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Abilene is situated on the historic Chisholm Trail and was founded in 1881 as a cattle-shipping point on the Texas and Pacific Railway. The T&P had bypassed the town of Buffalo Gap, which felt that having a railroad pass through their town was important to its growth. So, Buffalo Gap started advertising itself as "The End of The Chisholm Trail", because shipping facilities were better there than at Abilene. Residents of Abilene then decided to name their town after Abiel Abbott (1804–1889), who was one of two men who owned land adjacent to where they wanted to build the new city; he donated land for many civic buildings in exchange for being named postmaster when it opened in 1885.