A Texas Cowboy's Journal
Up the Trail to Kansas in 1868
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
In this earliest known day-by-day journal of a cattle drive from Texas to Kansas, Jack Bailey, a North Texas farmer, describes what it was like to live and work as a cowboy in the southern plains just after the Civil War. We follow Bailey as the drive moves northward into Kansas and then as his party returns to Texas through eastern Kansas, southwestern Missouri, northwestern Arkansas, and Indian Territory.
For readers steeped in romantic cowboy legend, the journal contains surprises. Bailey’s time on the trail was hardly lonely. We travel with him as he encounters Indians, U.S. soldiers, Mexicans, freed slaves, and cowboys working other drives. He and other crew members—including women—battle hunger, thirst, illness, discomfort, and pain. Cowboys quarrel and play practical jokes on each other and, at night, sing songs around the campfire.
David Dary’s thorough introduction and footnotes place the journal in historical context.
“Here’s a book every westerner, real or wannabe, should read and add to his or her library.”—Tony Hillerman, author of A Thief of Time
“This volume is an important read for educators, labor and economic historians or anyone pursuing an understanding of the work, thoughts, and common experiences of those cowhands who went up the trail in an iconic, if somewhat mythologized, era of American West history.”—Central Texas Studies: Journal of the Central Texas Historical Association Volume 1 and Volume 2