The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947 Page: 242
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
apparent. To the rancher this task must have appeared as huge
as draining the Gulf of Mexico.
The pesky cedar, which grows on the average of eight to ten
feet in height, was a great handicap to the rancher and farmer.
Not even a hungry goat, which has a reputation for eating
anything, will touch the branches of a cedar tree. Cedar, how-
ever, makes excellent firewood and fence posts, but the demand
for these hardly came close to making a dent in the supply,
and as long as there was plenty of land, it did not seem to make
much difference about the cedar. But about the time of World
War I the need for more land for farming and ranching became
acute, so much so that the farmers and ranchers began a sys-
tematic eradication of the cedar. During the next twenty years
in Texas alone more than a million acres of brush land was
cleared of cedar and thus became more valuable for farming
and ranching purposes. In 1937 this pasture improvement
project was included as a ranch conservation practice in the
AAA program. Since that time almost 3,400,000 acres of cedar
trees and brush in Texas have been cleared. It is estimated
that from eight to ten million more acres of range land is
still infested with cedar which needs to be cut.s
In many respects the axe has in more recent times contributed
to the progress and development of a section of the United
States which heretofore had little need for the well-prized
implement that had played such an important role in the col-
onization of North America. It has contributed a major part
to the job of giving the landscape of the Southwest a face-
lifting. The axe at last has arrived in the Trans-Mississippi
West. Today if one should travel from Austin to El Paso, he
would notice a great change that has come over the country.
There are still millions of acres of cedar, but as one rides along
the highway in many sections of Texas, he can not help but
notice the miles and miles of barren hillsides and valleys from
which the cedar has been cleared.
The cedar eradication program was greatly accelerated as a
result of the invention of a new type of axe especially suited
for cutting cedar trees and cedar brush. The cedar axe is a
product of the Hill Country in Texas, where armies of cedar
choppers have been swinging away for over thirty years. It
was invented partly by accident and partly because of a real
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947, periodical, 1947; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101117/m1/287/: accessed May 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.