Cattle Trail Crossing Near this site ran one of the many “feeder” branches of the famous Chisholm Trail, best-known of all the cattle trails that once linked the vast grasslands of Texas with the meat-hungry markets of the North. The original trial, which stretched from the North Canadian to the Arkansas River, was blazed in 1865 by Jesse Chisholm, a half-Scottish and half-Cherokee trader. The 220-mile route, soon taken up by drovers, was extended north and south. Branches all the way from the Rio Grande gradually snaked up to join the main trail at the Red River. Although unpredictable Texas weather and hostile Indians sometimes prevented the drovers from keeping to the main route, certain points were fixed. One of the these was the Trinity River ford at Fort Worth, just south of here, where cattle might have to wait for weeks to cross if the river had recently flooded. In 1895, the fenced range, railroad, and quarantines against the fever tick had reduced to a trickle the flood of cattle leaving Texas on the hoof; but by this time, the trail had helped restore the economy of Texas (wrecked by the Civil War) and it had left a legacy in folksong and legend of cowboy days on the untamed Texas frontier.

U.S. Route 380 at Decatur/Denton County line, Decatur, TX, United States

Jesse and Frank James famous western frontier outlaws, who had many Texas hideouts along a line from the Rio Grande to the Red River. The camps--extending into Missouri, their home state--were used for hiding stolen horses until posses could be thrown off the trail. The campsites were sometimes known to be scattered settlers, who feared or befriended the bandits. Also friendly with the James Brothers (and also operating sometimes in Texas) were fellow Missouri outlaws, Cole Younger and “Bandit Queen” Belle Starr. This was an era of widespread lawlessness in Texas. Billy the Kid roamed into West Texas. The Daltons, John Wesley Hardin, Cullen Baker, Bill Longley, Sam Bass, and many others found it easy to kill and rob and then hide in wild areas where they were beyond the reach of local officers, and food was plentiful. After Reconstruction ended in 1874, Texas Rangers were reorganized to restore respect for the law. Given special powers, in 1889-90 they arrested 579 wanted men (including 76 alleged murderers). Jesse James and some other notorious badmen by then were dead. Frank, reformed, worked as a salesman in Dallas, Paris, and other Texas towns.

U.S. Route 380 & Decatur County Road 2311, Decatur, TX, United States

Gilmer Founded 1846. Named for Thomas W. Gilmer, U. S. Secretary of the Navy and ardent champion of annexation for Texas. Supply, training, production and educational center during the Civil War. Farming, lumbering and oil hub. Home of famous Annual Yamboree, Sweet Potato Festival.

Opposite Sunset Memorial Park, Gilmer, TX, United States

The Mule Without ancestral pride or hope for offspring, the mule -- along with buffalo, hound and longhorn -- made Texas history. In war he carried cannon on his back. Because he was available to haul freight, forts rose on frontiers. Indians ate horses hitched to cart or coach, but let tough mule meat go by. His small hooves scaled rock and steep untrod by horse or ox, but big ears endangered him in lake or river. He went fast, endured much, ate sparingly. Since beginning of Christian era, has helped all over world to bear burdens of mankind.

W American Blvd, Muleshoe, TX, United States

First Irrigation Well In Lamb County Dug by hand in 1902 for crops, cattle, and household use of Ewing Halsell (1877-1965), son of land promoter and settler W. E. Halsell, an irrigation ditch carried water half a mile to headquarters of Halsell's "Mashed O" Ranch. Six feet in diameter but only 30 feet deep, well is no longer in operation.

US 70, Earth, TX, United States

Sam Houston Spoke Here On this Cherokee Trace site he had visited 25 years earlier, when he lived with the Indians, Sam Houston twice spoke as the leading Texas statesman-- on June 10, 1857, as U. S. Senator, and early in 1861 as governor. At both times he spoke against secession and in favor of the Union.

Upshur County Court House, E Marshall St, Gilmer, TX, United States

Old Edward Steves House. Excellent example of lavish Victorian architecture of the late 1800s. Built in 1876 by German immigrant Edward Steves, founder of a family prominent in city financial and social circles. Stuccoed limestone exterior walls are 13" thick. The richly decorated front porch reflects skilled carpentry and millwork. Rain water once drained into a cistern from the mansard roof. The San Antonio Conservation Society acquired house in 1952. Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1970.

509 King William Street, San Antonio, TX, United States