KEY TO THE CITY - USA City Directory Top USA City Resource Guide
1874 - 1888
The WESTERN CATTLE TRAIL, also called the TEXAS CATTLE TRAIL, the DODGE CITY TRAIL, the ABILENE AND FT. DODGE TRAIL, the FT. GRIFFIN-FT. DODGE TRAIL, and DODGE CITY TRAIL, crossed the Washita River 10 miles west of Thomas.
As far as can be ascertained, the first herd to move up the Western, or Dodge City Trail was in 1874. Four years later, C. F. Doan, a former Ohio Citizen and trader at Fort Sill, established a store near the point where the Trail crossed the Red River from Texas into Oklahoma Territory. In crossing Oklahoma from south to north after leaving Doan's Crossing, the Trail went a few miles east of present day Altus, west of Hobart, east of Elk City, west of Woodward, and west of Buffalo.
Probably the peak year for moving cattle up this trail was in 1881, when 301,000 head crossed the Oklahoma prairies in about 100 herds. Each herd averaged about 3,000 cattle. It took 10 men to handle such a herd and each cowboy required about 7 horses. This meant in a year's time about 300,000 head of cattle, 7,000 horses, and 1,000 men traversed the Great Plains of Oklahoma as they moved from the Texas ranges and ranches to the railroad at Dodge City.
Land openings and range fencing in Oklahoma, along with the building of railroads into Texas, caused the great WESTERN CATTLE TRAIL to cease to exist about 1888.
In the nineteen or twenty years of the Trail's existence, more than seven million cattle moving north waded or swam the Red River at Doan's Crossing, and waded or swam the Washita River near present day Thomas and the South and North Canadian Rivers farther north. This was more than traversed the fabled Chisholm Trail 100 miles to the east.
This page is for perpetual written accounts of historical events that have occurred in the city. Anyone who feels they have pertinent information may submit it. This includes all people in or out of Thomas and could involve any interested adults or children with events or items that are of interest. Items may be submitted for publication on this page where they will remain as part of a historical archive for the city. Items of interest may include noteworthy events, special events of historical importance, information about area growth that pertains to the history of the city, and other pertinent notes. We hope to establish a large data base of information about the history of each city. Historical Societies are encouraged to open their own page on Key to the City for more extensive historical information.
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