one to believe that the trail was from some point in Texas, as a starting point and thence to Red River, which was once called Colbert Ferry, north of Denison and then on northeast to the old Chickasaw Capitol, now near the town of Caddo in Bryant County, and on or near what is now Eufaula, thence to Ft. Gibson and on through Indian Territory going out. of the Indian Territory, what is now Ottawa County, Oklahoma, thence to Baxter Springs, Kansas. As we learn from very reiable sources this was called the Texas Road and not the Chisholm Cattle Trail.
Other information would lead you to believe the Chisholm Cattle Trail came out of Southern Texas and crossed Red River at what was then called Doan's Store, located on the south bank of Red River, north and a little east of Vernon, Texas, also west
and a little south of Frederick, Oklahoma, in Tillman County; thence in a northwesterly direction, through or near Elk City, Oklahoma, now Beckham County, thence on to old Ft. Supply, now in Woodward County; thence on to Dodge City, Kansas. This information is very misleading, this cattle trail from Red River crossing at Doan's Store to Dodge City, Kansas is the Western Cattle Trail, and marked on the Texas map as such, by the compliments of Geo. W. Saunders, Livestock Commission Company, (Established in 1886) San Antonio and Ft. Worth, Texas.
The Texas map shows two main cattle trails, known as the Eastern and Western Cattle Trails. The trail from Cameron County was called the Eastern Trail, better known as the Chisholm Trail in old Indian Territory in the early '60 and '70 some herds crossed Red River at Colbert's Ferry below Denison, Texas.
The Chisholm Trail was first traveled by Chas. Goodnight in 1866, he was at that time driving cattle that had been bought from John Chisum of Cook County, Texas.
Jesse Chisholm, a half-breed Cherokee Indian (an Indian trader and not a cattle man) was employed by Joe McCoy, the man who built the stock yards at Abilene, Kansas to blaze a trail from Red River Station, located in, Montague County, Texas, to Abilene, Kansas, lots of people are now calling all the cattle trails, the Chisholm Trail, which is not correct. The cattle that went from Red River station to Abilene, Kansas are the only ones that traveled the Chisholm Trail.
Doans crossing was about 120 miles west of Red River station, where the Chisholm Trail started and the same trail was known in Texas as the Eastern Cattle Trail. Dodge City, Kansas was more than 100 miles west of Abilene so it is plain to see that cattle leaving Texas by the way of the Western Trails never touched the Chisholm Trail.
John Chisum, the man who sold cattle to Chas. Goodnight in 1866 and later established a big ranch in New Mexico, which was known as the Jungle Bob Ranch, never was in any way connected with any cattle trail and never drove cattle to the Northern market, but he did sell lots of cattle to trail drivers, that were driving large herds over the Eastern Cattle Trail, in Texas and
the Chisholm Trail from Red River station through Indian Territory going out of Indian Territory at Caldwell, Kansas, and to Abilene, Kansas.
Red River station was located on the south bank of Red River, near the mouth of Salt Creek, there was a comissary, also a large cattle ranch, Charley Quillen, Nocoma, Texas, who is 81 years old and is very well acquainted with the Chisholm Trail, located there, from Red River station to Washita River, just east of the present town of Chickasha. Mr. Quillen lived at Red River station in the years of 1863, 64, 65 and 1866. Mr. Quillen has seen 10,700 head of cattle being driven over the Chisholm Trail, under one brand. However, in three different herds ranging from five to eight miles apart. Mr. Quillen was employed by local cattle men to keep their cattle back off the trail and away from the main herds that were being driven North to market.
The old Chisholm Trail was very plain on the south bank of Red River, just where they came down the steep incline to this very noted crossing in the early days of 1865, crossing Red River, then entering Indian Territory at what is now Section 10, T 8 S, R 6 W, just below the mouth of Fleetwood Branch; thence in a northwestern direction by the old Fleetwood residence, then by the John Trout house and sprung, J. R. Estes showed me this trail from Red River to the Trout Spring, W. A. Tindal located the Trout spring. Walker Ryan 77 years old was with me from Red River to five miles east of Sugden, he knows the trail and kept the local cattle back away from the herd from Red River to Monument Hills about the year 1876 to 1879. This old trail was along and just east of what was known then as blue grove, or as we would say now, a black jack grove. Five miles east and one-half mile north of now Sugden, Reid Store was located on a high hill, now in Section 2, T 5 S, R 7 W; thence on towards Monument Hills in a northerly direction. This trail is still plain in the original grass land and marked plain on the map location where visible in Section 14, T 5 S, R 7 W. This trail is located six miles east of Waurika and two and three-fourths miles east of Addington; Monument Hills were located in Section 3, T 3 S, R 7 W, there were two large piles of rocks say ten feet in diameter and twelve feet high supposedly constructed by early cowmen for a land mark. The monuments were about 300 feet part and
were visible for ten to fifteen miles on either side. The cowmen cut their brands on the larger rock in the monuments with their knives and spurs, but in the later years these monuments have been taken down and the rocks carried away. J. L. Keith from Addington, Oklahoma was with me and located the trail from Sugden to two and three-fourths miles east of Comanche, Oklahoma, where it crosses highway No. 53. Then the trail took a northeast course to avoid draws and canyons and kept on high land in most all cases it was on or near the water divide, the high land served for two purposes, better grass and driving as well as protection against the Indians. In Section 24, T 1 S, R 7 W, where the trail was plain on the ground it bore in a northwest direction to the crossing of Cow Creek where old Duncan was located in Section 3, T 1 S, R,7 W, in the year of 1874 by Fitzpatrick who had a ranch there at that time.
M. F. Akers, is 71 years old, and located the old stage road that ran from Ft. Arbuckle Mountains to Ft. Sill and crossed the Chisholm Trail at the old Duncan Store. The present town of Duncan is located two miles west on the main line of the Rock Island Railroad.
Frank Jones, is 74 years old, very active and knows the Chisholm Trail from the Red River Station to Caldwell, Kansas. He has driven herds of cattle over this trail in the years of 1878 to 1886 which was the last trip.
Mr. Jones was with me on the location of the trail from just east of Comanche to Rush Creek south and east of Rush Springs where the country is solid cultivation the trail is very dim and cannot be exactly located only in a general direction. A large portion of this distance was in a sandy hilly country, but Mr. Jones has a wonderful recollection as to the correct location of the trail. About two miles north of Duncan to Marlow the Rock Island Railroad located their line almost on the trail. The trail ran through the east side of now Marlow, then it bore a little east, through the sand hills for about four miles; thence in a northerly direction to the crossing of Rush Creek, 1½ miles east and 2½ miles south of Rush Springs. The trail is plain just north of this creek. The Huntley Ranch was located in the northeast of Section 1, T 3 N, R 7 W, in the year of 1879.
Will Huntley who is 59 years old, and has known the trail since a small boy and helped me locate the trail from Rush Creek to Little Washita River Crossing. The trail is one and one-half miles east of Agawam; thence north and a little east to two miles east of Ninnekah, crossing Little Washita near the center of Section 25, T 6 N, R 7 W; thence bore a little west to miss some heavy black jack ridges on to Cook Brothers Store (P. O. Fred), located by John C. Lewis in the NE¼ of Section 23, T 6 N, R 7 W, at this post office is where the mail route crossed the Chisholm Trail that ran from Pauls Valley to Anadarko. From Cook Brothers Store the trail ran in a northeast course to Rock Crossing of Washita River, located about one-half mile west of the little town of Lucille, thence in a general northern direction on the high land near the water divide, crossing Highway 277 at Section Corners 29, 30, 31 and 32, T 7 N, R 6 W, thence north to one-half mile east of trail; thence north through near the center of Section 35, T 8 N, R 7 W, land now owned by J. L. Jackson; thence in a north and east direction to about one-half mile west of the town of Amber, thence almost paralleling the Frisco Railroad to the East side of Tuttle. Tuttle is where the twelve ton rock boulder marks the old Chisholm Trail. On a bronze plate on the west side of this boulder is this inscription, "1870 this boulder marks the Chisholm Trail—1931, site of Silver City Trading Post, first school and pioneer burying ground, two miles North. Dedicated to Ranchmen, cowboys, early settlers and their descendants. Sponsored by Chickasha Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution." On the East side of this marker there is 112 names of old settlers.
Thence north to old town of Silver City, located on the south bank of the South Canadian River, now in Section 22, T 10 N, R 6 W, the farm now owned by Mrs. Fred Bauman.
F. F. Fryrear, now 67 years old showed me the Chisholm Trail from the Washita River to Silver City. Fryrear and Lawrence Land were employed by local cattle men to keep their cattle back off the trail in the year of 1881 and 1882. Fryrear says eleven men usually considered a standard crew, four men to a shift and one cook, 1 horse wrangler and one foreman.
Mr. H. S. Tennant
Oklahoma State Highway Commission
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
I will give you the history of the Chisholm Trail as to location and surroundings as it is known to me, having lived near this trail and driven thousands of cattle along same.
The first cattle driven through Oklahoma, came through with Texas men, driven by John Chisholm, Jim Chisholm and various others from Texas, from the ranches of Captain King, Van Wagoner, Shanghi Pierce, George Littlefield, C. C. Slaughter and others. They were driven in South of Ardmore in by old Ft. Arbuckle and on north by Cherokee Town, and Camp Arbuckle, where Jesse Chisholm had a trading post. They often penned the cattle in government stockades at Camp Arbuckle. They drove them across the South Canadian River and drifted northeast through Seminole and Creek Counties to Baxter Springs, Kansas, where they were shipped out. The cowboys were principally Mexicans and they used pack horses and mules to carry provisions and bedding, but later they substituted for ox team and wagons. This was the first trail.
Later these ranchers were having trouble with the Creek and Negro mixed Indians who would stampede the herds, so they moved farther west with the trail. They crossed on the Washita River, by Erin Springs and about four miles west of the town of Purcell on Walnut Creek, crossed the South Canadian near old Choteau Cabin, which is now known as Choteau, then north by the town of Noble, east of Norman, east of the oil fields at Oklahoma City, across the north fork of the Canadian on north to Abilene, Kansas. They used oxen, horses and mules on this trail. After a few years they crossed Red River and establshed Chisholm Trail.
Montford T. Johnson, my father, lived about one half mile from Jesse Chisholm's trading post and was living there at the time of Jesse Chisholm's death. After his death the post was moved eight or ten miles east. His foreman, Phil A. Smith, had charge of his trading post and Richard Cuttle had charge of his teams and would take furs and hides to market and return with
merchandise. He could not get along with Bill Chisholm so he left and came to my father's place, which was called Johnsonville, which was about one mile south of Jesse Chisholm's store and ran the store in Johnsonville, until my father bought out Caddo Bill Williams who had married a Caddo Indian girl. The Caddo Tribe, during the early history lived in Pauls Valley and Caddo Creek, and White Bead Hill, so named for the Chief of the Caddo Tribes. When the government moved the Caddos west and formed a reservation, Caddo Bill Williams, located near this main Chisholm Trail, thinking he was in the Caddo Reservation, but he was two or three miles too far east and was still in the Chickasaw Country. Father traded him out of his location and we moved from Johnsonville to what was later known as Silver City. Bill Smith, Jesse Chisholm and Richard Cuttle moved with us. Father gave an interest in the store at Johnsonville to W. W. Walker who had married Sallie Thomas, an Indian girl whom father had reared. After building a new store they wanted to establish a post office which brought mail from Darlington and Ft. Reno and they named the post office Silver City. This small town consisted of a store, blacksmith shop, and hotel and this constituted the main Chisholm Trail.
There were thousands and thousands of cattle driven over it. There were originally some mounds in establishing this trail from the south. The best information I have is from a friend, Matt Wolfe of Davis, who is now deceased and who married into our tribe. When the first herd was driven over this trail they put up rock monuments at the watering places, so they could be found, if there were no rocks they would make mounds four or five feet high from the dirt to mark out this trail. They had some extra men along who kept the Buffalo drifted out and put up the mounds.
John and Jim Chisholm went practically up the 81 Meridian. The trail had to be shortened and changed in many places, particularly from the Washita to the Canadian. Originally it went in by the head of Walnut Creek and East of Bitter Creek and Salt Fork. The original crossing on the South Canadian River was at the mouth of Boggy Creek. The River was a very narrow and quicky stream and when it was up, we had to swim the herd across. When the river was up, some of the timid cowboys would
become frightened and the herd would get into a jam. So a new crossing was established and called Bond Crossing. They would go north to Abilene, to Hunnewell and Caldwell the shipping points.
The Chickasaw and Choctaw Council later passed a law to tax the cattle that passed through the Chickasaw Country, about ten cents a head and they hired Dick McLish who was backed by the militia to collect this tax. To avoid this tax so many of them changed the crossing of Red River to Doan's Crossing and drifted northwest through Greer County and back to Abilene and therefore, established another trail. The tax proved to be a failure so they then kept up the main Chisholm Trail.
I think John, Jim and Jesse Chisholm are all entitled to this name and I firmly believe that the main trail should be marked along as far as possible to be established at this time along Highway No. 81.
My father in establishing the first ranch west of Ft. Arbuckle had to work Indians or Negroes, he could not work white men for fear of them being scalped by the Kiowa and Comanche Indians and he had to pen the horses and cattle for a number of years to keep the buffalo from drifting them off.
After the M. K. & T. Railroad was built through the Indian Territory there were a few herds driven across and shipped out on that road, especially from Muskogee. Later they built the Frisco at Red Fork and the Santa Fe at Gainesville but they finally opened Oklahoma for settlement and the Cherokee strip and the building of the Rock Island finally abolished cattle trail driving.
As far as I know now about the various towns, being established in the Indian Territory, which was later Oklahoma, Chisholm Trail passed through the towns of Terrell, Waurika, Addington, Comanche, Duncan, Marlow, Rush Springs, East of, Chickasha, West of Amber and Tuttle, which is about two miles from Old Silver City and on up west of Yukon, Piedmont, about six miles east of Kingfisher crossing the Cimarron near the mouth of Kingfisher Creek, east of Dover and west of Hennessey, up the old stage road through Enid, west of Pond Creek and East of Medford to Caldwell and Hunnewell.
I will be very happy to see monuments erected to commemorate this old Chisholm Trail. I have already assisted in putting monuments through Tuttle, which is between the old trail and the new trail. I wish it would be possible to move the body of Jesse Chisholm back into the Chickasaw Country. Although he was part Cherokee, he made his home among the Chickasaws and his son married a Chickasaw girl. He was buried some twenty or twenty-five miles northwest of Ft. Reno, it was his request that he be buried on this Buffalo hunt, among the Buffalo and Indians, who were his friends. He spoke Spanish, Comanche and various other languages.
Yours very truly, E. B. Johnson 538 Elm Street Norman, Oklahoma.
Kingfisher, Oklahoma May 9, 1933
Mr. H. S. Tennant
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Oklahoma State Highway Commission
I understand that you are trying to get the location of the old Jesse Chisholm Trail. Sometime ago I met a Mr. Carl Reid who was trying to locate this trail. I went with Mr. Reid to Terral, Oklahoma and showed him where the trail crossed the Red River about eight miles east of Terral. We followed it on up North to Chickasha at which time a storm came up and we had to go in. The storm was so severe we could not do anything more at that time, but afterwards learned through a friend that you were now in charge of this work.
I went to Caldwell some sixty years ago. Caldwell then was a little town, and was located about one mile north of the Oklahoma Territory line on what was then called the Jesse Chisholm Trail. I have seen a great many different articles written about this trail, but the only trail running north and south through what was then called the Indian Territory was this trail. In later years there was another trail what we used to refer to as the Western Trail. That was also the Chisholm Trail, called so
because John Chishom, a big cattle man in Southern Texas, had made a drive through to Dodge City with cattle.
It was never my understanding that Jesse Chisholm was a cattleman. He was a post-trader, half blood Indian. Texas was a cattle country and during the Civil War the cattle had become so numerous in, Texas, that they had to find a market for them. The nearest railroad facilities that they had was Abilene, Kansas.
The first cattle driven through from Texas came up the old Jesse Chisholm Trail, crossing the Red River about eight miles east of where Terral is now located. I was very familiar with the trail at that time, having been up and down with cattle and horses for a number of years. The old trail runs through the East part of Caldwell, across Bluff Creek, and what was then known as the Last Chance Ranch, just south and a little east of Caldwell. It runs through what was known as the Pond Creek Ranch, and what was known as the Mallaly Ranch, from there South and a little East to what was called Buffalo Springs, southeast to Hennessey, what is now Hennessey, where Pat Hennessey was killed in '74 by the Indians; South and a little West to what is now Dover; south and a little west to what was called at that time Kingfisher Stage Ranch; South and a little west to what is now known as Okarche, about a mile west of Okarche; South and a little west of what is now Concho, called at that time Caddo Springs; South and a little west to Darlington, which was then a trading post; across the North Canadian at Darlington, and ran through what was afterwards known as Ft. Reno.
The trail turned at Ft. Reno, named Ft. Reno in '74, and ran in a southeasterly course, more east than south, to what is called Silver City. They crossed the South Canadian a little west and north of Silver City. There were thousands of head of cattle driven up that trail in 1873, '74 and '75, and owing to the fact that grass and water were hard to find for so many different herds, and to keep them from getting mixed up, they branched off from the old original Chisholm Trail, just north of the crossing of the South Canadian, north of Silver City and went north just west of what is now known as Yukon; thence north to about six miles east of Kingfisher, where there are a number of small creeks running into the Cimarron from the South, which afforded food and
water for the different herds; but owing to the fact that the country east of what is known as Dover is covered with blackjacks, they drifted back and crossed the Cimarron River to what was known as the mouth of Kingfisher Creek, and back to the old Chisholm Trail again, south and west from Dover.
There they followed the old Chisholm Trail again on up to Caldwell.
There has been a great many different articles written about this Chisholm Trail, and where it runs through what is now Kingfisher County. A great many people, knowing of a Cow Trail running North from Silver City near Yukon, believed that was the old Jesse Chisholm Trail, but that, was just where the cowman had left the old Jesse Chisholm Trail to get food and water for their herds, and keep them from getting mixed up, but my understanding was, when I was south with Mr. Carl Reid, that you were wanting to locate the original trail made by Jesse Chisholm, who was not a cowman, but an Indian post-trader, and I believe if you look this route up, which I am giving you, all the old timers will tell you that I am right as to the location of the old trail.
I was a young man 22 years old when I came to Caldwell in '73 and followed the trail business for a number of years, and should know it as well as any other man living today. If this information is of any benefit to you or the State, I am certainly glad to give it.
Yours very truly, W. D. Fossett.
As I understand from the old timers one crossing of South Canadian River was just east and a little north of Silver City, but in some cases, especially when the river was high, they crossed about one and one-half miles up the river from Silver City, at what was known then as the Bond Crossing when this crossing, was used then they drifted the herds back east to the trail.
You will note on the maps I have shown two trails from Silver City to Dover, or the old Red Fork Ranch. From the best information available it is my opinion the trail from Silver City, via Darlington and Kingfisher to Dover, this trail should be called Chisholm Trail and stage road. Then the trail from Silver City
via Yukon crossing the Cimarron River near the mouth of Kingfisher Creek to Doan, this should be called the Chisholm Trail.
Leaving South Canadian River at Silver City, the trail bore a little east of north of the town of Yukon and going out of Yukon on now, North 9th Street, shown to me by Mr. R. M. Fry, who now operates the Hill Crest Filling Station and is 75 years old, thence north and east across the bottom land of North Canadian River, crossing the river now in Section 5, T 12 N., R 5 W. This trail is very plain on the ground in the NE¼ of the above section, following as usual the high land divides in the, North and West course, marked on the map plain when so found in a North and West course, the trail is about one mile west of now Piedmont, thence on by and just east of Head School House District No. 5, located in NE¼ of Section 11, T 14 N, R 5 W, thence in a general north direction following the highland divide to near the center Section 15, T 16 N, R 6 W, thence in a northwest direction to the crossing of the Cimarron River just below the mouth of Kingfisher Creek, located in Section 30, T 17 N, R 6 W; thence to now Dover or through the Red Fork Ranch, where the Chisholm Trail intersects the old Government Stage Route, and from this point the trail and old stage route is the same to Caldwell, Kansas, from a point two miles south of Dover to Hennessey, the route is very plain and at several places it is at least one hundred feet wide.
From Dover to Enid the Rock Island Railroad, located their line practically on this old route, for their engineers must have considered this to be the best route.
The Chisholm Trail and state road goes through one and one-half blocks west of the now main North and South Street, also Highway No. 81, of the town of Hennessey. Reliable information says that Pat Hennessey was killed on the trail now in the north west corner of the town of Hennessey in July, 1874. I have two stories of the killing of Pat Hennessey; one by Mrs. Fred Ehler of Hennessey and the other by George Rainey of Enid, Oklahoma. As heretofore stated, the trail is along and paralleling the Rock Island Railroad, also highway No. 81 into Enid, it crosses the railroad from west to east side at the Stock pens on the northeast corner of the town of Waukomis. The Buffalo Springs Stage Station was located just east of the trail and is now near west one-
quarter corner of Section 7, T 20 N., R 6 W., and four miles south of Waukomis, Oklahoma.
From the south side of Kingfisher county, also the south boundary of the old strip, as of September 16, 1893, when opened. Mr. Geo. Rainey, furnished me with old Government information and township plats of 1873, as surveyed by the Government and shows the old trail and stage road when this part of Oklahoma was laid out in sections, Townships and Ranges by the Government and this trail was placed in these township plats at this time. We believe this is the best information available relative to the exact location, through now Garfield and Grant Counties. At this time these two counties are almost a solid cultivation and the trail can only be found in pasture land at times miles apart. Old Skeleton Stage Station, located in now, Section 33, T 23 N, R 6 W ; however, the trail goes almost through the center of the city of Enid, just one block east of where the court house was located that was destroyed by fire.
From Enid the trail is about one-half to one mile east of the Rock Island Railroad to two and one-half miles north of Kremlin, then it crosses the railroad going northeast and practically paralleling the railroad to Pond Creek. The trail goes through now the west side of Pond Creek and to the old Sewell Ranch, just south of now Jefferson, Oklahoma; thence, bears northeast leaving the railroad east going two and one-fourth miles east of Medford, Oklahoma, crossing some small streams, but generally paralleling the Rock Island Railroad; thence coming back and crosses back to the west side of the railroad in Section 28, T 29 N, R 4 W, plain on the ground in this section; thence northeast and about paralleling the Rock Island Railroad to just south of Oklahoma and Kansas state line, where the trail crosses back to the east side of said railroad to a point about five hundred feet east of now highway No. 81 where it leaves Oklahoma located in now the Northwest corner of Section 14, T 29 N, R 4 W, and enters the State of Kansas. At this point in Kansas the old trail is very plain in a pasture and about one mile south of the noted town of Caldwell.
The herds of cattle on this trail from the years of 1865 to 1887 would vary in number from 3,000 to 10,000 head; however,
when the larger herds were being driven over this trail, they would usually separate the herds in about 2500 to 3000 in a herd, so they could better herd and drive them, both for grass and especially for water. The old time ranchmen and cowmen tell me they would generally start their herds of cattle from different points in Texas in the spring of the year and begin to get to their destination, say Abilene, in the fall. In driving these cattle they would figure making five to ten miles a day with them; however, in those days they had little conception of what a mile was, their general direction was the North Star or some prominent hill, bluff or river, at times they would get five to eight miles off the main trail and then would rely on their best judgment how far and in what direction they could best get to and find the old Chisholm Trail.
It would be out of line for me to undertake to write a history of this noted trail. Good Historians have been writing history about this trail for the past fifty years. History of this trail can be found in almost all of the libraries in Oklahoma. But to say the least, the location of this trail was a wonderful engineering project. It followed the course of least resistance. Engineering equipment of those days, I presume, was a horse and saddle, two guns and plenty of ammunition and their head to guide them.
To verify my location of the Chisholm Trail through Oklahoma, I have taken much care in looking up all men who have worked on the trail or lived near it and consider this is the best information available.
The following is a list of pioneers that I have talked to personally relative to the correct location of the trail.
|Charley Quillen||81 years old||Nocoma, Texas|
|Albert Colbert||78 " "||Terrel, Oklahoma.|
|J. R. Estes||Fleetwood, "|
|Walter Ryan||77 " "||Ryan, "|
|R. L. Gibson||Waurika, "|
|J. L. Keith||Addington, "|
|Fred Brown||Comanche, "|
|Frank Jones||74 " "||Duncan, "|
|M. F. Akers||71 " "||Marlow, "|
|Joe Adjins||73 " "||Kiowa, "|
|W. A. Boggett||81 " "||Rush Springs, "|
|Geo. Hill||71 " "||" " "|
|Will Huntley||59 " "||" " "|
|Thomas Burke||79 " "||Chickasha, "|
|Joe Lindsay||79 " "||" "|
|Mrs. A. B. Crouch||Tuttle, Okla.|
|F. F. Fryrear||67 " "||" "|
|Mrs. Fred Bauman||Tuttle, "|
|J. M. Crisp||60 " "||Minco, "|
|R. M. (Bob) Fry||75 " "||Yukon, "|
|Howard Pendleton||71 " "||" "|
|A. M. McMahan||68 " "||Union City, "|
|Jim McGronahan||88 " "||Piedmont, "|
|J. C. Richardson||74 " "||" "|
|Dick Mechin||78 " "||Kingfisher, "|
|W. D. (Bill) Fossett||82 " "||" "|
|Chas. Emmerich||79 " "||" "|
|Anderson King||73 " "||" "|
|C. L. Jones||48 " "||" "|
|F. W. Peter||48 " "||" "|
|Fred Schaelen||" "|
|Crayton Payne||72 " "||Dover, "|
|Bill Anderson||80 " "||" "|
|Mrs. Fred Ehler||Hennessey, "|
|J. T. Lower||79 " "||Bison, "|
|Geo. Rainey||Enid, "|
|James Korzuine||73 " "||Caldwell, Kansas|
|J. R. Carmon||64 " "||Norman, Oklahoma|
|E. B. Johnson||70 " "||" "|
|Henry Meghler||56 " "||El Reno, Oklahoma|
|Chas. H. Tompkins||" " "|
|Tom H. Ellison||" " "|
|C. H. Hunter||72 " "||" " "|
|Charley Todd||64 " "||" " "|
|S. V. Wren||61 " "||Waukomis, "|
|J. B. Thoburn||Oklahoma City, Okla.|
|John C. Lewis||60 " "||Chickasha, Oklahoma.|