Texas Cattle Drives
~10 Million Longhorns To Market
Texans had a "Beef Trail" to New Orleans in 1836, before they broke away from Mexico to become the Republic of Texas.
The gold boom in California in the 1850s created a demand for beef and the cash to pay for it. Beef sold for about $40 per head in the Western markets.
BARTON CREEK SETTLEMENT, TEXAS.
Before the Civil War (1860), twenty miles west of Austin, on the border of Hays and Travis counties, on the old road between Austin and Fredericksburg, a community grew up called the Barton Creek Settlement.
From 1861–1865, many Texans left their ranches and herds to fend for themselves while they went off to fight in the Civil War. During the years of civil conflict longhorns reverted back to their native, wild state and roamed freely on the expansive Texas range.
Instead of herds decimated from neglect, Texans came home and found their tough longhorns flourishing, but there was no market to sell them. A healthy longhorn was worth $4 to $5.
In 1867 Joseph G. McCoy produced rail cars designed to move cattle and opened a regular market in the West. It is estimated that as many as 10 million head of longhorn cattle were driven over Texas Cattle Trails to rail cars at raucous cow towns to supply the new Western Market. Texas longhorn beef was a preferred delicacy and in high demand in California.
BARTON CREEK CROSSING
In the years of the cattle drives (1866-1886) the road through the Barton Creek Settlement was “the primary trail” from western counties into Austin. Thirsty longhorn herds dusted off and slaked their thirst in the cool, spring-fed waters of Barton Creek on their way to the rail head in Austin.
Barbed wire, railroads, and farmers brought trail driving to an end about 1895.
On their way home, Kenny and Willi Ann still get their tires wet driving through Barton Creek Crossing where 145 years ago longhorn herds rested.
Kenny, Willi Ann, Abby and the Barton Creek Crossing Team make pumpkin spread and apple spreads 300’ from the Kruse home where they built their sparkling new warehouse and certified kitchen.
When you spread up a biscuit or top off some cool ice cream with Barton Creek Crossing Apple or Pumpkin you are enjoying the best … past and present!