Historic Abilene

      At the end of the Civil War when millions of longhorns
were left on the plains of Texas without a market, the
Union Pacific was building west across Kansas. Joseph
McCoy, an Illinois stockman, believed these cattle could be
herded north for shipment by rail. He built yards at Abilene
and sent agents to notify the Texas cattlemen. In 1867
the first drives were made up the Chisholm trail and during
the next five years more than a million head were received.
Abilene became the first of the wild cattle towns where
gambling places, saloons, and dance halls competed for the
cowboys wages. Gun fights were frequent and several
peace officers resigned. The first to bring order was Tom
Smith. More famous was "Wild Bill" Hickok who became
known as the deadliest two gun marshal on the Western

      President Dwight D. Eisenhower lived in Abilene from
1901 to 1911. The Eisenhower home and museum are open
to the public.

Erected by the Kansas Historical Society
and State Highway Commission

Dickinson County
Historical marker in Abilene
Dickinson County


March 18, 2005 / Bob Walter / Pittsburg, Kansas / history@kslib.info

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