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Ranching in Texas. Chapter 17. Spanish Origins. Before Europeans explored North America, cattle in Spain were raised for meat & hides. When the Spanish came to Texas, they brought cattle with them. Cattle During the Civil War.

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Ranching in texas

Ranching in Texas

Chapter 17

Spanish origins
Spanish Origins

  • Before Europeans explored North America, cattle in Spain were raised for meat & hides.

  • When the Spanish came to Texas, they brought cattle with them.

Cattle during the civil war
Cattle During the Civil War

  • With most men fighting in the Civil War, the ranching work was left undone.

  • Many herds roamed Texas & increased greatly.

  • After the war, there were so many cattle with few people that could afford to buy them.

Railroad expansion
Railroad Expansion

  • After the Civil War, railroads expanded westward. This allowed ranchers to ship their cattle to markets across Texas, and to the North & East.

A market for beef
A Market For Beef

  • After the Civil War, the demand for beef increased with stockyards & packinghouses being established near Chicago & St. Louis.

  • Stockyard: A pen where livestock is kept before being butchered or shipped to market

  • Packinghouse: A warehouse where beef is prepared for shipment

Cow towns developed
Cow Towns Developed

  • A longhorn that was worth $4 in Texas brought $40 in the packinghouses.

  • As a result, Joseph G. McCoy built the first cow town in Abilene, Kansas along the Union Pacific Railroad.

  • Cow Town: A town that serves as a market for cattle

Cattle trails
Cattle Trails

  • The Chisholm Trail was the 1st cattle trail that connected Texas to the Abilene cow town.

  • 35,000 cattle reached Abilene on this trail in 1867 & 6 million longhorns by 1887.

  • As more railroads were built, more trails developed.

Cowboy culture
Cowboy Culture

  • Since most ranches were established in West Texas, this region developed a cowboy culture.

  • The cowboy, or cowhand, has become a popular folk hero & a symbol of the West.

Barbed wire
Barbed Wire

  • The success of the ranching industry caused ranges to become crowded with too many ranchers competing for pasture space.

  • In 1873, Joseph F. Glidden invented Barbed Wire, which wasinexpensive and kept cattle from destroying crops on other farms.

  • As a result, open ranges became a thing of the past.

Ranching becomes commercial
Ranching Becomes Commercial

  • Since ranching was so successful, many foreign investors bought ranches in West Texas.

  • The invention of barbed wire allowed these investors to build fences, which caused ranching to become commercial instead of a way of life.


  • Since West Texas was drywith few rivers, cattle owners had allowed their cattle to roam the open range in search of water.

  • However, windmills were invented to pump underground water from wells. Ranchers used these to provide water for their cattle & to keep them in a certain area.