controlled territory. With his neighbor, John Durkee, he sent the first herd of Texas longhorns to a Northern market in 1858, all the way to Illinois. The venture was a financial success, and he began trading for more cattle, building another herd for the trail.

Others followed his lead and drove herds northward, marking the dawning of the Golden Age of the Texas Cattle Drive. New trails were born with names like Chisholm, Shawnee and Western Trails. Always an innovator, Oliver came up with another idea - word of the Colorado gold strike had spread, the Pike's Peak area was booming, and no one had reached that market.

In 1860, with John Dawson acting as partner and guide, he drove a thousand steers to Denver - the first herd of Texas longhorn cattle to reach Colorado. The herd was moved north out of Texas up to the old, well-traveled Santa Fe Trail, then west along the Santa Fe, most likely to Bent's Fort in southern Colorado, then north. When Oliver arrived with the herd in Denver, the town was in its infancy, wild and overrun with the gold fever. He stayed for some months peddling out the herd, but there was chaos afoot in this wild mining region, populated almost exclusively by men and guns.

There was another kind of fever in Denver in the winter of 1860-61 - Union fever. The area was controlled by Loyalists to the North, and there had already been several skirmishes between Yank and Rebel groups. The Yank groups had won out and Rebel sympathizers were killed or jailed. Groups of Union men patrolled the region, nervous about a Rebel takeover. Southern states had already begun to secede from the Union at that time, and the lines were drawn; war was close at hand.

Oliver Loving was jailed for being a 'damned Secessionist' and it looked as though he may remain incarcerated for the duration of the Civil War. It was only through the loyalty and intercession of his friend, Kit Carson, that Loving was sprung. He immediately hit the back trail and hightailed it back to Texas.

Oliver Loving made it back to Texas in the summer of 1861 and spent the war years supplying beeves to Confederate forces. The sales from these contracts would have made him a wealthy man, but as the winds of war turned, he found himself holding a reported $150,000 worth of