(I) Eastern, Abilene and Chisholm Trail System – Reality and Evidence vs. Folklore. The debate is multi-faceted. One element involves the namesake of the “Chisholm Trail” since credit has gone to Thornton Chisholm, John S. Chisum and Jesse Chisholm. Folklore claims additional men should be credited because their name was Chisholm, Chisum, Chism, Chissum, Chisolm or Chissm. Evidence shows Thornton Chisholm left DeWitt County, Texas (east of San Antonio) in April 1866 with a herd of 1,800 cattle. Thornton’s route went about 100 miles west of the 1867 trail which developed into the “Chisholm Trail,” angled through Indian Territory without using the Chisholm Wagon Trail and ended in St. Joseph, Missouri. In 1868, Thornton died in a freight hauling accident. With these facts, Thornton can be ruled out as the namesake as can John S. Chisum who ranched in Denton County, TX (north of Ft. Worth) until 1863 when he moved his operations to Coleman County (east of San Angelo). 1867 brought another major change for John Chisum when he established his ranch in New Mexico Territory. There is no evidence showing any of Chisum’s cattle were driven to Abilene, Kansas in 1867. Jesse Chisholm, a trader and translator, operated several trading posts in Indian Territory and southern Kansas. He opened his first trading post in 1847, added more in the late 1850s and then again in 1864. In moving supplies back and forth, Jesse’s heavy wagons turned an existing Indian/military trail in the central part of Indian Territory into a very discernible path. Some knew this as Chisholm’s Trail and others knew it as the Chisholm Wagon Road. The “Chisholm Trail” nickname was derived from Chisholm’s Trail/Chisholm Wagon Road in spite of Jesse’s supply route comprising only a small fraction of the total miles of the cattle trail system which emerged in 1867 as a means of getting Texas herds to Abilene, Kansas. Evidence shows Jesse Chisholm was not a cattle drover, did not establish a trail into Texas and did not extend his trade route north of today’s Wichita. Due to his death in 1868, Jesse never knew anything about a “Chisholm Trail” which was used to trail Texas cattle. The “Chisholm Trail” name first appeared in newspapers in 1869 and then became a bit more common in 1872 after Abilene left the market. Men loading Texas cattle on a Kansas Pacific Railway stock car at Abilene, Kansas. Leslie’s, August 19, 1871, page 385. Photo credit: https://www.kansasmemory.org/item/208507. 4/8/2019.