USA 2015
~FRONTIER TEXAS! (MUSEUM)~

Copyright Ruud Leeuw Photos © R.Leeuw

The Frontier Texas! museum comes up as a main feature if one searches for 'what-to-do' in Abilene. And rightly so, I found.
Frontier Texas! is a history museum, gift shop and the official visitor center for Abilene and the Texas Forts Trail Region. We enjoyed the 'Blood & Treasure on the Frontier'-exhibition.
I had this museum high on my list, fascinated as I am by the history of Indians, the settlers, pioneers and cowboys, etc.

 

Frontier Texas! museum (Abilene,TX)
Located in historic downtown Abilene, Frontier Texas! is a western heritage center that brings the Old West
to life with the help of state-of-the-art technology.
Nice garden decoration!
 

Frontier Texas! museum (Abilene,TX)
Information is shared in many ways, by exhibits, written information but also spoken, by actors, projected as seen here,
as witness reports from the days when.. And it is only just to start with the Indians, particular with the Comanches
for their 200 years of domination in the area.

Frontier Texas! museum (Abilene,TX)

From the 1700s-1800s the Comanches dominated the Southern Plains.
Riding on recently acquired horses, the Comanche hunted, traded, and made war across a huge expanse of the Southwest. Mobility, as well as economic and militaristic supremacy, made them the first culture to sustain dominance of the frontier Texas region.
The Comanche were formidable enough to block European expansion into their homeland for over 150 years, a feat no other Native American tribe achieved.
The tribe called themselves Numunah, simply "Our People." The Spanish, however, called this region Comancheria:the Comanche Empire!

 

Frontier Texas! museum (Abilene,TX)

The Comanche tribe was a collection of small bands. Comanche bands were groups of extended family lines that supported each other in hunting, trading and fighting.
Affiliation was voluntary, and individuals and families often drifted between bands.
Leaders were those who could command respect and bring prosperity.
Some bands numbered in the dozens, others in the thousands. Men were hunters, traders and fighters. Women did the daily chores, including transporting and erecting the heavy buffalo hide tipis. Women had little status.
Men usually considered horses as their most valuable property, then their dogs, then their wives and children...
(Information from the museum's website, www.frontiertexas.com)

 

Frontier Texas! museum (Abilene,TX)
These displays could be turned and actually held three boards of information. It made the information seem less and
one is inclined to give it the time required to read it, turning to one by one, instead of thinking "that is a lot
of information, I think I will skip this.." A lot of thought went into the display of information here, well done!

 

Frontier Texas! museum (Abilene,TX)
Winners and losers involved in the frontier's first economic boom.
The discovery that buffalo hides were suitable for industrial leather created an industry that transformed frontier Texas.
Soon after the Civil War, eastern capitalists ordered as many buffalo hides as could be supplied. Hunters responded, first decimating the herds on the Northern Plains, and then coming after the millions of Texas buffalo. A government treaty protected the Texas buffalo for Indians, but hunters ignored it.
The military 'looked the other way', as the loss of buffalo would force the Indians onto reservations...
Texas buffalo were killed out in less than a decade!
 

Frontier Texas! museum (Abilene,TX)
 

Frontier Texas! museum (Abilene,TX)
From the prairies to railheads in Kansas.
Texans began to drive the longhorns across open range and the Indian Territory to railheads in Kansas for shipment to eastern markets.
Hundreds of herds of cattle were driven up trails to the existing railheads, as a Texas steer worth $3 could be sold at a railhead for $30.
Cowboys endured the hard, dangerous trip and herd owners often amassed fortunes.
In less than 25 years, cowboys drove millions of cattle out of Texas over the cattle trails.

Frontier Texas! museum (Abilene,TX)

Cattle trails were the primary means of moving Texas cattle to market in the late 19th century.
In the 1840s and 1850s Texas cattle were taken over the Shawnee trail to Iowa, Missouri and Ohio to be slaughtered for local markets.
During the Civil War, Texas cattle were driven to railheads in Kansas to be shipped to the East.
There were no railroads in Texas, and cattle brought a higher price in the East.
The best-known era of the great cattle drives was from 1866-1890, when millions of cattle were driven over the Great Western and Goodnight Loving trails. But by 1890, the availability of nearby railroads, the spread of cattle disease (tick fever) and the fencing of the open range ended the trail driving business.
www.frontiertexas.com

 

Frontier Texas! museum (Abilene,TX)

 

Frontier Texas! museum (Abilene,TX)

Frontier Texas! museum (Abilene,TX)

 

Frontier Texas! museum (Abilene,TX)

The Butterfield Overland Mail Trail was a stagecoach service in the United States, operating from 1857 to 1861. It carried passengers and U.S. Mail from two eastern termini, Memphis, Tennessee and St. Louis, Missouri to San Francisco, California.
The routes from each eastern terminus met at Fort Smith, Arkansas, and then continued through Indian Territory, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Baja California, and California ending in San Francisco.
Prior to this, U.S. Mail bound for the Far West had been transported by ship across the Gulf of Mexico to Panama, where it was freighted across the isthmus to the Pacific, then taken by ship for points in California.

During the 1860s there were few routes westward and the Overland Stagecoach Route was one of the primary routes and had to be kept open for settlers, miners and businessmen traveling west.
Because the Overland Stagecoach route was being harassed by bandits and Indians, Lincoln's War Department responded by assigning a detachment from the 9th Kansas Cavalry in the Wyoming Territory.

In March 1860, the Overland Stage Company was taken over because of the debt owed to Wells Fargo and as a result John Butterfield was forced out of the business. Butterfield's assets as well as those of the Pony Express were to wind up with the Wells Fargo partners.

Employing over 800 at its peak, it used 250 Concord Stagecoaches and 1800 head of stock, horses and mules and 139 relay stations or frontier forts in its heyday. The last Oxbow Route run was made 21Mar1861 at the time of the outbreak of the Civil War. The Civil War started on 12Apr1861.
In March 1861, before the American Civil War had actually begun at Fort Sumter, the US Government formally revoked the contract of the Butterfield Overland Stagecoach Company in anticipation of the coming conflict.
The route and service ceased on 30Jun1861.
[Wikipedia, more..]

Frontier Texas! museum (Abilene,TX)

 

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