Chronicling the cattle drives of one man is greatly facilitated by the autobiography he wrote. Tom Candy Ponting was born in England August 26, 1824 and came to the United States in 1847. After short stays in Ohio and Wisconsin he settled in Illinois. In September 1851 he became partners with Washington Malone of Indiana.

Ponting and Malone went to Texas in early 1853 and bought cattle in Fannin County. They carried gold in buckskin belts since currency was not yet available everywhere. Leaving Texas in April they drove the cattle north and east, exiting Missouri near St. Louis where they crossed the Mississippi River by ferry. The cattle were wintered in Christian County, near Moweaqua, where they were corn fed.

The following spring 150 of the cattle were driven east to the railroad at Muncie, Indiana. By train the journey continued to New York City, where they were sold on July 3, 1854. They were said to be "the first Texas cattle that were ever in New York."

In 1855 Ponting bought more cattle and shipped them, as well as the remaining ones from Texas, to Chicago to either the Merrick Yard or Bullshead Yard. He also sent cattle to Toronto, Canada as well as continuing to ship cattle and hogs to Chicago.

His book details how he in later years emphasized farming along with his cattle work. Interestingly he gives several examples of the precise dollar figures of his buying and selling. He died in Decatur October 11, 1916.


The American West Dee Brown 1994

The Cattleman The Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Assn J. Frank Dobie January, 1949

The Chisholm Trail Don Worcester 1980

Life of Tom Candy Ponting Tom Candy Ponting - 1952

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