The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 51, July 1947 - April, 1948 Page: 9
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band of fence-cutters and induced them to return home peace-
ably. In De Witt County the owners of a large ranch persuaded
three Rangers to leave the service and guard their pasture.
Though gunfire marked many skirmishes between fence-owners
and cutters, only three men were reported killed.
Sheep ranchers who had fenced their land suffered as heavily,
proportionately, from wire-cutting as did the cattlemen, if not
more so. In Tom Green County, C. B. Metcalfe had completed
the first four miles of fence on his ten-thousand-acre Arden
ranch on the Middle Concho when every span of wire was cut
by men from a near-by cow outfit. After rebuilding the fence,
Metcalfe went to town with a shotgun and sought out the respon-
sible cowman. What he said must have been effective, for his
fence was not again molested. In Coleman County a sheepman
found his fence cut for miles, on both sides of each post. When
he was having the fence repaired, a coffin was left on his porch
one night, with a note that said: "This will be your end if you
keep fencing." He used the coffin as a water trough-and kept
on fencing.24 Another Coleman County sheepman, Horace B.
Starkweather, had his wire cut and two thousand cedar posts
burned, along with his sheepfolds and herders' homes. When
he rebuilt the fence, it was cut again and scabby sheep were
turned into his flock, forcing him to dip eight thousand head.
Soon, the fence-cutters had a reputation outside Texas. When
Starkweather went to Chicago to borrow money on his ranch,
he was confronted with big headlines in the Windy City's news-
HELL BREAKS LOOSE IN TEXASI
500 Miles of Fence
In Coleman County
Without getting his loan, he took the next train home, where he
found so much trouble that he later had to sell his ranch.25
Serious as was the wire-snipping mania to the victimized ranch-
man, it often was a subject of levity among others and brought
24Roy Holt, "The Woes of a Pioneer Texas Sheepman," Sheep and Goat Raiser,
25Harry Hubert in Semi-Weekly Farm News, April 4, 1924.
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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/m1/27/: accessed July 25, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.