The Handbook of Texas is free-to-use thanks to the support of readers like you. Support the Handbook today.

Font size: A / A reset

Withers, Marcus Allen [Mark] (1846–1937)

Zona A. Withers Biography

Marcus Allen (Mark) Withers, trail driver, the son of Hugh and Mary Jane (Goodrich) Withers, was born on September 23, 1846, in Paris, Monroe County, Missouri, the ninth of his father's eleven children with three wives. When he was six, Mark came to Caldwell County, Texas, with his father and stepmother, Eliza (Bridgeford), and eight brothers and sisters. He was proud of the fact that he rode horseback all the way. Mark made his first trail drive to Johnson City, Texas, at age thirteen. His second trip, in 1862, was to Shreveport, Louisiana. Upon his return to Lockhart, he joined the Confederate Army and served to the end of the war in Company I, Thirty-sixth Texas Cavalry. In 1867 Mark went as a trail hand with a herd to Illinois. On April 1, 1868, he began trail driving for himself and his family. The drive ended in Abilene, Kansas, on July 1, 1868. Joseph G. McCoy was attempting to establish Abilene as a cattle market for the Northeast. In the summer of 1868 Withers was one of four Texans and three California vaqueros chosen by McCoy to rope buffalo and load them on a train to be paraded across country to advertise cattle sales in Kansas. A picture of the loading of the buffalo has been published in many books and papers. Withers went along on the trip, and buffalo were roped again in St. Louis and Chicago, in the country's first "Wild West Show." Withers continued his annual trail drives until 1887, trailing into eleven western states. Some years he had a half-dozen or so herds on the trail at the same time, as many as 15,000 cattle. In the beginning, cattle were bought on credit and sold for cash. When they had to be bought for cash and sold on credit, he quit the trail. He formed various ranching partnerships and established a series of feeding pens around the state, but none were as successful as his trail drives. On January 22, 1869, Withers married Annie Wayland. They had five children. Annie died in 1880. On December 26, 1888, he married Mattie Rebecca Bagley, and they had three children. Withers died at his ranch home, west of Lockhart, on June 9, 1937, and is buried in the Lockhart City Cemetery.

J. Frank Dobie, Up the Trail from Texas (New York: Random House, 1955). J. Marvin Hunter, Trail Drivers of Texas (2 vols., San Antonio: Jackson Printing, 1920, 1923; 4th ed., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1985).


  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Trail Drivers and Riders

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Zona A. Withers, “Withers, Marcus Allen [Mark],” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed September 27, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.