Route[edit | edit source]
- Of the principal routes by which Texas longhorn cattle were taken afoot to rail heads to the north, the earliest and easternmost was the Shawnee Trail. Used before and just after the Civil War, the Shawnee Trail gathered cattle from east and west of its main stem, which passed through Austin, Waco, and Dallas. It crossed the Red River at Rock Bluff, near Preston, and led north along the eastern edge of what became Oklahoma, a route later followed closely by the Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad.
- The drovers took over a trail long used by Indians in hunting and raiding and by southbound settlers from the Midwest; the latter called it the Texas Road. North of Fort Gibson the cattle route split into terminal branches that ended in such Missouri points as St. Louis, Sedalia, Independence, Westport, and Kansas City, and in Baxter Springs and other towns in eastern Kansas. Early drovers referred to their route as the cattle trail, the Sedalia Trail, the Kansas Trail, or simply the trail. Why some began calling it the Shawnee Trail is uncertain, but the name may have been suggested by a Shawnee village on the Texas side of the Red River just below the trail crossing or by the Shawnee Hills, which the route skirted on the eastern side before crossing the Canadian River.
- The Shawnee Trail, followed the route from Colbert's Ferry, Indian Territory in the south, across the Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw Nations, to Baxter Springs, Kansas in the north. Later the Shawnee Trail branched further west. The first route was then called the East Shawnee Trail and the branch called the West Shawnee Trail. The East Shawnee Trail followed the Grand River to Fort Gibson. The West Shawnee Trail which started in Missouri and passed through Fort Wayne before joining the other trail continuing to the Red River on the Texas border. Several stations were set up along the road where travelers could rest and refresh their horses. The western branch particularly remained the main cattle trail from Texas until the opening of the Chisholm Trail (or Abilene Trail) following the Civil War.
Historical Background[edit | edit source]
The Texas Road, also known as the Shawnee Trail, Sedalia Trail or the Kansas Trail, was a major trade and emigrant route to Texas across Indian Territory (later Oklahoma, Kansas and Missouri. Established during the Mexican War by emigrants rushing to Texas, it remained an important route across Indian Territory until Oklahoma statehood. The Shawnee Trail was the earliest and easternmost route by which Texas longhorn cattle were taken to the north. It played a significant role in the history of Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas in the early and mid 1800s.