The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 34, July 1930 - April, 1931 Page: 1
VOL. XXXIV JULY, 1930 No. 1
The publication committee and the editors disclaim responsibility for views expressed by
contributors to THE QUARTERLY
THE PROBLEM OF MAINTAINING THE SOLID RANGE
ON THE SPUR RANCH
W. C. HOLDEN
This paper is a restricted study of the losing fight of the ranch-
man on the Texas Plains against the irresistible encroachment of
the "nester." The study is confined to the Spur and Matador
ranches, which lie chiefly in Dickens and Motley Counties, Texas,
and to the period of 1898 to 1905.
"Wagon loads of land prospectors are going in every direction
across the prairie. Land is the chief topic of conversation. Small
towns are springing up in all counties,"-so wrote the Texas ranch
manager of an English cattle syndicate in 1900 to the home office
in London. Dozens of other letters give graphic accounts of the
nervous hurrying hither and thither of hundreds of men, with
several weeks' growth of beard on their faces, all intent upon one
thing,-the finding of vacant land which they might purchase or
homestead from the state." For almost a decade, 1898-1905, the
subject about which men thought in the day and dreamed at night
was land. For almost three-quarters of a century previous to this
time land had been the most plentiful thing in Texas. There had
been sections and sections of land to be had almost for the ask-
ing-a small down payment, a life-time to make the rest of the
payments, a low rate of interest, and a man had a home and per-
haps a fine potential investment in land. However, as long as
state land was abundant, prospective buyers moved leisurely. If
Spur records, X, 220, 221, 228, 232. This account is based for the
most part upon the records of the Spur and Matador ranches. Both sets
of records are in the Library of Texas Technological College.
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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/m1/5/ocr/: accessed October 1, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.