The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 73, July 1969 - April, 1970 Page: 572
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
Southwestern Historical Quarterly
what effects. Utilizing all relevant historical data-ranging from records
of the early Spanish entradas and mission settlements to later livestock
censuses, newspaper accounts, and heretofore unpublished sources (the
Walter Meek letters, 1887-1888, included as an appendix) -the au-
thor broadly and thoroughly documents his conclusions, often pro-
viding the visual evidence of historic photographs. Regrettably the
remainder of this review will reflect his leading thesis, a timely one,
at the expense of the excellent regional history of sheep-raising he
An eminent southwestern ecologist, Lehmann is wildlife manager
for the King Ranch. He wrote this study in an office surrounded by a
lawnlike pasture on which descendants of Old Sorrel, the ranch's
foundation stallion, graze and play. Like these specially bred horses,
the pasture that supports them is man-improved. The soil has been
enriched, the grasses and bordering hedges planted, the water pumped.
The result is a stockman's dream and a credit to man's presence on
But how much of the arid Rio Grande Plain, Lehmann asks, is
capable of substantial face-lifting without serious ecological disturb-
ance? Today millions of dollars are being spent on brush clearance
and root plowing in South Texas. Pressured by market requirements
that call for large populations of nutrient-demanding mother cows,
and encouraged by heavy-equipment interests who offer massive gov-
ernment-subsidized range-development programs, South Texas stock-
men are bent on a new and industrialized quest for grass. Regional
wildlife may suffer drastically as a consequence, and in the balance of
time, which heeds a balance in Nature, stockmen may suffer.
Most of the Rio Grande Plain was never top quality cattle country,
Lehmann argues, and cannot be made so with current technology.
Contrary to romantic belief, there is no sound evidence of a sustained
period of "former abundance" before 1865, when South Texas long-
horns and mustangs proliferated in truly immense numbers. The evi-
dence, rather, shows that sheep (indicative of marginal grazing con-
ditions) predominated in much of the Rio Grande Plain even during
the dramatic-but numerically unimpressive-exodus of cattle to north-
ern markets in the 187o's and 188o's.
In x882 there were over two million sheep in the region, as against
728,247 cattle (Spaight survey). Shortly after the turn of the century,
Here’s what’s next.
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 73, July 1969 - April, 1970, periodical, 1970; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117147/m1/618/: accessed June 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.