ï»¿ Joseph McCoy was a cattle dealer from Chicago, who saw how to exploit the development of an ongoing trend. He was a crucial reason for the development of the cattle industry because he was the founder of the first cow town, Abilene, in 1867. He filled it with stock pens which encouraged ranchers to drive their cattle there. Abilene provided a neutral meeting place for the ranchers and buyers; it was a town free of mobs, rustlers and Indians. The idea of a safe environment to carry out a definite sale of cattle, was a factor which encouraged many ranchers to drive their cattle to a cow town. McCoy made great profits through the success of his cow town. An animal worth five dollars in Texas could be sold for ten times that amount in Abilene. This led to many other cattle towns being opened over the next few years. Between 1867 and 1881, nearly 1.5 million cattle passed through Abilene instead of being ...view middle of the document...
His route to Fort Summer, established the beginning of the Goodnight-Loving trail. This trail was later extended to lead the cattle drives to Wyoming. The established trail encouraged many other ranchers to drive their cattle north in order to receive a better price for their meat. The increasing number of cattle arriving in the north meant that, by 1870, the US government was buying 50,000 to 60,000 head of cattle a year.
Another important individual was John Iliff. He was the first big rancher on the Plains after discovering that his herd of cattle could survive the harsh conditions of winter on the plains, therefore he built up his herd by buying lame and footsore cattle from ranchers travelling to Oregon. Eventually, he had a herd of 35,000 cattle, along with major contracts with the railroad builders and Sioux Indians. Iliffâ€™s breeding experiments produced better tasting meant, which increased his profits and demand. He set a good example to other ranchers, and they were encouraged to follow Iliff to the Plains, rather than head south.
The building of railroads across the US was another critical factor in the development of the cattle industry. This is because it connected the eastern, populated cities to the west, which allowed for large numbers of cattle to be transported easily to other areas of the country. Also, refrigerated railroad cars allowed cattle to be slaughtered before being transported. This meant that demand for beef in the east was rapidly rising; people started to develop a taste for beef, whereas previously they had preferred pork. Also, the US government required large quantities of beef to use as rations for the Indian reservations and to feed the army, which increased the demand for beef.
In conclusion, I do not think that Joseph McCoy was the most important factor in the development of the cattle industry, because I believe that each factor had a vital part in the growth of the industry. McCoy was a pioneer, yet all the other factors strongly influenced the increasing popularity of the cattle industry.