The Shawnee Trail Presented at Rotary
 

 
 
 
Picture shows Sharon Farmer of the Ellis County Historic Commission and David Smith, Cowboy Poet
 
Back in the period of the 1840’s men south of San Antonio decided they could make good money by rounding up the wild longhorn cattle in their area
and driving them to Sedalia, Missouri to sell.  The trail they blazed ran from San Antonio through Austin and Waco, through Ellis County to Dallas and Preston on the Red River.  They crossed there and proceeded to Sedalia.  Recently a historic marker was placed on the Pecan Springs Ranch of Gary Farmer north of Italy to commemorate the trail.   Sharon Farmer of the Ellis County Historic Commission explained the research and analysis necessary to identify the location.
 
Since this was the first cattle drive trail it was originally just called “The Trail”.  Later the railroad moved west from Sedalia to Abilene, Kansas to Ellsworth then on to Dodge City.  It was easier to drive to Kansas so the trail moved west from Waco to Ft. Worth on this trail, the Chisholm Trail.  Later still the Western Trail and the Goodnight-Loving Trails took over the herds.  “The Trail” had followed an old Shawnee trail used long before the Americans came so it was called the Shawnee Trail which was active from about 1850 to 1873..
We have all been on parts of the Shawnee and Chisholm Trails.  A look at the map shows that the Shawnee trail follows much of I-35 and I-35E.  Similarly, the Chisholm Trail follows I-35W.  Typically throughout history old trails set the path for later lanes, roads and highways.  The Shawnee Trail also led to US-77 and the railroads.
Cowboy poet David Smith wrote a poem to commemorate the dedication of the historic marker which he named Thaddeus and Nathan.
Thaddeus and Nathan drove cattle up the trail in 1871.
They each had a saddle. Between ‘em they had a pocket watch and a gun.
Their folks had moved from Tennessee to Texas in 1857,
When Thaddeus was 9 and Nathan almost 11.
 
The boys took to the ranch life straight from the git go.
They wanted to know cow and learn what there was to know.
They worked the spring roundup each year, ginnin’ them beeves trail ready.
But stayed around the ranch helping their mother ‘n deddy.
 
They heard the pay was good when you reached the Missouri pens.
And selling longhorn beef is what they did back then.
So they gathered a herd and registered their brand with the county clerk.
In spring of ’71 headed north dedicated to drovers’ work.
 
In Ellis County, Texas, they saw an old woman stringing beans out front in her yard.
She calls out to the two dusty, cattle-poking pards,
“That’s Mr. Chambers’ creek you’re acrossin’.
Keep them critters amovin’, you do not want him to come abossin’.
 
They crossed the Trinity and the Red, reached Sedalia and got their pay.
And made it back to the ranch in just a matter of days.
They had a taste of cattle driving for a spell,
Figured it was better to stay at the ranch and buy and sell.
 
In the evenings they’d talk about their fears and their fun.
They still had the pocket watch.  They still had the little gun.
For more information about the Rotary Club of Waxahachie where we believe in Service Above Self and doing things as a club we cannot do alone, visit the club web site at www.waxahachierotary.org .  You can find American flag subscription forms there
 
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