The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 20, July 1916 - April, 1917 Page: 9
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History of the Cattle Industry in the Southwest 9
Mexico two companies organized for the purpose of enclosing
large tracts of public lands and keeping others out, but the cost
of fencing there made it largely prohibitive. Posts, thirty-three
feet apart, connected by three barbed wires, cost $110 per mile.
Fencing thus cost about $10 per head of stock kept on the en-
closed range.24 The Immigrants' Association of California
claimed that large proportions of government land in that state
were out of reach of immigrants because of encroachments of
Nor was fencing the only evil. The cattle kings boldly en-
tered the timbered districts and appropriated all the timber they
wished to construct their fences. Deputy Surveyor G. W. Fair-
childs complained of the destruction of valuable timber. He re-
ported: "There are acres after acres of bare stumps, which but
a short time ago were growing timber. There were thousands
of logs cut during last summer and hauled out of accessible
poirits to be used for fences, canals, landing chutes and houses in
Nebraska and Wyoming."26
Methods used to. intimidate settlers or small cattle owners were
notorious. Fences were placarded thus: "The who opens
this fence had better look out for his scalp." In Nebraska, Mr.
Fairchilds reported, settlers were notified they would be frozen
out by the cattle companies who forbade their employees to take
government land. In Wyoming the companies ordered settlers
who had built houses to move. A combination of companies
in Montana formed a monopoly and refused all others the right
of the "round up." They branded the stock of small owners
and literally drove them out of the field. One ranger had the
audacity to charge town people one dollar per month per head
for pasturing their cows.27
It is needless to say that small owners and settlers appealed
to the government. The land office gave its moral support to
the settlers, but moral support is hardly substantial on the fron-
tier. April 5, 1883, the Public Land Commissioner, N. C. Mc-
24Census Report, 1880, III, p. 999.
"Senate Ex. Doe., 48 Cong., 1 sess., no. 127, p. 26.
2"House Report, 48 Cong., 1 sess., no. 1325, p. 6.
"7Henate Ex. Doc., 48 Cong., 1 sess., no. 127, pp. 22-23.
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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/m1/15/: accessed April 28, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.