The Real Chisholm Trail Symposium

May 6, 2017
Saint Jo, Texas

The Real Chisholm Trail Symposium

International Ordinance Museum

201 S. Main Street

9 am to 4 pm

Montague County Cattle Trail Bus Tour

Leaves from and returns to the International Ordinance Museum

4:30 pm to 6 pm

The Real Chisholm Trail Symposium involves presentations and panel discussion in which panelists will present historical evidence detailing the real facts around the pre and post-civil war cattle driving industry. Researchers, professors, historians and some of the most prominent cattle driving families from Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas will be onsite, reclaiming "hidden" or "forgotten histories of the great cattle drives.

Each panelist has understated the task of investigating and collecting evidence that clarifies the dates and routes of the cattle trails in Texas and farther north. Recent research by these historians proves the real version of the Texas cattle drives is not what one remembers from history class. Government documents, drover diaries and testimonies of Texas who participated in or witnessed cattle drives reveal a story much more complex and interesting that the one than has been created to sell movie tickets, t-shirts and postcards.

The Real Chisholm Trail Symposium will be held at the International Ordinance Museum, 201 S. Main Street in Saint Jo, Texas. Introductions begin at 9 am. Presentations begin at 9:30 am continuing on until 4:00 pm.

Saint Jo Chamber of Commerce is hosting the Montague County Cattle Trails Bus Tour. The bus will load at 4:30 pm and return at 6 pm.

To register for The Real Chisholm Trail Symposium please email or call Ginger at:

info@sjmainstreetgallery.com or call 940.995.2786


Symposium: $10.00

Bus Tour: $15.00

Lunch will be available at the restaurants on The Square.

The Real Chisholm Trail Symposium


  • 09:00am-09:30am

    Introductions-Meet & Greet

  • 09:30am-10:00am

    Pre - Civil War Cattle Industry
    Dr.   Debbie Liles

  • 10:00am-10:30am

    Shawnee and Arbuckle Trail 1866-1870
    Gary & Margaret Kraisinger

  • Break

  • 10:45am-11:15am

    Real Cattle Industry Folks - Roundtable
    Butler, Saunders, Kinnan,

  • 11:15am-11:45am

    Abilene Kansas - The Real Cowtown
    Michael Hook

  • Break for Lunch

  • 01:00pm-01:30pm

    American Indian Perspective
    Towana Spivey

  • 01:30pm-02:00pm

    Oklahoma Territory-Government Perspective
    Dr.   Jim Sherow

  • Break

  • 02:15pm-03:00pm

    The Real Chisholm Trail
    Tom Weger

  • 03:00pm-03:30pm

    Dispelling the Myths
    Wayne Ludwig

  • 03:30pm-04:00pm

    Questions & Answers
    Presenters Panel

  • 04:30pm-06:00pm

    Montague County Cattle Trail Bus Tour



GARY & MARGARET KRAISINGER, 2015 Kansas Cowboy Hall of Fame historian inductees, have been cattle trail scholars for over forty years.  In 2010, the couple published a map series of the four major cattle trail systems that came north out of Texas. They have also authored two books on the Western Cattle Trail, the second one receiving the prestigious Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City and the Six Shooter Award for the 2016 Book of the Year from the Wild West History Association.  In this newest project, the couple takes a closer look at the early years of the Chisholm Trail.  Their expertise in the trail geography and cartography continues to give readers the true picture of cattle trail history.

PROFESSOR JIM SHEROW received his Ph.D from the University of Colorado in 1987, and that fall his dissertation, "Discord in the Valley of Content," won the Westerners International-Phi Alpha Theta Award for the best dissertation in Western history. Since 2007 he has been a professor at Kansas State University where his teaching and research interests are environmental history, Kansas history, North American Indian history, and the history of the American West. Professor Sherow is the author of three books, The Grasslands of the United States: An Environmental History (2007), A Sense of the American West: An Anthology of Environmental History (1998), and Watering the Valley; Development Along the High Plains Arkansas River, 1870-1950 (1990). He is currently the mayor of Manhattan, Kansas.


MICHAEL HOOK is the Director of the Dickinson County Heritage Center in Abilene, Kansas and has spent much of his career researching and writing on the cowtowns of Kansas. He has appeared as an Abilene Historian on Travel Channel’s Mystery at the Castle and American Lawmen on the American Heroes Channel. Hook is also the Event Coordinator for Trails, Rails and Tales, the Spirit of the Chisholm Trail, celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Chisholm Trail. As a graduate of Arizona State University, the drover’s life has been the bulk of Hook’s research, and he has worked tirelessly to reintroduce the forgotten legends of the original cow town, Abilene, Kansas. He has written articles through several Kansas publications, and gives presentations throughout the country.

DEBBIE LILES earned her PhD in history from UNT in 2013. Her research examines the correlation between the antebellum livestock industry and the institution of slavery, and will soon be published by LSU Press. Among the variety of projects she currently has in progress are a biography of Oliver Loving, noted trail driver and cattleman, and an anthology about women in the livestock industry (both to be published by Texas A&M Press). Her last book, co-edited with Dr. Angela Boswell, is an award winning anthology, Women in Civil War Texas: Diversity and Dissidence in the Trans Mississippi.


TOWANA SPIVEY is a historian, archeologist, museum curator and preservationist in the southern plains region. Spivey's many experiences include Archaeology investigations and historical restorations of frontier military forts (Fort was a hit, Fort Towson, Fort Sill), trading posts, and other historic dwellings. He conducted some of the first forensicarcheological investigations involving contemporary murder and has also testified in court as an expert witness pertaining to Native American legal and historical issues.


WAYNE LUDWIG is a history buff, budding author, and creator of the Texas Cattle Trails History Group on Facebook. He is a Fort Worth native and volunteer at the National Multicultural Western Heritage Museum, formerly Cowboys of Color Museum, in Fort Worth. He is one of the museum's resident historians and early development planner of the museum's community garden and outdoor learning programs. Wayne and his wife, Martha, reside in Fort Worth.

TOM WEGER is a historian, author and Executive Producer of North to Kansas:The Real Chisholm Trail is a book. He has spent over a year researching the actual cattle trails through Montague County in which he found many inaccuracies in the commercialism of the Chisholm Trail established route . He has undertaken the task of separating fact from folklore in the history of Montague County cattle trails.


BOB KINNAN is currently serving as the Area Manager of the King Ranch, King Ranch historian, and supervisor of Santa Gertrudis Heritage Society and King Ranch Archives. Kinnan resides on the historic Santa Gertrudis division of King Ranch.