The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 34, July 1930 - April, 1931 Page: 18
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The probability of the court's making adverse decisions preyed
continually upon Horsbrugh's mind, as it did on all other ranch-
men who were going through the anxiety of attempting to get
possession of the school lands within their pastures. Horsbrugh
wrote on June 4, 1902:
I consider the present trend of feeling, as evinced by the state
higher courts, to be in favor of destroying the [cattle] business
and breaking up the cattle ranches, so that settlements may re-
place them. Therefore, I fear that it may be held that though
lands leased from the state were given up, and settlements allowed
by the leasees, and those who settled and obtained the land were
the very kind of settler that it was intended should be benefited by
the land laws of the state; yet, because the land was not turned
loose publicly and scrambled for and fought over, and the adjoin-
ing tracts ruined so far as cattle raising is concerned, it was not
legal and will have to be worried over in the approved style."'49
A single decision of the Supreme Court in 1902 effected the status
of over 1,000,000 acres of school lands in the Slaughter pastures."
Ranchmen entered the struggle of gaining possession of school
lands primarily for one purpose, namely, the preservation of the
ranching industry. With every alternate section in their pastures
permanently in the hands of a settler the cattle business as a large
scale industry was doomed. Before the struggle for possession was
over, many cattlemen saw a new possibility in land aside from
cattle raising. A few railroads had built into the western part of
the state, and land values near the roads had risen from $1 to $10
an acre. This speculative possibility only whetted the more the
ranchman's desire for "solid pastures.'""
The outcome of the land scramble was slightly in favor of the
ranchmen. By Machiavellian methods they succeeded to a con-
siderable degree in getting their "solid pastures." The examples
of Horsbrugh's "vidder" who did not keep faith with the company,
and Gilmore's wife (the "bit of a wolf") who would not sign the
deed to the homestead, are both typical of hundreds of cases where
ranchmen were not successful. Eventually, however, the settler
"Spur Records, X, 543.
5OJ. E. Ketner vs. Charles Rogan, Commissioner, and C. C. Slaughter,
Tewas Reports, Vol. 95, p. 559; also Spur Records, X, 614.
"Spur Records, X, 626, 647.
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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/m1/22/: accessed May 20, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.