The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 33, July 1929 - April, 1930 Page: 82
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Farwell. It was this company which built the capitol in return
for the three million acres of land dedicated to that purpose by
the Constitution, and it is the history of the administration of
the land which this book relates. No doubt there were tedious,
monotonous intervals in the lives of the men who handled the
lands, but there is not a dull paragraph in the book. It is a
valuable and altogether delightful contribution to the literature
of the cowboys, the ranch, the plains, and the irresistible advance
of the agricultural frontier.
"The original estimate of the cost of the capitol was a million
and a half, but the actual cost made the 3,000,000 acres of land
come to practically a dollar and seven cents an acre, about twice
as much as the State had been offered in competitive bidding for
the best watered and choicest part of the 3,050,000 acres set aside
for building the capitol, and four times the price at which un-
watered lands were selling." The company "had at first intended
to colonize its lands," but the time was not ripe for that, so the
ranch was established to await the coming of the farmer. "To
fence three millions of acres, to provide watering facilities for
cattle where little live water existed, to build houses and barns
and to buy thousands and thousands of cattle required much
money." To obtain the necessary money John V. Farwell organ-
ized a company in England and sold bonds. "The first debenture
issue reached 1,000,000 pounds sterling." This was in 1885. In
1909 the Farwells completed the redemption of the bonds and the
foreign company went out of existence.
"When the X I T began to stock its ranges, Tascosa was the
only town in the western Panhandle. All supplies . . . were
freighted in over trails from Springer, New Mexico, and Dodge
City, Kansas. Bull teams and mule teams 'leaned against' heavy
loads along the 242-mile rutted course that joined Tascosa and
Dodge. Mexican bull drivers, to whom a shuck-rolled cigarette
was comfort and coffee with sugar a great luxury, patiently drove
this trail. . . . The other trail led to the nearest railroad
point, Springer, 176 miles away. Therefore, the Tascosa mer-
chants explained that it was the high freight rate alone that caused
ordinary sewing needles to sell for ten cents each." It was over
these trails that barbed wire was brought to fence the ranch. "By
the fall of 1886 the syndicate had contracted and put up 7811
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 33, July 1929 - April, 1930, periodical, 1930; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101090/m1/90/: accessed June 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.