The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 34, July 1930 - April, 1931 Page: 10
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
caused them to seek for divers methods of defeating public policy
at this point. A few of the more unscrupulous native cattlemen
and cattle corporations did not hesitate to use freebooting methods.
Although the land laws expressly prohibited collusion, they re-
linquished their leases on school lands and had their cowboys file
on four sections each. Each cowboy designated one of his four
sections as his homestead and built on it a small, cheap shack (at
the ranchman's expense) in which he spent a few nights a year
when it was convenient. At the end of three years the cowboys
used each other "to prove up" on the land. As soon as they re-
ceived titles from the state they transferred the lands to their
employer.27 A ranchman with twenty-five to fifty cowboys in his
employ stood a fair chance of making considerable headway in
acquiring school lands by this method.
Other ranchmen with more ethics relied upon a less effective
plan for securing the school lands in their pastures. They made
no effort to obstruct settlers in homesteading the lands. After
the settlers had lived out their claims and secured titles, the ranch-
man would abide his time until a drouth caused the settlers to
want to sell their places and leave the country. Sooner or later
most of the settlers could be prevailed upon to sell. This method
was slower, more expensive and less efficient than the one above.28
Some of the ranches having school lands within their ranges
were owned by foreign syndicates. Public opinion was opposed to
foreign companies, and the laws of the state denied some of them
the privileges that native individuals and companies enjoyed. The
result was that foreign companies had to resort to more circuitous
and subtle plans of getting ultimate possession of school lands.
Manager Horsbrugh of the Spur Ranch devised the plan of giving
up the leased school lands to "friendly nesters," allowing them to
file on the lands, and then re-leasing the lands from the settler.
The settler lived on one of his sections, and was given employment
by the ranch. The company operated a store on the ranch at
which the settler was allowed to run an account up to the amount
due on his leases annually by the company. The company also
advanced money to the settler to pay the interest due the state on
the lands. After the settler had lived out his time and secured
title to his sections, he was usually so obligated to the company
7"White to Holden, February 26, 1930.
"'Corder to Holden, August 30, 1926.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 34, July 1930 - April, 1931, periodical, 1931; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101091/m1/14/: accessed May 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.