Cattle drives were a major economic activity in the 19th century American West, particularly between 1856 and 1896 . In this period, 27 million cattle were driven from Texas to railheads in Arkansas, for shipment to stockyards in Louisiana and points east. The long distances covered, the need for periodic rests by riders and animals, and the establishment of railheads led to the development of "cow towns" across the frontier.
Thats our new calf
To answer that question it is necessary to go back to the very beginnings of the industry in the Lone Star State. On January 10, 1901, when the Lucas #1 blew in a little south of Beaumont it jump started the oil and gas industry in the United States. At that time Texas boasted slightly more than three million citizens, of which 80 percent were rural. That compares to the present population of 28.5 million who are 80 percent urban. Back in 1901 there was not a single mile of paved road in the state and San Antonio, with a population of 53,000, was its largest city. In short, the Texas of 1901 was a huge lightly populated rural region.
I can barely see with all this coal dust on me
RAILROADS. Transportation was a major problem facing early settlers in Texas. As late as 1850 the settled area of the state was largely confined to the river bottoms of East and South Texas and along the Gulf Coast. Although steamboat navigation was common on the lower stretches of a number of such rivers as the Rio Grande, Brazos, and Trinity, Texas rivers were not deep enough for dependable year-round transportation. Roads were either poor or nonexistent and virtually impassable during wet weather. Ox carts hauling three bales of cotton could only travel a few miles a day and the cost of wagon transport was twenty cents per ton mile. Many proposals to improve internal transportation were both considered and attempted during the period of the Republic of Texas and early statehood.
Texas Longhorns and the long drives northward to market made such an imprint on the 19th-century Western landscape that for many Americans today nothing else better defines the Old West. In his classic 1941 book The Longhorns, J. Frank Dobie writes that the Chisholm Trail, from Texas to Kansas, ‘initiated… the most fantastic and fabulous migration of animals controlled by man that the world has ever known or can ever know’ Between 1866 and 1890, some 10 million cattle were driven on the Chisholm and other trails out of Texas. ‘Without the Longhorns and the long drives,’ writes Don Worcester in The Texas Longhorn, ‘it is unlikely that the cowboy would have become such a universal folk hero.’
Settlers used oil as an illuminant for medicine, and as grease for wagons and tools. Rock oil distilled from shale became available as kerosene even before the Industrial Revolution began. While traveling in Austria, John Austin, a New York merchant, observed an effective, cheap oil lamp and made a model that upgraded kerosene lamps. Soon the U.S. rock oil industry boomed as whale oil increased in price owing to the growing scarcity of that mammal. Samuel Downer, Jr., an early entrepreneur, patented “Kerosene” as a trade name in 1859 and licensed its usage. As oil production and refining increased, prices collapsed, which became characteristic of the industry.
It harbored a conception of the just society, deriving from the Ricardian labor theory of value and from the republican ideals of the American Revolution, which fostered social equality, celebrated honest labor, and relied on an independent, virtuous citizenship. The transforming economic changes of industrial capitalism ran counter to labor’s vision. The result, as early labor leaders saw it, was to raise up “two distinct classes, the rich and the poor.” Beginning with the workingmen’s parties of the 1830s, the advocates of equal rights mounted a series of reform efforts that spanned the nineteenth century. Most notable were the National Labor Union, launched in 1866, and the Knights of Labor, which reached its zenith in the mid-1880s.