Cattle Ranges of the Southwest Page: 6 of 32
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(6) An annual rainfall of about 20 to 35 inches, the average being
about 30 inches, so distributed through the year that it suffices for range
purposes, but periodically not quite enough for the best results in
(7) A temperature ranging from 900 to 102 down to 7 F.
(8) A rich alluvial soil in most of the valleys, while on the uplands
there are loams generally containing a large admixture of calcareous
marls, varying in color from a light gray tllrough all the intermediate
colors, chocolate, mlulatto, red, and brown, to black, all productive and
susceptible of high cultivation, and especially rich in all the essentials
for the production of tle cereals aridi grasses.
(9) A great variety of native fWae plants and rich grasses.
Stonewall, Nolan, Mitchell, McCulloch, Coke, San Saba, and Taylor
counties, by their mountains, level plains, and rolling prairies present a
greater (liversity of surface than the others. In Taylor County there
are elevations of considerable altitude, one mountain range extending
through it from southeast to northwest, the highest point being 519 feet
above the surrounding plains. In Throckmlorton, Stephens, Shackelford,
Callahan, Runnels, Coleman, and Tom Green counties there are
some broken areas. In the other teln counties named there are comparatively
few hills and practically no mountains; the prevailing characteristic
topography being the rolling or undulating prairies. In all
of these counties where there are neither mountains nor hills, the gelneral
surface is gently undulating, except in the immediate vicinity of
the streams, where it is rough and sometimes cut up by canyons.
EARLY CONDITION OF THE RANGES.
In 1865 large herds of buffaloes ranged almost undisturbed over this
part of central Texas, and as late as 1876-77 small herds found their
way in, to be quickly killed off by liunters and the pioneer stockmen.
By that time herds of cattle and flocks of sheep had been located along
the various water courses, but it was not until about 1883, when the
Texas and Pacific Railroad first entered the section, that there was anything
like systematic settlement of the country. Passing through
parts of it in 1879, ranches were only to be found at long intervals.
Ranchmen who located in Taylor and Jones counties about 1876 state
that there were then scarcely 200 people in the two counties. All of
these were engaged in stock raising, and had been attracted to the country
by the abundance and luxuriance of the native grasses. It is interesting
to late comers to listen to the description of the range as it then
appeared. One can form but a poor idea of what this country was
like twenty-five years ago, from its present appearance.
A stockman who traveled with a herd of cattle through San Saba,
Tom Green, and Taylor counties in the summer of 1867, when that
country was very sparsely settled, says that the grass was everywhere
from 1 to 3 feet high, and that sometimes it was as high as a cow's
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