The Great Western Trail (GWT) is a nineteenth-century cattle trail that originated in northern Mexico, ran west parallel to the Chisholm Trail, traversed the United States for some two thousand miles, and terminated after crossing the Canadian border. Yet through time, misinformation, and the perpetuation of error, the historic path of this once-crucial cattle trail has been lost. Finding the Great Western Trail documents the first multi-community effort made to recover evidence and verify the route of the Great Western Trail.
The GWT had long been celebrated in two neighboring communities: Vernon, Texas, and Altus, Oklahoma. Separated by the Red River, a natural border that cattle trail drovers forded with their herds, both Vernon and Altus maintained a living trail history with exhibits at local museums, annual trail-related events, ongoing narratives from local descendants of drovers, and historical monuments and structures. So when Western Trail Historical Society members in Altus challenged the Vernon Rotary Club to mark the trail across Texas every six miles, the effort soon spread along the trail in part through Rotary networks from Mexico, across nine US states, and into Saskatchewan, Canada.
This book is the story of finding and marking the trail, and it stands as a record of each community’s efforts to uncover their own GWT history. What began as local bravado transformed into a grass-roots project that, one hopes, will bring the previously obscured history of the Great Western Trail to light.
|Publisher:||Texas Tech University Press|
|Series:||Grover E. Murray Studies in the American Southwest Series|
|Product dimensions:||6.40(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.10(d)|
About the Author
Sylvia Gann Mahoney was an educator for thirty-three years at community colleges in Texas and New Mexico as an administrator, teacher, and rodeo team coach. She became involved with the Great Western Trail project through her involvement in the Rotary Club of Vernon. She now lives in Fort Worth.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Longhorns, Drovers, Legends, Confusion 3
Chapter 2 First Two GWT Markers in Texas 29
Chapter 3 Mexico and South Texas 47
Chapter 4 San Antonio to the Heart of Texas 67
Chapter 5 Coleman, Callahan, Shackelford, Taylor Counties 85
Chapter 6 North Texas Counties: Throckmorton, Baylor, Wilbarger 103
Chapter 7 Oklahoma and Kansas 123
Chapter 8 Nebraska, Colorado, the Dakotas 141
Chapter 9 Wyoming, Montana, Saskatchewan, Alberta 165
Chapter 10 The Trail Home: A Living Legend 189
Appendix: Trail-Team Volunteers 209
Sources and Further Readings 227