The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 34, July 1930 - April, 1931 Page: 15
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Problem of Maintaining Solid Range on Spur Ranch 15
using to force all large cattle companies, especially foreign ones,
out of business.1
Ranchmen awaited election years with gloomy forebodings.
Their relations with official politicians were never to the ranch-
men's liking. They bolstered up their courage when the state
nominating conventions began to assemble, took up a collection
among themselves for bribe money, and sent their best diplomats
to push the candidacy of a "friendly candidate" for Land Com-
missioner. Horsbrugh was as able, upright, and honest a ranch
manager as could be found in Northwest Texas. In business deal-
ings he was scrupulously straight, but when he was forced into
politics, he knew the futility of speaking to politicians in any
language except the one they understood. Consequently, we find
him writing in July, 1898:
"The Democrat convention meets in Galveston in August. The
fight for election here is a real fight. We want to get a Land
Commissioner who is friendly to the cowmen, Groos. Each party
puts in a full ticket, but the state is overwhelmingly Democratic.
I am sending my personal check for $100 to pay for votes. The
uninstructed delegates are the gentry who need sweetening with a
certain amount of money. It is almost certain that the next legis-
lature will do away with the line defining territories within which
leases are leases (our best defense). Also there is a movement to
do away with [the settler's] giving the oath to live on the land
three years (a farce at best). . . . It is necessary to be on
friendly terms with the powers-that-be in Austin to get in on the
ground floor with filings. . . . Any candidate favoring cattle-
men and their interests is so remorselessly snowed under that if
any of them have any tender feelings toward the business, he
generally keeps it to himself."42
A few days later Horsbrugh commented:
"This is election year in this misguided state; but the Land
Commissioner is not offering himself for re-election, and may be
inclined to do what is right on that account and act independently,
but the chief clerk is announcing for the job and may be hustling
The ranchman's abhorrence of politicians did not prevent him
"1Spur Records, X, 211.
42Spur Records, VIII, 345.
"Spur Records, VIII, 306.
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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/m1/19/: accessed May 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.