|Joseph McCoy - Wikipedia
Joseph "Cowboy" McCoy (December 21, 1837 – October 19,
1915) was a 19th-century entrepreneur famous for promoting the transport
of Longhorn cattle from Texas to the eastern United States.
Born in Sangamon county, Illinois, he is often cited as
the inspiration for the phrase "The Real McCoy" because of his reputation
and reliability and because he called to himself by that phrase (others
say the real honor goes to Elijah McCoy and his oft-imitated lubrication
system, the boxer Kid McCoy, or other candidates). Joseph McCoy made good
on his pledge to Texas ranchers that if they would drive their Texas longhorns
from Texas to Kansas that he would have them shipped by rail to other markets
and that the ranchers would receive a good price for their stock.
In the 1860s, cattle ranchers in Texas faced difficulties
getting their longhorn cattle to market. Kansas homesteaders objected to
the cattle crossing their land because the cattle might carry ticks which
could spread a disease called Texas Fever (or Spanish Fever) fatal to some
types of cattle. The disease could make a Longhorn sick, but they were
hardier stock than the northern cattle and Longhorns seldom died from the
disease. McCoy himself said of the disease:
In 1868 a great number of cattle arrived
in Kansas and the mid-west from Texas; appx. 40,000. With them came a tick
born disease called
“Spanish Fever”. The local shorthorn
breeds were seriously affected and in some towns the loss of the cattle
was almost 100%. The result
was a great prejudice against Texas
cattle in Eastern Kansas and Missouri (although this may be because the
longhorns were already
immune to the disease.)
McCoy expected that the railroads companies were interested
in expanding their freight operations and he saw this as a good business
opportunity. McCoy built a hotel, stockyard, office and bank in a little
village along the Kansas Pacific Railway (currently the Union Pacific).
This village became known as Abilene, Kansas - one of the first cow towns.
McCoy's plan was for cattle to be driven to Abilene from Texas and taken
from there by rail to bigger cities in The Midwest and the East.
Abilene sat near the end of the Chisholm Trail (named
after Jesse Chisholm) established during the American Civil War for supplying
the Confederate army. This trail ran to the west of the settled portion
of Kansas, making it possible to use the trail without creating hostility
from the Kansas homesteaders.
McCoy advertised extensively throughout Texas to encourage
cattle owners to drive their cattle to market in Abilene. By 1870 thousands
of Texas longhorn cattle were being driven over the Chisholm Trail to the
shipping center at Abilene. By 1871 as many as 5,000 cowboys were being
paid off during a single day, and Abilene became known as a rough town
in the Old West. Due to their long legs and hard hoofs, Longhorns were
ideal trail cattle, even gaining weight on their way to market. One story
says that McCoy bragged before leaving Chicago that he would bring 200,000
head in 10 years and actually brought two million head in 4 years, leading
to the phrase "It's the Real McCoy"
McCoy was also the author of Historic Sketches of the
Cattle Trade of the West and Southwest, which was published in 1974, more
than 50 years after his death. Joseph McCoy died in Kansas City, Missouri
on October 19, 1915.
|Abilene, Kansas - Wikipedia
Abilene is a city in and the county seat of Dickinson
County, Kansas, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city population
was 6,844 The Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum is located
History - 19th century
For millennia, the land now known as Kansas was inhabited
by Native Americans. In 1803, most of modern Kansas was secured by the
United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. In 1854, the Kansas Territory
was organized, then in 1861 Kansas became the 34th U.S. state.
In 1857, Dickinson County was founded. Abilene began as
a stage coach stop in the same year, established by Timothy Hersey and
named Mud Creek. It wasn't until 1860 that it was named Abilene, from a
passage in the Bible (Luke 3:1), meaning "city of the plains".
In 1867, the Kansas Pacific Railway (Union Pacific) pushed
westward through Abilene. In the same year, Joseph G. McCoy purchased 250
acres of land north and east of Abilene, on which he built a hotel, the
Drover’s Cottage, stockyards equipped for 2,000 heads of cattle, and a
stable for their horses. The Kansas Pacific put in a switch at Abilene
that enabled the cattle cars to be loaded and sent on to their destinations.
The first twenty carloads left September 5, 1867, en route to Chicago,
Illinois, where McCoy was familiar with the market. The town grew quickly
and became the very first "cow town" of the west.
McCoy encouraged Texas cattlemen to drive their herds
to his stockyards. From 1867 to 1871, the Chisholm Trail ended in Abilene,
bringing in many travelers and making Abilene one of the wildest towns
in the west The stockyards shipped 35,000 head in 1867 and became the largest
stockyards west of Kansas City, Kansas. In 1871, more than 5,000 cowboys
herded from 600,000 to 700,000 cows to Abilene and other Kansas railheads.
Another source reports 440,200 head of cattle were shipped out of Abilene
from 1867 to 1871. As railroads were built further south, the end of the
Chisholm Trail was slowly moved south towards Caldwell, while as Kansas
homesteaders moved the trail west towards and past Ellsworth.
Town marshal Tom "Bear River" Smith was initially successful
policing Abilene, often using only his bare hands. He survived two assassination
attempts during his tenure. However, he was murdered and decapitated on
November 2, 1870. Smith wounded one of his two attackers during the shootout
preceding his death, and both suspects received life in prison for the
offense. He was replaced by Wild Bill Hickok in April 1871. Hickok's time
in the job was short. While the marshal was standing off a crowd during
a street brawl, gambler Phil Coe took two shots at Hickok, who returned
fire, killing Coe. But Hickok then accidentally shot his friend and deputy,
Mike Williams, who was coming to his aid. Hickok lost his job two months
later in December.
In 1880 Conrad Lebold built the Lebold Mansion. Lebold
was one of the early town developers and bankers from 1869 through 1889.
The Hersey dugout can still be seen in the cellar. The house is now a private
residence. A marker outside credits the name of the town being given by
opening a Bible and using the first place name pointed to.
In 1887, Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway built a
branch line from Neva (3 miles west of Strong City) through Abilene to
Superior, Nebraska. In 1996, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway
merged with Burlington Northern Railroad and renamed to the current BNSF
Railway. Most locals still refer to this railroad as the "Santa Fe".
In 1890, Dr. A.B. Seelye founded the A.B. Seelye Medical
Company. Seelye developed over 100 products for the company including "Wasa-Tusa",
an Indian name meaning to heal.
|Baxter Springs - Wikipedia
Baxter Springs is a city in Cherokee County, Kansas located
along the Spring River. As of the 2010 census, the city population was
4,238. It is the most populous city of Cherokee County.
From an early trading post, the city grew dramatically
with the expansion of cattle ranching in the West and was the first "cow
town" in Kansas following the Civil War. its population grew dramatically
into the early 1870s in association with the cattle drives. After railroads
were constructed into Texas, cattle drives no longer were made to Baxter
Springs and other points along the trail, and the towns declined.
The city later had some economic success in the early
twentieth century associated with lead mining in the area. The city protected
its land, and owners and operators chose Baxter Springs for their residences
and business offices. In 1926 the city's downtown main street was designated
as part of the transcontinental U.S. Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles.
By the 1940s, the high-quality lead had mostly been mined, and the industry
declined. Some towns nearby disappeared altogether. Environmental restoration
to correct damage left by mining has been underway for some time.
For thousands of years, indigenous peoples had lived along
the waterways throughout the west. The Osage migrated west from the Ohio
River area of Kentucky, driven out by the Iroquois. They settled in Kansas
by the mid-17th century, adopting plains traditions, where they competed
with other tribes. By 1750 they dominated much of the region of Kansas,
Missouri and Oklahoma.
One of the largest Osage bands was led by Chief Black
Dog (Manka - Chonka); his men completed the Black Dog Trail by 1803. It
started from their winter territory east of Baxter Springs and extended
southwest to their summer hunting grounds at the Great Salt Plains in present-day
Alfalfa County, Oklahoma. The Osage stopped at the springs for healing
on their way to summer hunting grounds. They made the trail by clearing
it of brush and large rocks, and constructing earthen ramps to the fords.
Wide enough for eight horsemen to ride abreast, the trail was the first
improved road in Kansas and Oklahoma.
Nineteenth-century settlers eventually named the city
and nearby springs after its first European-American settler, A. Baxter,
who claimed land about 1850 and built a frontier tavern or inn. During
the American Civil War, the United States government built several rudimentary
military posts at present-day Baxter Springs, fortifying what had been
a trading post: Fort Baxter, Camp Ben Butler and Camp Hunter.
In October 1863, the Confederate Quantrill's raiders attacked
Fort Baxter, whose defense that day included a majority of infantry of
United States Colored Troops. The USCT held the fort, and Quantrill's men
attacked a detachment of Union troops out on the prairie, in the Battle
of Baxter Springs. The Confederates outnumbered the Union forces outside
the fort and killed nearly all of them, a total of 103 men. After temporarily
reinforcing the fort, the United States abandoned the Baxter Springs area
later that year. It moved its troops to the better fortified Fort Scott,
Kansas. Before leaving, US forces tore down and destroyed Fort Baxter to
make it unusable for hostiles.
By 1867, entrepreneurs in town had constructed a cable
ferry across the Spring River, which was operated into the 1880s. At that
time, it was replaced by the first bridge built across the river.
Around 1868 there was a great demand for beef in the North.
Texas cattlemen and stock raisers drove large herds of cattle from the
southern plains, and used Baxter Springs as a way point to the northern
markets linking to railroads to the East. This led to the dramatic growth
of Baxter Springs by the early 1870s as the first cow town in Kansas. By
1875, its population was estimated at 5,000.
The town organized the Stockyards and Drovers Association
to buy and sell cattle. They constructed corrals for up to 20,000 head
of cattle, supplied with ample grazing lands and fresh water. Texas cattle
trade stimulated the growth of related businesses, and Baxter Springs grew
rapidly. At the same time that some settlers were building schools and
churches, the town was the rowdy gathering place of cowboys, with associated
saloons, livery stables, brothels and hotels to support their seasonal
After railroads were constructed into Texas later in the
century, cattlemen no longer needed Baxter Springs as a way station to
the northern markets. The first railroad to enter Texas from the north,
completed in 1872, was the Missouri–Kansas–Texas Railroad. As ranchers
started shipping their beef directly from Texas, business in Baxter Springs
and other cow towns fell off sharply.
The discovery of lead in large veins in the tri-state
area revived the area towns in the early twentieth century from the economic
doldrums after the decline of the cattle drives. Lead had been found in
small quantities and of poor quality in the early days of Baxter Springs
along Spring Creek. It was suspected that higher grade ore could be found,
but only at deeper depths. The Baxter Springs City Council by Ordinance
42 enacted provisions which greatly limited any mining within city limits.
Their actions protected the land in the city; nearby towns have suffered
from mining-related environmental degradation.
Baxter Springs greatly benefited from the economic effects
of regional mining activity. It was the residential choice of many of the
mine owners and operators, who built ambitious houses to reflect their
success. In addition, many mining executives built their business offices
in Baxter Springs in the early 1900s. By the 1940s, however, much of the
high-quality ore had been mined, and the industry declined in the region.
Some towns became defunct, and "Hockerville, Lincolnville, Douthit, Zincville
and others disappeared." The mining practices of the time caused considerable
environmental degradation. Federal and state restoration efforts have helped
to improve the land since the late twentieth century.
A notable mine southwest of town was owned by the Estes
family, a pioneering black family in the area who arrived after the Civil
War, as did most incoming residents of the nineteenth century. The Estes
mine was not the largest; however, it employed about 25 black workers in
an industry marked by racial discrimination at the time.
In 1926, the downtown main street became part of the historic
Route 66 transcontinental highway connecting Chicago and Los Angeles. The
designated highway was informally known as America's "Main Street" and
had a prominent place in popular culture. The town has reserved the land
of Riverside Park along the Spring River for community access to its green
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