The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 38, July 1934 - April, 1935 Page: 22
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22 Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Mass meetings in the western part of the state denounced both
bills, and pointed out the tremendous depreciation that would result
in ranges where the alternate sections were state-owned. Already
the depreciation in the values of cattle and land for Texas was esti-
mated at $100,000,000 by the Bureau of Animal Industry, one-
fifth of which was shown on the tax rolls."' It became evident
that no lands would be leased if they could not be fenced and
used exclusively by the person paying for them.
In spite of this apparently logical result, the cowmen feared the
Houston bill would pass, for by the first of February it was reported
out of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and was "claimed to be
the most perfect free grass measure . . . ever . .. intro-
duced." Many critics felt this would be detrimental to the settlers
and little men, expecting the big men to continue using the range
to the exclusion of others even if fences were removed. Yet con-
servative cowmen took no comfort from this, though the Austin
Statesman reminded its readers that,
It is to be remembered that Senator Houston is a free grasser,
pledged and elected by a free grass constituency in a free grass
district, and it does not require a microscopic view to detect the
hidden intent of his inclosure bill.38
The legislators, generally, however, seemed to see little "hidden
intent" until Goodnight, in his desire to defeat the measure, called
on his lawyers, Walton, Hill and Walton for help.
Knowing that if his fences were removed the Canadian drifts
of thousands of cattle would eat out his range every winter, Good-
night was in a terrible stew to see the bill killed. He appealed to
Buck Walton for action, and after some thought the old warrier
finally told him he knew of one man who could stop. it, but that he
was no cheap workman.
"Get the wires hot and get him here," snapped Goodnight, and
the next morning George Clark, "a big pussy man" from Waco, as
the cowman recalled, walked into the office. Walton explained the
situation and the cowman asked what he was going to charge for
"Five thousand dollars !"
"If you kill it, I'll pay you your price," came the crisp answer,
87The Gazette, January 16-20, February 4 and 7, 1887.
3"Issue of February 2, 1887.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 38, July 1934 - April, 1935, periodical, 1935; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117143/m1/30/: accessed March 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.