By "The Cowboy" Jim Gray
When Joseph McCoy opened his cattle market at Abilene in 1867, he brought a solution to a vexing situation for everyone in the cattle business. The shortage of beef in the northern states created a great demand for cattle. At the same time, Texans had an abundance of cattle. However, Texas was a long way from lucrative markets in the north.
McCoy’s “cattle depot” on the Union Pacific in Abilene brought the Texas cattlemen and the northern buyers together in a way that had not been done before. The early trickle of 35,000 head of cattle in 1867 rose to a reported 190,000 head on the range around Abilene in 1871.
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