Home School Life Journal From Preschool to High School

Home School Life Journal ........... Ceramics by Katie Bergenholtz
"Let us strive to make each moment beautiful."
Saint Francis DeSales

Cowboys and the Western Cattle Trails (1866-1890) and Presidents Johnson to Hayes

Map from Interactive 3-D Maps: American History by Donald Silver 
My younger boys love cowboys, but they didn't know much about the Western cattle drives. We talked about how the cows were raised in Texas and then herded to the slaughterhouses in northern cities like Chicago and then shipped by railroad to all parts of the United States. The ranchers did this because a steer worth only a few dollars in Texas where they were plentiful could bring $40 or more up north.
We talked about branding cows so that the owners could identify them. We talked about how the ranchers needed lots of helpers or hands to drive the cattle and that there was also the need for a cook and a chuck wagon to feed all the hands. We talked about the difficulties that the cowboys had, many of which were similar to the pioneers's difficulties, such as river crossings and wildfires.
I am sure we are going to have a lot of cowboy pretend play
and sketching of cowboys in the week to come.


Andrew Johnson
Served: 1865-1869
Party: Democrat
Became President after the death of Lincoln
Vetoed the Civil Rights bill stating “This is a country for white men, and by God, as long as I am President, it shall be a government for white men.”
Two attempts at impeachment were made against him

Ulysses S Grant
Served: 1869-1877
Party: Republican
Reconstruction period for the United States
Ratified the 15th amendment establishing voting rights for all
Promoted severe punishment for the Ku Klux Klan
Is on the $50 bill and has the Grant Memorial on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. named after him.

Rutherford Birchard Hayes
Served: 1877-1881
Party: Republican
Won by a very close margin
Gold discovered in the Black Hills, S. Dakota Resulted in attempted removal of Indians from their Reservations
Battle of Little Big Horn
The Great Turkey Walk, Kathleen Karr 
This is a great book to read while studying the Western Cattle Trails because it is a very funny parody in which the main character, Simon, (who's just completed third grade (for the fourth time), herds a huge flock of turkeys all the way from his home in eastern Missouri to the boomtown of Denver, where they'll fetch a "mighty price." In the year 1860, just as the real cattle drivers, the hazards of such a trek are many, but in this case mighty funny, too. This is great as a read-aloud as soon as they are old enough to understand the parody humor or for 5th graders (age 10) and up to read to themselves.

A good non-fiction book on this subject is National Geographic's How to Get Rich on a Texas Cattle Drive by Tod Olson
related posts:


and for further inspiration:


  1. "The Great Turkey Walk" is one of our all time favorites! So funny. Love your activities.

  2. And stampedes, don't forget the fear of stampedes! :)

    I've gotten behind on my blog reading, so I'm behind on commenting. But, I'm working on it.......... Kinda sorta......

    I think every young boy loves cowboys, and girls too.


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