The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 51, July 1947 - April, 1948 Page: 10
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
forth many fantastic proposals. An Albany paper reported that
one Texas solon
thinks seriously of presenting a bill in the Legislature to build a
Chinese Wall around Coleman County, put all the fence-cutters in-
side it, furnish them with wire and nippers, and tell them to wade
in. As the fence-cutters prefer to do their cutting at night, the plan
proposes stretching a great awning over the county, painting it black
to represent night, probably cutting holes in it to represent stars.
They would then be able to cut all the time, and they would abstain
from sleeping so long that they would die of sheer exhaustion. Our
friend thought the free state of Brown or Hamilton would be the
proper place but after careful study has decided that Coleman Coun-
ty is the best locality.26
In a few instances, conciliatory methods brought peace locally
between the warring factions. At Gonzales, Doc Burnet found
some of his neighbors' cattle standing at the gate of his pasture,
looking longingly at the water within. He opened the gate and
let them in, then invited his neighbors to bring their herds to
his water and offered to roll up his fence until the drouth ended.
His fence was not molested. At Henrietta five spokesmen named
by the wire-cutters met with Clay County ranchmen. The two
groups amicably reached an agreement by which fences were
removed from across public roads and from land not owned or
leased by the fence-builders, gates were provided for the farmers'
use, and wire-cutting was ended.27
In most localities, however, factional antagonisms were too
strongly aroused for peaceful discussion. Destruction went on
through the fall. No compilation of the total damage was made,
but one estimate placed the loss from destroyed fences at twenty
million dollars. The Fort Worth Gazette declared that tax valu-
ations had declined by more than thirty million dollars as a
result of the fence troubles."2 Property losses in Brown County
alone were said to exceed a million dollars.29 Prospective settlers
were scared away from Texas, and some of the small farmers who
had recently come sold out and left. One legislator feared that
2oAlbany Echo, December 15, 1883.
27Galveston News, September 4, 26, 1883; Fort Worth Gazette, September 9, 1883.
2SFort Worth Gazette, February 8, 1884.
29Galveston News, January 11, 1884.
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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/m1/28/: accessed November 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.