The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941 Page: 45
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The Co6perative Movement in Texas, 1870-1900
drouth.9" The Farmers' Alliance, a semi-political order which
had sprung up in West Texas and was spreading eastward,
attracted more farmers than the Grange had, won over a num-
ber of Grangers, and adopted a credit plan of business which
appeared to the farmers to suit their needs better than the cash
system of the Rochdale Plan. The members of a sub-Alliance
made joint notes to cover the amount of supplies thought to be
necessary for the year. They then gave mortgages on their
crops, live stock, and wagons as security. After an examination
as to the worth of the notes, the Alliance masters used them at
the banks to obtain capital to make purchases.'o Needless to
say, many Patrons lacking ready cash abandoned their stores
and took up the new system. From Comanche and other western
counties, where the Alliance was strong, reports were heard
that the stockholders in many councils had become so dissatis-
fied with the Rochdale Plan that they were dissolving their
associations and re-entering business on the Alliance scheme.
The drouth of 1886 continued through 1887 and 1888. Numer-
ous reports came from West Texas that Patrons were selling
their stores, abandoning their Granges and homes, and moving
eastward.5' J. T. Clayton, agent of a once-prosperous store in
the edge of the drouth-stricken area at Buffalo, wrote in the fall
of 1887-and his letter is typical of those of many other man-
agers at this time-that he did not see any chance of reviving
the cooperative there. Farmers could not pay their obligations
to it, and, when they had cash for current purchases, they were
ashamed to come into the store and trade because of the debt
hanging over them.52
Secretary Rose in 1891 sent questionnaires to Patrons asking
the causes for the failure of cooperatives. Among the answers
received was mentioned the failure of the managers to keep a
sufficient assortment of merchandise to satisfy all of a customer's
needs. The agents in some cases were too slow and cautious to
be good business men, but most of them attributed their failure
45J. M. Spain to Rose, August 19, 1886, Rogers to Rose, October 25, 1886,
'0Rose to Rev. Jno. Trimble, September 17, 1880, Rose Letter Book;
C. W. Macune, "The Farmers Alliance," pp. 10, 29-34, a typed paper in
Archives of The University of Texas.
"S. W. Farmers to Rose, August 24, 1887, C. C. Steward to Rose, N. G.
Jackson to Rose, September 15, 1887, Rose Papers.
-J. T. Clayton to Rose, November 13, 1887, Rose Papers.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941, periodical, 1941; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146052/m1/53/: accessed June 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.