Network maintenance July 27th between 7:30AM and 8:00AM CDT may cause service disruptions.

The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991 Page: 37

This periodical is part of the collection entitled: Southwestern Historical Quarterly and was provided to The Portal to Texas History by the Texas State Historical Association.

View a full description of this periodical.

The Fight Against the Pink Bollworm in Texas
TRUMAN MCMAHAN *
ISCOVERY OF A WORM LESS THAN A HALF-INCH LONG AND TINGED
with pink at Hearne, Texas on September 3, 1917, caused an up-
roar in Texas that peaked in the early 192os and then subsided over the
next two decades. The worm was the pink bollworm of cotton (Pec-
tinophora gossypiella Saunders), and in the first three or four years after
it was discovered in a small cotton patch, it stimulated several special
sessions of the Texas legislature, aroused concern in the United States
Congress, and sparked some farmers to open rebellion. The pest's dis-
covery brought Texas, the United States, and politically unstable Mex-
ico into close cooperation and, paradoxically, created discord between
farmers and zealous officials fighting the worm.
This is the story of that divisive fight and that admirable cooperation.
It details the first few years of the controversy when officials in the
United States and Texas agricultural departments believed that the
pink bollworm could be eradicated and that, if it wasn't, it would mean
certain ruin for cotton farmers on whom the entire economy of the
South depended. According to Perry L. Adkisson, chancellor of Texas
A&M University and a leading entomologist of the state, the eradi-
cation attempt, abrasive in its earliest years, finally evolved into the
present cultural control program in which the pink bollworm is no
longer considered a serious pest.' Even as laborers destroyed cotton
where the pink bollworm was found-under the supervision of federal
and state officials-the little worm continued its advance until even-
tually it had infested most or all cotton-producing counties in the state.
Today few sharecroppers farm cotton in Texas, and production has
*'Truman McMahan is a retired newspaperman and free-lance writer He has worked for the
Austin Amencan Statesman, the Houston Post, and the San Antonio Evening News, and for the
Texas Department of Agriculture. For twenty-five years he and his wife Lila owned and pub-
lished The Colorado County Citzzen, a weekly newspaper, in Columbus, T'exas.
'"Agricultural Oral History Interview with Pern y L. Adkisson," directed by Ii vin M May, Jr.,
transcript (Archives, 'lexas A&M University Library, College Station), lo.

Upcoming Pages

Here’s what’s next.

62 of 781
63 of 781
64 of 781
65 of 781

Show all pages in this issue.

This issue can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.

Citing and Sharing

Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.

Reference the current page of this Periodical.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991, periodical, 1991; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101214/m1/61/ocr/: accessed July 27, 2016), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.