The Southwester Historical Quarterly
HISTORY OF THE CATTLE INDUSTRY IN THE SOUTH-
CLARA M. LOVE
I. THE SPANISH AND MEXICAN PERIOD
The cattle industry of the United States has always been a
frontier activity. In early days it throve wherever pastures were
luxuriant. However, the settler has followed the grazer closely
and has utilized the better land for agriculture, and only such
lands as have proved too rugged, too alkaline, or too arid either
for dry farming or agriculture, remain the seat of the grazing
industry. West of the hundredth meridian are vast stretches of
land of which the chief fault is aridity. To be sure, it is crossed
by rivers fed by mountain snows, but they are small and far apart
and some are lost in the sand. In many places water in small
quantities may be secured by wells.
This region is not exactly a desert, for nature has supplied it
with various kinds of native grasses and several other varieties
of plants, more or less nutritious. The grasses which usually have
high nutritive coefficients are most important and are peculiarly
adapted to the needs of the stock grower. They spring up in the
fall, and mature before frost. Thus a supply of winter forage
stands in the pasture, while grasses in the region of plentiful
rainfall remain green till frosted, when they become woody fiber
unfit for food animals.2
The climate varies in the western part of the United States,
but on the whole is quite well adapted to the needs of the grazer.
The southern frontier is semi-tropical and the coast mild, but the
interior uplands have short summers and long, severe winters.
The cold is mitigated in many places by high sheltering cliffs
1This paper was prepared in the seminar of Professor Bolton, at the
University of California. It is not my intention in this article to present
an exhaustive study of the history of the cattle industry in the south-
western part of the United States, but simply to summarize the chief
features in the development of that industry.
2House Misc. Does., 48 Cong., 2 sess., II, no. 36, p. 294; United States
Department of Agriculture, Farmers' Bulletin no. 27, pp. 22-27.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 19, July 1915 - April, 1916. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101067/. Accessed December 28, 2014.