This year marks the 150th Anniversary of the beginning of the Chisholm Trail. During its time, the Chisholm Trail was considered one of the wonders of the Western World. Jesse Chisholm, a part-Cherokee, who built a trading post in what is now Oklahoma City is who the trail is named after. The Chisholm Trail Heritage Center in Duncan, Oklahoma is a great place for the whole family to learn about the history of the Chisholm Trail. For more information, please visit, http://onthechisholmtrail.com/.
Cowboys drove cattle on the Chisholm Trail from 1867-1889. The Chisholm Trail ran south to north parallel to, what is now, Highway 81, a total of 800 miles from start to finish. The trail ran east of Marlow, Rush Springs, and Chickasha. The trail ran west of Ninnekah, Amber, and Tuttle. The trail split in the middle. The Western Trail at the split went to, present day, El Reno, Okarche, and Kingfisher. The Eastern Trail at the split went to, present day, Mustang, Yukon, and Piedmont. These divisions came back together at Red Fork Ranch, now the town of Dover. There are disputes over the beginning of the Chisholm Trail to this day. There are four places where it arguably started. Some say it began in Donna, Texas. Others say it began in San Antonio, Texas. Many say it began in Fort Worth, Texas. While some argue it started at Red River Station, near present Ringgold, Texas, which was at the mouth of Salt Creek in Montague County where the herds left Texas and crossed into Indian Territory. The one thing undisputed is where the trail ended. From 1867-1871 it ended in Abilene, Kansas. Between 1872-1883 it stopped at Newton, Kansas and Wichita, Kansas. And from 1883-1887 it ended at Caldwell, Kansas. After 1881, the drives diminished considerably. Many things contributed to the downfall of the Chisholm Trail, from the Cherokee Strip causing much of the land to be fenced in, to a quarantine law, and even a blizzard that destroyed most of the cattle industry. No matter where the Chisholm Trail began or where it ended one thing is for sure, Oklahoma was the heart and backbone of this great trail.
An estimated 6 million cattle traveled the Chisholm Trail during its life with the biggest cattle trailing years being 1871 and 1873. An average of 2500 to 3000 head would move in one herd per trip. On this journey there, would typically be 10 to 14 cowboys, a trail boss, a horse wrangler, and a cook and wagon. The herds would be spread about 10 miles apart, which is about one day. During the drive, the herd would be watered in the morning then slowly graze and eat northward until night. At night, they would stop at a watering hole and bed down. Then they would start all over again the next day until they reached their destination. Many a cattle and cowboy took this long trip during the years of the Chisholm Trail.
At the end of the 20th century, the Chisholm Trail was still visible in many places including a spot near Bison in Garfield County, 1.5 miles south of US 81 and 1/3 miles west on a county road. Robert “Bob” Klemme, from Enid, Oklahoma, erected 400 concrete markers along the route of the Chisholm Trail across Oklahoma in the span of about seven years with the help of his friends. He placed the 400th marker, last, on Wilshire Road near Yukon, Oklahoma in September 1997. He also put other markers in Brownsville, Texas, and Abilene, Kansas commemorating the beginning and ending the Chisholm Trail. These markers are still visible to this day.
There is something for everyone this year to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Chisholm Trail. Some fun things to do is visit an exhibit (photos, documents, artifacts, cattle-trail era items), go to a quilt exhibition, take western swing and dance lessons, have your children star in a western movie, and much more. Please visit www.chisholmtrail150.org/events for a listing and information on local events.
The Chisholm Trail is a big part of Oklahoma history helping to make it into the great state we know and love today. Between exhibits, shows, galas, dinners, and more, the whole family can help celebrate 150 years of the Chisholm Trail.
Written by Bobbi G.
The Friends of the Chickasha Public Library will be hosting an Antique Book Sale at the Chickasha Public Library, 527 W Iowa Ave. The Sale will be on January 13th, and 14th, during Library hours.
For more information please call the Library at 405-222-6075.
The Friends of the Chickasha Public Library are Celebrating their 40th Anniversary on December 8th, 4:30 pm – 6:00 pm at the Chickasha Public Library, 527 W Iowa Ave. This event is a Chickasha Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours event, hosted by the Friends of the Chickasha Public Library. All are welcome to join the celebration there will be cake, door prizes, memories from former board members and volunteers, and special presentations.
If you have any questions please comment below or call the Library at 405-222-6075.
The Chickasha Public Library is hosting a Genealogy Workshop on Saturday, November 12th from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm at the Library, 527 W Iowa Avenue. This is a free event open to anyone interested in learning how to use online resources to trace their family history. There will also be an opportunity to use the Library’s new microfilm machine, purchased by the Friends of the Chickasha Public Library.
During the event, there will be three featured speakers:
Delores Smith will present “Making Sense of the Census”
Pat Cunningham will present “Local Genealogy Resources”
Michelle Skinner will present “World War One & Genealogical History Lessons”
If you have any questions about this Library event, please call the Library at 405-222-6075.
The Friends of the Chickasha Public Library will be hosting a World War 1 event, at the Chickasha Public Library, 527 W Iowa Avenue. On November 9th 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm. John Hinkle Master Storyteller will lead a 59-minute program of information filled with over 300 accompanying slides, a 7’map plus facsimiles of WW1 posters, book jackets, Bibliographies, movie titles, song sheets, and 3D models.
If you have any questions please call the Library at 405-222-6075
The Friends of the Chickasha Public Library Fall Used Book Sale kicks off Thursday, October 20th with the Friends preview sale. Friends membership is required and will be available at the door $5.00.
The Book Sale opens to the public on October 21st and goes through October 23rd, times and prices are,
Friday, October 21st 10:00 am – 7:00 pm ($1.00 for hardbacks .50 cents for paperback)
Saturday, October 22nd 10:00 am – 3:00 pm (half price day)
Sunday, October 23rd 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm ($3.00 bag day)
If you have any questions about the Friends Used Book Sale call the Library at 405-222-6075.
The Friends of the Chickasha Public Library’s Summer Luncheons
- will be held at the USAO Regents Room in the Student Center, located at 1727 W Alabama
- all Luncheons will be at 12:00 pm
- reservations can be made at the Chickasha Public Library, located at 527 W Iowa
- tickets are $13.00 each
- if you have any questions, you can call the Library at 405-222-6075
The June Luncheon will be on
June 16th (reservations must be made before June 9th). The guest author will be Dr. Harold Battenfield. He will be discussing his book, Braiding Generations: A Grandfather Breaks the Code.
The July Luncheon will be on
July 21st (reservations must be made before July 14th). The guest author will be Todd Fuller. He will be discussing his book, 60 Feet Six Inches and Other Distances from Home: The (Baseball) Life of Mose YellowHorse.
The August Luncheon will be on
August 18th (reservations must be made by August 11th). The guest author will be Jennifer Latham. She will be discussing her debut novel.