Americans love a pioneer. A risk-taker. Someone with the vision to see what others can’t. Joseph McCoy saw not only a thriving market for Texas cattle in Abilene, Kansas, but also the trail that would get ‘em there. Colonel J.J. Meyers of Lockhart was also a pioneer – one of the first men to trail his cattle along McCoy’s route to Abilene. The gamble paid off for both men. Meyers became one of the state’s best-known ranchers – and helped shape the burgeoning Texas cattle industry, trailing between four and 16 thousand head of cattle to Abilene each year.
The scattered cattle trails that came up from South Texas converged into a more singular route in Caldwell County – which was suddenly a ranching hot spot. Many prominent cattlemen followed Meyers’ lead and bought cattle here – to drive to the now-proven Kansas markets. In 1874, a well-known risk of the trail – bandits – caught up to Meyers. He’d just delivered a large herd in Utah, when a gang tracked him down – and murdered him in cold blood. Years later, Joseph McCoy his old friend:
Watch our Life on the Chisholm Trail video to learn more about the Chisholm Trail in Texas. This video was produced for inclusion in our Chisholm Trail mobile tour found in our Texas Time Travel Tours mobile app. Download the app for more videos and travel information:
“There are few Texas drovers who handle or drive more cattle from Texas than Col. Meyers; few are more widely or favorably known than he. When he is given the title, ‘a father in Israel’ among the drovers there will be found a few, if any, who will dispute his right or worthiness of the appellation.”
The Caldwell County Museum presents stories of the Chisholm Trail anlong with photographs of many men from the Lockhart area who drove cattle up the trail and worked the ranching industry.