The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 52, July 1948 - April, 1949

THE SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
VOL. LII JULY, 1948 No. 1
Zexas ever
T. R. HAVINS
BEFORE the discovery of the cause of Texas fever among
cattle, the disease had varying designations among differ-
ent groups, depending largely upon the locality, and, to
a less extent, upon the persons interested in the disease. Among
the scientists who sought its cause such names as splenic fever,
splenetic fever, protozoan cattle fever, hemaglobinuria, and pal-
udism of cattle were the chief terms of designation. The occa-
sional Texas cattleman who observed the disease on his range
used Spanish fever, Mexican fever, acclimation fever, and, be-
cause of the symptoms of contracted muscles, dry skin, with hair
on end, and sunken eyes, murrain, covering a multitude of symp-
toms in the one word meaning a scourge. To the northern farmer,
standing helplessly by while his Shorthorns, Holsteins, and Jer-
seys died, it was Texas fever. Perhaps the most nearly correct
descriptive term would have been tick fever. In this paper, how-
ever, the term Texas fever will be used, since the story of its
ravages and the means by which such ravages were met are an
intimate part of the history of the cattle industry in Texas.'
It is not easy for one generation to reflect upon the problems
of the past and realize the importance of those problems. Texas
fever as a problem during the last thirty years of the past century
was both emotional and economic. It was emotional in that the
Texas longhorn, the purveyor of the fever, was held in low esteem
in the northern states. When he spread death across the Illinois
countryside, not only was he damned as an ill-shaped, worthless
monstrosity, but his owner or anyone else who spoke in his favor
1John R. Mohler, Texas or Tick Fever, United States Department of Agriculture,
Farmers' Bulletin, No. 569 (Washington, 1914).

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 52, July 1948 - April, 1949. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101121/. Accessed September 17, 2014.