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Topeka - Kansas Museum of History - Museum After Hours

The Chisholm Trail: Joseph McCoy’s Great Gamble
Dr. James Sherow, professor of history, Kansas State University

One hundred fifty years ago the McCoy brothers bet their fortunes on Abilene, Kansas, then just a slapdash way station. Instead of an endless horizon of prairie grasses, they saw a bustling outlet for hundreds of thousands of Texas Longhorns coming up the Chisholm Trail—and the youngest brother, Joseph, saw how a middleman could become wealthy in the process. This is the story of how that gamble paid off, transforming the cattle trade and, with it, the American landscape and diet.  Joseph McCoy’s enterprise forged links between cattlemen, entrepreneurs, and restaurateurs; between ecology, disease, and technology; and between local, national, and international markets. Discover how a gamble made in the face of uncontrollable natural factors indelibly changed the environment, reshaped the Kansas prairie into the nation’s stockyard, and transformed Plains Indian hunting grounds into the hub of a domestic farm culture. A booksigning will follow the program.

The Kansas Museum of History is open until 6:30 p.m., admission is half price after 5 p.m. The Museum Store is also open until 6:30 p.m.

Next program:

June 14 - Politics on the Platform: Woman Suffrage at the Chautauqua
July 12 - Hidden History
August 9 - Elevations: A Personal Exploration of the Arkansas River
September 13 - The Many Trials of Fatty Arbuckle