The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966

Southwestern Historical Quarterly

ing samples of barbed wire while working as a field geologist for
the Humble Oil and Refining Company. There have been more
than four hundred varieties of barbed wire, and McCallum found
a surprisingly large number of them. Then he and his wife be-
gan studying the history of the wire-the many independent in-
ventions, the litigation over patents, the battle for acceptance of
fencing on the ranges, and the effects of fencing on plains history.
The two tell in fascinating detail the dramatic story of barbed
wire. It began in Illinois in 1873, at the De Kalb County Fair.
There three local men-a lumberman, a hardware merchant, and
a farmer-saw together and discussed a barbed rail made by Henry
M. Rose to control his cow. Then the three went home and, in
a year, each had invented a variety of barbed wire for fencing.
All became wealthy from their inventions.
The story embraces the colorful "Bet-a-Million" Gates, who
convinced Texans of the virtues of barbed wire; and it includes
an account of the Texas fence-cutters' war of 1883 and the effects
of fencing in ending cattle trailing and in bringing farmers to
the arid plains. It also explains and illustrates with drawings
many of the principal varieties of barbed wire.
The authors cover their subject thoroughly and hold the read-
er's interest well. In so broad a field, it is understandable that
they should overlook a few important sources, such as the biog-
raphy of Jonathan Baldwin Turner (on bois d'arc hedges) and
Kelleher's outstanding book on violence in Lincoln County (on
Billy the Kid), or that they should place the near-extermination
of the buffalo thirteen years too early. Their book, factual and
readable, fills a gap in Great Plains history and gives added
meaning to the roadside fences viewed from speeding cars.
WAYNE GARD
Colonel Edward M. House: The Texas Years, 1858-1912. By Ru-
pert Norval Richardson. Abilene (Hardin-Simmons Univer-
sity Publications in History, Volume I), 1964. Pp. xi+344.
Bibliography, illustrations, index. $7.00.
Colonel Edward M. House continues to be (as does Woodrow
Wilson) a subject of considerable interest for historians and other
writers, and a number of publications relating to Colonel House
have come out as recently as the last two years. Alexander L.

258

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117144/. Accessed May 23, 2015.