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Kansas State Capitol - Online tour - Chisholm Trail

Chisholm Trail by David OvermyerFirst floor

Chisholm Trail by David H. Overmyer, first floor rotunda, northeast corner

After the Civil War the need for beef grew in the East. Cattle were plentiful in Texas, but there was no efficient way to transport them to market. Joseph G. McCoy established a shipping yard in Abilene in 1867 near the Kansas Pacific Railway line. Jesse Chisholm laid out a trail from Texas to Abilene. Each spring from 1866-1885 cowboys drove longhorns from the Texas ranges to rail heads in Kansas or farther north. It took about a dozen cowboys to drive 2,000 head of cattle. Herd size ranged from around 1,000 head in the early years to 3,000 or 4,000 later on.