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Fort Worth, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas can easily trace its roots back to an 1849 army post and its growth and success to the iconic cattle drives led by the American cowboys. From the early days of the Fort Worth Stockyards to the Fort Worth Live Stock Commission Co., to the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo, history runs deep in Fort Worth.

Fort Worth traces its roots back to an army outpost in 1849. It was named Camp Worth in honor of Major General William Jenkins Worth. Worth was second in command to General Zachary Taylor during the Mexican American War.

Located along the Old Chisholm Trail, cattle drives brought people to Fort Worth. Cattle drives was the name given to the trek cowboys herded their cattle along from ranch to market. Millions of cattle were herded from Texas eastward and Fort Worth was soon nicknamed “Cowtown.” Hollywood helped romanticize cowboys and their cattle drives.

The Union Stockyards was built in 1878. It was sold to Boston capitalist Greenleif Simpson and Boston meatpacker Louville V. Niles and renamed the Fort Worth Stockyards. While weekly livestock sales have long ended, there are many special bred sales throughout the year. Today, visitors can enjoy the history of the livestock business at the Stockyards Museum.

Fort Worth Live Stock Commission Co.

The Fort Worth Live Stock Commission Co. was the first firm created solely for buying and selling cattle in the Fort Worth market. It was organized by James D. Farmer who first entered the cattle sale business when he established the Hoxie Packing House in Tarrant County. He also organized the Rhome-Farmer Live Stock Commission Co. and was elected as the first mayor of North Fort Worth. The town then merged with the larger Fort Worth.

The success of the Fort Worth Stockyards led to a Feeders & Breeders Show. The Show was held at the Coliseum, known also as the Cowtown Coliseum.

Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo

The Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo was established in 1896. Through the years the show has gone through a couple name changes: Texas Fat Stock Show, the National Feeders and Breeders Show, and the Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show. In 1911 purebred cattle were represented at the Show. In 1913 a teen group called the Baby Beef Clubs was represented to further the education of the livestock industry. The Baby Beef Clubs evolved into today’s 4-H Clubs. The Show also featured Wild West Shows and entertainment. In 1918 the Show added the rodeo, to the delight of many newcomers. The rodeo included ladies’ bucking bronco, junior steer riding, men’s steer riding, bucking bronco, bareback bronc riding, calf roping, bullridingand more. The 2013 dates are 18 January thru 9 February.

Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame

Yesterday’s cowboys and cowgirls are recognized and remembered in the Texas Cowboy hall of Fame.

For more information on Fort Worth today, visit the city’s official site at


Jeanne Ruczhak-Eckman began writing in 1985, with her work appearing in several local newspapers. From 2003-2009, she spearheaded an online newspaper company, which had two newspapers, the PA Farm News and The latter covered everything from hometown heroes and new businesses to the Nickel Mines Shooting. She received her Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Lock Haven University, and was diagnosed with diabetes in 2009. Her interests include learning more about diabetes and how to deal with it, genealogy, history/travel, gaming and Orthodoxy. You may contact Jeanne with your comments and questions.

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Comments (3)

Interesting history. Thank you Jeanne. Voted.

With my son going to school in TX, I'm in the Dallas-Fort Worth area a great deal. Nice to learn a bit of the city's history through your article.

Thank you, Paulose & Graciela. Graciela - I've done a couple articles on cities in Texas, including Guide to Muncipal Resources in Fort Worth, TX ...