Much information is available on the cattle drives in the era after the American Civil War (1861 - 1865). The movement of longhorns from Texas to the rail heads in Kansas and later to Nebraska, Colorado and the northern territories has been written about extensively. It is also the period that most people recall because of romanticizing by movies and television.

However much less is known about the drives before the Civil War. That was the period when western beef was becoming available to the more populous areas of the east. Railroads hadn't gotten to the west yet so drives were the only way to get the beef to the people.

Illinois was a key element during this time. It was geographically located along the path to the east. Chicago had slaughter houses. The central part of the state produced much grain which was used to fatten the cattle as they lay over before moving to market.

This site will provide occasional articles on the people and events of the time. If any reader has input on the subject he is encouraged to provide it. Likewise, any comments and critiques are welcome.

Most of the information I have is already on these pages, but if you have a question, go ahead and write and I'll see if I can help you.

If you'd prefer to send a paper letter, I can be reached at:

Ed Link
3548 Winhaven Drive
Waukegan, IL  60087-1403