The Fort Worth Stockyards was the biggest stockyard in Texas and was one of the biggest in the United States. The Fort Worth Stockyards played a crucial role in the expansion of Texas and the west. Millions of cattle, cattle drivers, and cattle owners came through the Fort Worth Stockyards through its time.
Fort Worth originally was created by the United States Military in 1849 and served as an army post.1 The fort was part of the United States' military plan to have forts every 100 miles to protect the southern border. It was not until 1853 that the fort was vacated as troops were needed at the western border to help with western expansion.5 Before the United States abandoned the fort, a small community had grown near. With rich soil and protection from the army, many more citizens flocked to the area.2 In 1873, Fort Worth elected its first mayor and became an official city with a population of around 500 citizens.2 With Fort Worth being an official city and the railroad being built across Texas, Fort Worth wanted to acquire a railroad stop to help increase business. In 1876 the railroad arrived to Fort Worth which brought tons of business and increased the population. With Fort Worth starting to boom in population and use for cattle the Fort Worth Stockyards opened in 1890 under the name of the Union Stockyards.4 Although business was booming the Fort Worth Stockyards were decades away from its peak. In 1893 a wealthy man from Boston named Greenleif Simpson was invited to visit the stockyards in attempt to acquire an investment from him. Luckily for the stockyards the cattle had more cattle in the pens than usual due to railroad strikes and inclement weather. Simpson bought the stockyard and renamed it the Fort Worth Stockyards.4By the early 1900s the population of Fort Worth had quadrupled in size and the Fort Worth Stockyards were estimated to have had a million cattle sold per year.2
“By the 1930’s, hundreds of thousands of cattle were being processed at
the stockyards.” 6