The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 51, July 1947 - April, 1948 Page: 5
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pletely surrounded by a fence, fifteen miles distant, with only
two gates. In Gonzales County, fences cut off post routes, leading
a United States district attorney in San Antonio to promise
prosecution of those who obstructed roads used in mail delivery.'
Even the ranchman who fenced only his own property was a
target for bitter epithets when-allowing his fenced land to re-
main ungrazed-he kept his herds on the common range until its
grass was gone, then moved them to his enclosed pastures. This
practice, while lawful, was a sure means of raising the blood
pressure of the landless cowman.x0
Smoldering resentment against fencing was touched into flame
by the 1883 drouth. Those who viewed barbed wire as an instru-
ment of the devil began to gather in small groups, muttering
and grumbling. When letters and telegrams to legislators and
the governor brought no action, men who opposed the fences
began to form their own plans. They banded in secret groups,
with passwords, spies, and messengers. They began making ex-
cuses to their wives for being out at night.
Soon the work of these saboteurs was the talk of the state.
Some ranchmen had their pastures burned; more found their
fences cut in the night, often with a warning against rebuilding.
At first, most of the fences cut were those which obstructed roads
or enclosed other persons' land. A man sent to repair the gov-
ernment telegraph line from Fort Griffin to Coleman had no
hesitation in cutting a fence he found in his way on Jim Ned
Creek near Camp Colorado. When an army captain and several
soldiers from Fort Elliott encountered a fence across a road in
Clay County, the captain had his men cut it despite the protests
and threats of the owner. Later he had the fence-builder con-
victed and fined in a district court."
Before long the cutting became widespread and less discrimi-
nate. Abel H. (Shanghai) Pierce, one of the cattle kings of the
coastal plains, who built a fence around about three leagues of
land, had every strand of wire cut.'2 On Tehuacana Creek, nine
olbid., September 17, 1883.
'OFort Worth Gazette, September 1, 1888.
"xHolt, "Introduction of Barbed Wire into ITexas and the Fence-Cutting War,"
West Texas Historical Association Year Book, VI (June, 1930), 65-79.
12Galveston News, September 11, 1883.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 51, July 1947 - April, 1948, periodical, 1948; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101119/m1/23/: accessed October 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.