The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953 Page: 55
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The Passing of the Longhorn
Within the last few years hundreds of young short-horn bulls have
been purchased in Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, and Illinois, and
taken to Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, and California for improve-
ment of Spanish-descended herds there.,6
This knowledge was not enough. There were more than four
million cattle in Texas in 1875. To have crossed every Texas cow
with a blooded sire would have required at least fifty thousand
bulls. Texans did not buy bulls in such quantities. The Longhorn
did not lose his horns in a day.
One important factor in postponing the importation of blooded
animals into Texas was the presence of Texas fever in nearly all
sections of the state. The fever tick was indigenous to all of
Texas except that portion north and west of a line running from
the middle of the Big Bend of the Rio Grande to a point on Red
River some sixty miles east of the eastern line of the Panhandle.7
Being treeless, this section of Texas harbored no ticks. East and
south of this line ticks lived in abundance and attached them-
selves to cattle and horses in incredible numbers. To have brought
unimmunized cattle into the infested sections would have been
to invite financial loss. Plainly, the Texas stockman had two
alternatives. He could risk the animal's contracting Texas fever
and recovering, or after 1887, he could inoculate the animal with
blood from a native Longhorn that carried ticks. Immunization
by inoculation was not always successful. Many inoculated ani-
mals died. A letter of inquiry from the secretary of agriculture
that went to Texas stockmen in April, 1885, reveals that Texans
were reluctant to buy high-priced bulls and risk loss by death
from Texas fever. Replies to the letter indicated that bulls had
been bought from sections north of the southern line of Kansas
in but thirty-two Texas counties. 18
The stockmen of the tick-infested sections used grade bulls
for improving their herds. Most of these were at least three-
quarters pure blood and could be bought for less than one-half
of the price of a registered bull. Such animals were used almost
exclusively before 1883. The value of this infusion of new blood
17Havins, "Texas Fever," Quarterly, LII, 15ff.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953, periodical, 1953; Austin, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101145/m1/73/: accessed April 23, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.