The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

White's biography reads like a novel in some places, particularly at
the beginning of the prologue, which easily hooks a reader: "It was
nearly dark when the locomotive pulled into the little town of Stanton.
Already lights shone from the coach-car windows, and the evening star
sparkled in a red-orange sky. Another day on the West Texas plains was
ending. In the light of the depot stood a single figure-silent, mo-
tionless-staring at the train" (p. 3)-
Though it reads like a piece of Western fiction, White offers five foot-
notes to show the passage has its basis in fact. Actually, Oxsheer's story
would not make bad fiction. He grew up on a cotton farm in Milam
County. After the Civil War, Oxsheer, at nineteen, became the head of
the family. With the Texas cotton market in a shambles, along with the
rest of the state's economy, Oxsheer teamed up with others to push
longhorns up the trail to Kansas. He used his profits to buy more cattle.
After a stint as sheriff of Robertson County, during which time he
cleaned up the rowdy railroad town of Calvert, Oxsheer moved his
family west to Colorado City. He accumulated several hundred thou-
sand acres of cheap rangeland (in addition to a large holding in Mex-
ico) and became an important figure in the development of Texas ranch-
ing, pioneering the breeding of longhorns to Hereford stock. But by
the time of his death in 1931, Oxsheer's one-time cattle empire was in
ruins, ravaged by the economic forces of the Great Depression.
Though for some reason Oxsheer did not become as well known as
many of his contemporaries, his family fortunately preserved a cache
of materials that was invaluable to White in the preparation of his book.
This family archive, combined with White's writing style, results in a
significant addition to the bibliography of the Texas cattle industry.
Austzn MIKE COX
Closing the Frontzer: Radical Response zn Oklahoma, 1889-1923. By John
Thompson. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1986.
Pp. xiii +262. Preface, introduction, maps, photographs, notes,
bibliography, index. $18.95.)
The presence of strong strains of populism, socialism, and farmer-
labor radicalism in Oklahoma has long attracted the interest of histo-
rians, and there have been numerous studies of these elements in the
turbulent political history of the Sooner State. John Thompson argues
that students of radical politics in Oklahoma have not understood the
significance of the geographical and cultural differences between the

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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 91, July 1987 - April, 1988. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101211/. Accessed April 17, 2014.