The Saint Jo Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the Saint Jo Historical Society and the Museum of the Stonewall Saloon, will present The Real Chisholm Trail Symposium on May 6, 2017. 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 pre and post-Civil War cattle-driving era. Together, these organizations are releasing a joint statement:
The Real Chisholm Trail Symposium involves a presentation and panel discussion in which panelists will present historical evidence detailing the real facts around the pre and post-Civil War cattle-driving industry. The panelists will discuss historical discrepancies and why they continue to be taught by many historians. Question and Answer opportunities for the audience will follow the presentations. At the end of the day, a bus tour will travel the Red River cattle trail routes in Montague County.
The symposium will be held at the International Ordinance Museum, 201 S. Main, Saint Jo, Texas. Presentations will begin at 9:30 a.m. and continue to 4:00 p.m. Bus tour will depart at 4:30 pm and return at 6:00 pm.
Author of “North to Kansas: The Real Chisholm Trail” and local historian Tom Weger said, “Texas historians are entitled to their own opinion but not their own facts. It’s time to set the record straight.”
Each panelist has undertaken the task of investigating and collecting evidence that clarifies the dates and routes of the cattle trails in Texas and farther north. “For over one hundred years, myths and tourism have overshadowed the real historical facts about the cattle drive trails especially in Texas,” explains Richard Cain, Board President, Museum of the Stonewall Saloon.
The 1920s and ‘30s were a time of great public interest in the “wild west” and cattle drives. Hollywood, newspapers, magazines and authors, trying to capitalize on the trend, wrote articles and books based on folklore and myths, which have little or no grounding in historical facts yet have been adapted as our Texas history
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 Texans who participated in or witnessed cattle drives reveal a story much more complex and interesting than the one that has been created to sell movie tickets, t-shirts and postcards. Weger continues to question the motives of Texas’ Chisholm Trail historians. “It seems as if they have deliberately written the history of the Chisholm Trail for prosperity purposes,” he said.
The Real Chisholm Trail Symposium is designed to increase the growing number of enlightened Texans, historians and history buffs of the Texas cattle-driving era.