The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 20, July 1916 - April, 1917 Page: 8
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The Southwestern Historical Quarterly
up the water fronts. Those who came later sometimes wedged
themselves to the water front. As more cowmen and settlers
came, the firstcomers who had grown rich and strong on public
land, felt their rights intruded upon. They felt that a given lot
of land was "their range," and that late comers were intruders.
They determined upon methods of self-preservation. They would
gain title to the land, at least to the portion necessary to settlers
or other ranges. Homesteads along the water fronts were ob-
tained frequently by the cowboys who turned them over to their
employers. Frauds of various kinds were practiced.
The defiance of public rights increased directly with the num-
ber of settlers. The settler took his claim and intended to lead
a quiet, agricultural life. But he frequently found that the road
to the distant village had been impeded by a fence, and he was
lucky if his trip was made less than ten miles longer. Again
he might find even his homestead enclosed in some immense
ranch. In brief, the cattlemen selected the ranges which they
chose and fenced them without title to one foot of ground.
Wire cutting followed, and war on the ranges ensued. The reck-
less disregard of public rights was not the work of a few small
owners, but of those rightly termed cattle kings. Lives of set-
tlers were endangered and many were lost.21
In western Nebraska the large cattle ranges enclosed hundreds
of acres of government land with barbed wire fences. In 1883
postal service was reported cut off by these fences in certain dis-
tricts.22 One such ranch was the Brighton Ranch. In Kansas
entire counties were fenced. In Colorado a, Scotch company,
the Prairie Cattle Company, had fenced about a million acres.
Numerous other companies and individual owners had fenced
large tracts of land. In the Dakotas the Marquis de Morales
fenced large areas, and in Wyoming the Carlisle Cattle Com-
pany (English) along with more than one hundred other com-
panies fenced large areas. Not only was the general public do-
main fenced, but land set aside for school purposes as well.23
In Nevada there was an attempt to fence pasture lands. This
meant starvation to Indians who lived by raising cattle. In New
2House Ex. Does., 48 Cong., 1 sess., no. 119.
23Senate Fx. Doec., 48 Cong., 1 sess., no. 127.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 20, July 1916 - April, 1917, periodical, 1917; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101070/m1/14/: accessed July 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.