The history of the Texas Longhorn cattle has long been romanticized by poets, artists, and authors. The journey of the American-made cattle breed would start in 1493 with Christopher Columbus. He would ultimately bring Spanish cattle to Santa Domingo. By 1690, about 200 head of Texas Longhorns would be driven from Mexico to the Sabine River (later to be known as part of Texas). It was here that ranchers had been tested in their skills of raising cattle and would fail time and time again, that was until the Longhorns arrived. These cattle would thrive in this environment unlike any other cattle breed and by the time the great Civil War would hit the United States there would be millions of Longhorns on the lands of Texas. Most of these cattle "were unbranded, survivors of Indian raids, scattered by stampedes and weather, escaped from missions or abandoned after ranch failures" (TLBAA). After the Civil War, returning soldiers found these wild herds of Longhorns and started to profit from them. The cattle were rounded up, shipped North to be fattened, then rushed to the East to feed the meat-starved people. This would become the era of the cowboy. Along with the rough men would be equally hardy cattle, perfect for long drives. Being ideal for marketing and most sought after, the breed would almost go extinct.
Thanks to the Federal government and a few appointed people, the Texas Longhorn is still with us today. In 1927, Congress would give $3,000 and assign forest rangers, WIll C. Barnes and John H. Hatton, to put a herd together in the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge. A second herd was arranged from Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge in Valentine, Nebraska. And where would the Texas Longhorn be without a herd in the Lone Star state. J. Frank Dobie, author of The Longhorns, and Graves Peeler would start a herd in the 1930's. Time would prove once again how amazing the Longhorns were and private stocks would arise.
"In 1964, the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America was formed in Lawton, Oklahoma" (TLBAA). The recorded total head of purebred cattle was still less than 1,500. Most of these animals were found in the refuges but others were found" in the State of Texas herd, zoos, parks, and other private herds" (TLBAA).