The National Texas Longhorn Museum

 

Horn Gallery - Page 2

4 ft 6.jpg (162307 bytes)
Steer   1890's  
4 feet 6 inches

The number of cattle in a trail herd varied. Some herds were as few as 700. There are reports of as many as 10,000 head in one trail herd. But, on the average, there would have been about 2500 head -- a manageable yet profitable number, requiring about 13 cowhands, including the cook. 

Emil.jpg (194754 bytes)
Sometimes horns are just simply beautiful, particularly when having this much twist and curl.  31 inches wide.  Raised on the Emil Enderud Ranch of Fowler, Colorado. 

Bear Hide.jpg (376073 bytes)
Fancy Longhorn steer of the latter 1880's.  4 ft. 5 ins., tip to tip. Mounted on a portion of his own skull.

Group Photos of Some of the Alan Rogers Collection in Its Current Location

COWTOWNS
Kansas was the end of the trail for millions of Texas cattle. Some cowtowns are much more well known than others, and Dodge City is often referred to as the Queen of the Cowtowns. This list includes 15 towns in Kansas from which Texas cattle were shipped, and their years of operation.

  • Abilene 1867-71
  • Baxter Springs 1866, 1870-79*
  • Brookville 1871
  • Caldwell 1880-85
  • Chetopa 1869-74
  • Coffeyville 1869-73
  • Dodge City 1875-85
  • Ellsworth 1871-75
  • Great Bend 1871-75
  • Junction City 1869-70
  • Newton 1871
  • Salina 1869-71
  • Solomon 1869-71
  • Waterville 1868-69
  • Wichita 1872-76
* The cattle pens were actually a short distance away, across the state line in Indian Territory - Oklahoma.

The cattle towns thrived from Spring to early Fall with the arrival of Longhorns. Fortunes were made by local merchants supplying the cowboys' necessities. Some cowboys went back to Texas broke, having spent all of their wages wastefully. Others didn't.

The cattle trade was transient. As the quarantine lines were moved further westward in the state to avoid the fear of Tick Fever, the trail herds went along and, very often, merchants moved their business to accommodate the cowboys.

ABILENE
Abilene.jpg (856925 bytes)
Photo: Kansas Historical Society

An Alexander Gardner photo taken about 1870 at the stockyards in Abilene, Kansas. Shows cattle cars of the Kansas Pacific Railroad. Each car would hold about 20 head. The first shipment of Texas Longhorns, twenty carloads, left Abilene September 5, 1867, bound for Chicago. The loading pens at Abilene were large enough for 3000 head but thousands more were held on grazing grounds outside of town, waiting their turn. As cattle were driven up the loading chutes, cowboys would often use poles or prods of some kind to encourage them along. It is from this practice that the term "cow-puncher" arose.

Group Photos of Some of the Alan Rogers Collection in Its Current Location

Horseshoe-Shaped Mount
HorseShoe.jpg (346307 bytes)

 HorseShoe Closeup.jpg (1092965 bytes)

 

At 5 feet. 4 inches, early Longhorn steers of this grade would always have been considered a prize. Beautifully colored and well balanced in shape. 

Settlers who lived near the cattle trails knew in advance when the herds would soon pass by as they could see the trail dust long before the cattle arrived.

EagleFull.jpg (642348 bytes)

A combination of rolling dips and a beautiful twist produced these exceptional horns.

Restored by
Alan Rogers

EagleClose.jpg (1430929 bytes)

Millions of cattle were driven up the trail from 1866 - 1895.

Large numbers of these were loaded onto cattle cars and shipped to eastern cities, such as Chicago, Cincinnati, Albany, and New York City. Huge numbers of Texas cattle were driven into northern ranges to stock newly established ranches in Montana, Wyoming and the Dakotas. Longhorns were driven to mining camps for beef supply, and many were herded to Indian reservations.

In the beginning, Indians were allowed to chase their steers from horseback and make their kill with bows and arrows, in their old traditional way. But in time, this practice was abandoned as it became difficult to control and was replaced with the herding of cattle into corrals, where the Indians were allowed to use rifles.

Longjohns.jpg (453905 bytes)
A beautifully colored, mature Longhorn steer.
Found in Kansas. Originally came to me with the centerpiece wrapped in old red longjohns with bone buttons. May date to the 1880's.

Cowboys on the ranch and on the trail during this time were earning about $30 a month in wages. A trail boss might earn about $90 a month.  At the end of the trail drive, some Mexican cowhands who distrusted American paper money requested to be paid in gold and silver.

GordonLeather.jpg (641362 bytes)
A fancy steer with the beautiful long black tips, still attached to a portion of his own skull.  Of the 1890's.

On the average, if nothing went wrong, cattle driven up the trail could make 10 to 12 miles a day.  A really good day might make 15 miles. 

Droopy.jpg (203258 bytes)
Steer horns about 1915, having more droop than the average.  About four feet wide.
There is always the exception but, generally speaking, steers will commonly live to 15 to 22 years of age.

 

Baxter Springs, established as a shipping point in 1866, was the first cattle town in Kansas, although her shipping pens were actually just a short distance away, across the state line, in Indian Territory (Oklahoma). These early Kansas shipping points for Texas cattle were referred to as cattle towns. The term "cow town" only came into common usage about 1885, and sometimes carried a negative connotation.

 

HighCow.jpg (108807 bytes)
Cow 1910-20.   31 1/2 inches wide.
Twisted up and out with tips turning forward.

Classic shape for a Longhorn cow. 

Swift.jpg (416255 bytes)

Shipped to the Kansas City Stockyards in 1937. 

Killed at Swift & Co. 
38 inches wide, with 7 1/4 inch bases.

Longhorn cows are known for long lives. They commonly live into their mid-twenties and produce a calf every year, generally un-aided by man. Some cows are known to have lived 32 years. 

MexicanCow.jpg (241386 bytes)
Horns of Mexican-type cow from the South Texas border country, of the late 1920's, having a not-so-common sharp, backward curl. About 34 inches, tip to tip.

1905.jpg (132598 bytes)
Lateral, wavy twist on this steer born in the early1890's and killed in 1905.  5 feet 4 inches. 

Deer, elk and moose grow antlers, and they are shed every year.  Cattle, sheep and goats grow horns and are never shed.   Cattle horns can grow as long as the animal lives although, in later years, the growth may slow down considerably. 

RalphMillerFull.jpg (477757 bytes)
These steer horns from about 1890, and only about 40 inches wide, exhibit a generous amount of twist and curl. Cattle often produced a lot of horn growth without having much tip-to-tip width.

RalphMillerSide.jpg (770032 bytes)

 

Return to Horn Gallery - Page 1

 

National Longhorn Museum
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