The Chisholm Trail

... was used in post–Civil War America to drive cattle northwards from ranches in Texas to Kansas railheads, where they could be shipped east to achieve higher prices. It was established by Black Beaver, a Native American guide and rancher, and his friend Jesse Chisholm, a merchant. The southern terminus was Red River Station, a trading post near the Red River along the northern border of Texas. The northern terminus was a trading post near Kansas City, Kansas. Chisholm owned both of these posts. The cattle would be driven from ranches across Texas to the Red River Station, and then north to Kansas City.

Jesse Chisholm's heritage was Scottish through his father, and Cherokee through his mother. As the Cherokee had matrilineal kinship, Jesse was considered to belong to his mother's people. He died in 1868, before the peak period of the cattle drives; but he was important to numerous events in the histories of Texas and Oklahoma. He served as an interpreter for both the Republic of Texas and the United States government in making treaties with Native American tribes.

The Red River rises in the Texas panhandle and forms the entire border between Texas and Oklahoma. It then flows into Louisiana and joins the Mississippi river system.

Jesse Chisholm should not be confused with John Chisum – another historical character, played by John Wayne as the title character in a different film, released 22 years later (in 1970).

© Haydn Thompson 2021