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Book cover of A Texas Cowboy's Journal: Up the Trail to Kansas In 1868, Vol. 3

A Texas Cowboy's Journal: Up the Trail to Kansas In 1868, Vol. 3

by Jack Bailey, David Dary

Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
Pages: 160
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780806137377






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Overview of A Texas Cowboy's Journal: Up the Trail to Kansas In 1868, Vol. 3

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.

Synopsis of A Texas Cowboy's Journal: Up the Trail to Kansas In 1868, Vol. 3

""Now you have my travels to Kansas [and] back home...Hope it will interest some people." So ends the earliest known day-by-day journal kept by a cowboy on a cattle drive from Texas to Kansas following the Civil War. In this rare firsthand account, Jack Bailey, a North Texas farmer, describes what it was like to live and work as a cowboy in the southern plains in the late 1860s." "Bailey shares many of his inner thoughts and feelings, including his frequent homesickness, and he records his take on many of the social and political issues of the day, such as post-Civil War race relations. The journal also contains surprises for readers steeped in romantic cowboy lore and cattle drive legend: Bailey's time on the trail was hardly lonely, and crews included African Americans and, at least on the early drives, women and children." In an introduction, western historian David Dary establishes Jack Bailey's identity and puts the journal in historical context. Dary's footnotes help readers interpret Bailey's sometimes telegraphic pose, and two maps allow us to follow Bailey as the drive moves northward into Kansas and then as his party returns to Texas through eastern Kansas, southwestern Missouri, the northwest corner of Arkansas, and Indian Territory.

About the Author, Jack Bailey

Jack Bailey was most likely John W. Bailey (1831??), a farmer from Jack County, Texas.

Award-winning writer David Dary is retired as head of what is now the Gaylord College of Journalism at the University of Oklahoma. He has published numerous articles on the Old West and the plains region and authored eighteen previous books, including Cowboy Culture, True Tales of the Prairies and Plains, and Frontier Medicine.

Charles P. Schroeder is Executive Director of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

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