Horse theft was fairly common in the Oklahoma/Indian Territories. Seeing how all the major cattle trails crossed the area, has anyone heard of cattle herds being robbed in mass or large portions of same. Look forward to a response in regards to this matter.
Posts: 373 | Location: Indian and Oklahoma Territories | Registered: Wed February 04 2004
"The Chisholm Trail" by Don Worcester: University of Nebraska Press: 1980 p. 64 Doc Manahan of Fairfield, Texas was delivering a herd to Fort Reno in 1873. When he reached Indian Territory, Marshals told him that two weeks earlier rustlers had killed most of the men with a herd of 1500 cattle and stolen the entire herd. "Across the Washita armed men demanded the right to cut the herd for strays. Well aware this was a trick of rustlers, Manahan ran them off...Fake inspectors were common..."
Glen Shirley, "The Fighting Marlows," at page 8, says the Marlows, in 1880, settled seven miles south of Rush Springs and "It has been alleged that the brothers fattened their herd from the Brands of the Texas cattle barons in the Chickasaw Nation and the Kiowa-Comanche Reserve; that it was their nocturnal custom to drive longhorns of the Chisholm Trail to the timber 10 to 12 miles east, then return the cattle in a day or two and collect rewards;..." Shirley also refers to a tale from "Cowboys and Cattleland" by Harry H. Halsell.
There was more rustling of small numbers of cows away from the borders to neighboring states because moving large numbers of cows ain't easy and they leave a plain trail. Besides, unless one had graze or a market, the cows weren't that easy to get rid of. The Ross gang working in the lower Chickasaw Nation considered 10 to 15 a big steal. They took them across Red River and sold them at various butcher shops. I've also come across a lot of larceny cases where the rustler simply shot the animal and skined it, selling the hide, a rather safe occupation because the custom was to allow whoever found an animal dead from disease of winter starvation to claim and sell the hide, regardless of ownership. Found money is found money and if one has to help the finding--well, that's the live of a rustler.
One more: Wayne Gard, "The Chisholm Trail" OU Press: 1954 Gard at page 127, says that most molesting of the herds on the Chisholm Trail was handle by the drovers, but if the herds were near the border of Texas or Kansas they would ride to a nearby community for help. He quoted one incident where a cowboy "galloped into Marion for aid in recovering 60 head taken by William "Hurricane Bill" Martin and gang." Adding that Martin was a Texas outlaw.
Beats me. My library and faulty memory doesn't cover the Shawnee Trail. There was probably more loss to human predators along the Shawnee Trail in Indian Territory from the simple fact that it was a much more difficult trail as so much of it was in timber. Animals tended to get lost,(sometimes helped along)then found, and kept in one form or another, but wholesale robbery of a herd was not an easy undertaking. The Shawnee, whose main branch forded the Red at Rock Bluff near Preston, Texas, was the oldest of the trails, in use as early as 1854. But the biggest hazard in using the Shawnee Trail and the one which caused the most loss of cattle was disease. In 1855, "Texas Fever" or tick fever broke out in Missouri. While the farmers blamed the cause, correctly, on the passage of Texas cows, they incorrectly assumed the fever was caused by the animal's breath.The Missouri legislature banned Texas cattle and the farmers turned back the herds. Some swung across Eastern Kansas to the markets but epidemics of Texas fever broke out there too. Kansas also passed a quarantine against Texas cattle. Armed men began meeting the herds at or below the borders of Kansas and Missouri and stopped them. Some of the drivers were able to swing around to go north to Iowa; others west to New Mexico or Colorado, but a good many lost their entire herd, and a good many herds were stolen outright by the men guarding the borders. By 1866, Texans were convinced there was nothing in Kansas except "sunshine, sunflowers, and sonstabitches." When Joe McCoy finagled the opening of the Abeline market, which led to O. O. Wheeler's opportunistic following Jesse Chisholm's old wagon tracks and the first use of the Chisholm Trail, McCoy convinced the Governor of Kansas to ignore the fact that the quarantine line was actually 60 miles west of Abeline. (By the way, speaking of opportunists, Chisholm started using the southern end of the trail bearing his name when he happened across a surveyor's path which had cut a way through the trees and improved creek crossings.)
My question would be a Spanish trail to where? That would answer why. The Spanish, like everyone else, exploited what was already there; most "trails" were in use for hundreds of years before someone "opened" them. I have no doubt individual adventurers of the Spaniards and later the Mexicans explored most of Oklahoma, the hard part is finding proof, like maps, journals, physical evidence of settlement, however brief.