The Chisholm Trail, traveled by Texas longhorn cattle moving northward across present-day Oklahoma to Kansas, was named for mixed-blood Cherokee Jesse Chisholm (1805–1868). Though Chisholm’s prominence in western lore rests largely on this connection, he was active on the frontier long before the naming of the trail. Because he left no diaries, letters, or personal documents, however, his life has been shrouded in mystery.
Drawing from many sources, including early state and federal documents, newspaper accounts, and trade and military records, Stan Hoig offers the clearest picture to date of the many important roles Chisholm played: trailblazer, friend of Indian chiefs, linguist of Indian languages, scout, and—perhaps most important—liaison between Indian tribes, the U.S. government, and the Republic of Texas.
With his formidable intellect and talent for diplomacy, Chisholm blazed a trail in the history of the American Southwest more fascinating even than the one that bears his name.