Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Mystery still surrounds Chisholm Trail

ABILENE — As people like to say, never let the facts stand in the way of a good story. When it comes to the 150-year history of the Chisholm Trail, that’s been especially true. “History with a little bit of scandal is fun to read about,” said Stacy Moore, executive director of the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, Okla. “Certainly, there is a little of that with the Chisholm Trail. There is a lot of discussion in Texas whether the Chisholm Trail existed in Texas at all. The Texas historians love to debate that stuff.” One thing is for sure: the trail ended in Abilene. Labor Day weekend, the Kansas cowtown will kick off a sesquicentennial celebration of the infamous trail with Trails, Rails & Tales: Spirit of the Chisholm Trail Celebration. On Saturday, longhorns will be driven through the city streets and loaded onto a rail car, almost like 150 years ago. The trail Texas ranchers used to drive cattle to the railroad at Abilene was known by several names, said Jeff Sheets, director of the Dickinson County Historical Society and board member of the Kansas Museums Association. Black Beaver trail? It was known 150 years ago as the Texas Cattle Trail, McCoy’s Trail or Abilene Trail. Just when it became the Chisholm Trail, named after Jesse Chisholm, who traded with the Indians, is not known. Chisholm was of Scottish and Cherokee descent. He had trading posts near what is now Wichita and in Oklahoma, trading goods for furs. Moore said that Black Beaver, a Native American from the Delaware tribe, showed Chisholm the trail...more

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