By Robert Proctor
The Cuero Record
Before the oil boom in Texas, cattle was king of the state. The Chisholm Trail was the most notable cattle driving route of the late 1800s, and DeWitt County was on that route. Cuero’s Chisholm Trail Heritage Museum (CTHM) was honored at the 150th anniversary celebration of the Chisholm Trail on Monday, March 27 at the Texas State Capitol.
Those attending the event were Jean and Charles Nagel, Joe Adams, Ted Aven, Candy and Dan Glidden, Patricia and Judd Miller, Roy Johnson, Robert Oliver, Sue Sulsar and Sharon Weber.
A resolution was made from the Texas senate floor, and it named the museum in Cuero. They also honored museum chairman Robert Oliver.
Oliver, the Chairman of the museum said, “It was quite an honor for Mark Wolfe, President of the Texas Historical Commission to include CTHM in the 150th Anniversary Celebration on the grounds of the State Capitol.”
Museum Executive Director Sharon Weber stated, “The 150th Anniversary in Austin was a great day for CTHM and Cuero. It was such an experience with trail bosses Ted and Charles leading the way and being able to share the story of the chuck wagon, the longhorn, the cowboy and the great Chisholm Trail cattle drives.”
Jean and Charles Nagel took their chuck wagon to the ceremony and shared its place in Texas history.
“It was a tremendous honor,” Jean said. “They put us in the most prominent place right there on the Texas star. I’m sure they’ve not had one [a chuck wagon] on the Capitol grounds before, and they probably won’t have one again. It was one of the greatest honors that we have had.”
Before they were even able to get the chuck wagon off the trailer, the Nagels were receiving questions.
“You never know what they might be interested in,” Jean said. “When they [trail drivers] stopped at night, the cook would always point the tongue of the wagon to the North Star, so he would know how to start out the next day.”
People from nine different countries went by to see the chuck wagon.
“Just the fact that the Chisholm Trail Museum was asked to come and participate in the 150th celebration was an honor,” Jean stated. “Charles and I feel like the publicity that the museum got from us being there was tremendous. That’s what we were proudest of is that we could represent them.”
The Nagels have taken their chuck wagon to the Fort Worth Brahman Association, Cowboy Camp, Taste of the Trail and Turkeyfest, but this one was the most down to earth.
“The people that were there came to see the Texas Capitol, so naturally they were interested in Texas history,” Jean recalled.
The economic impact that the chuck wagon and Chisholm Trail had on Texas sticks out to the Nagels.
“The history of the chuck wagon and the Chisholm Trail is just so interesting and so much a part of Texas history that the only way Texas ever recovered from the Civil War was when they drove the longhorns up to the railhead in Kansas, so they could sell their beef in the north,” Jean said. “It was the only way Texas was economically built back up, and it only lasted 20 years.”
“The fact that we happen to have a chuck wagon that could represent the museum which could also represent one of the very first trail drives that happened right here in Cuero, the whole historical package was so meaningful to us,” Jean concluded.