The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 38, July 1934 - April, 1935 Page: 24
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
And after all, what was the cowman's hope for a new lease on life.
G. A. Brown answered the question-a long lease on his range,
with a settled lease policy, and an absolute tenure for a long term
of years, and . . . a low rental, so as to justify the enclosure
of the lands, destroying of prairie dogs, the making of tanks,
digging of wells and erection of windmills thereon, I believe stock-
men will take new courage and that every section of school land in
the Panhandle could be leased.4"
Too many members of the Legislature thought the West would
settle immediately for the ten-year lease proposal to pass, but a
law was approved in April for five-year leases at four cents an acre.
A few days before Goodnight left Austin for the JA's, wiring Mrs.
Adair's agent on the way that the "session of the Legislature is
not yet ended but our lease Bill will pass. I have paid for it and
should know. .. .""2 The lease fight and the Willis impeach-
ment had cost him $20,000, he said. But we "upheld the honor of
The legislation was, no doubt, the saving grace for the dis-
tressed cattle interest, giving sufficient security to tide it over the
drouth and depression. But what did the "boomers," the news-
papers, the press of the Panhandle, think of it? According to the
Tascosa Pioneer "Ten newspapers are averring positively, with not
a dissenting voice, that the lease law is a blight on business, a
hindrance to settlement, and stands an immovable barrier across
the path of further development." The grand jury at Mobeetie
felt that "the lease law is a. disturbing element"; and the diatribes
in the Pioneer continued throughout the year. When a report
came that Goodnight's life was being written, the editor freely
expressed the views of the Tascosans who hated him:
It ought to make some decidedly interesting reading and furnish
some uncommonly juicy developments. It is presumed the frontis-
piece will show a distinguished looking baron in the middle of a
barbed wire empire. . . . Various "Notices to the public" will
be . . . in sight . . . warning all trespassers that this
dominion is held by right of a four cents per acre lease, and an
4Galveston News, January 31, 1887.
"Goodnight to Wm. McQuay, March 24, 1887. See also December 29,
1886; January 5, 1887, and July 15, 1887, Leiter Press, JA Ranch, Pan-
handle-Plains Historical Society. also Gammel's Laws of Texas, IX, 885.
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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/m1/32/: accessed July 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.