Texas Woollybacks: The Range Sheep and Goat Industry

Texas Woollybacks: The Range Sheep and Goat Industry

Texas Woollybacks: The Range Sheep and Goat Industry

Texas Woollybacks: The Range Sheep and Goat Industry

Synopsis

With a new epilogue to carry the story to the present, Paul Carlson engagingly chronicles the development of the range sheep and goat industry from Spanish times to about 1930, when widespread use of mesh-wire fences brought an end to the open-range management of sheep and goat ranches in Texas.

“This well-written and thoroughly researched book will invariably be appreciated by those individuals interested in southwestern and agricultural history.”—Journal of American History

“This volume is impressive in the array and quality of information presented concerning the sheep and goat industry in Texas.”—Western Historical Quarterly

“. . . a comprehensive, well-organized, and easily read treatment of a subject comparatively neglected by historians of the American livestock industry."—Great Plains Quarterly

“. . . employs a down-to-earth yet scholarly approach to give us a highly readable, very informative book on a neglected subject . . . accuracy, insight, and readability make Texas Woollybacks an excellent book.”—Southwest Chronicle

PAUL H. CARLSON is professor emeritus of history, Texas Tech University, and retired director of the Texas Tech University Center for the Southwest. He resides in Ransom Canyon, Texas

What Readers Are Saying:

“This well-written and thoroughly researched book will invariably be appreciated by those individuals interested in southwestern and agricultural history.”—Journal of American History

“This volume is impressive in the array and quality of information presented concerning the sheep and goat industry in Texas.”—Western Historical Quarterly

“. . . the first comprehensive history of the Texas range sheep and goat industry.” —Livestock Weekly

“. . . employs a down-to-earth yet scholarly approach to give us a highly readable, very informative book on a neglected subject . . . accuracy, insight, and readability make Texas Woollybacks an excellent book.”—Southwest Chronicle

“. . . agricultural historians will appreciate this study of a major farm industry. Western historians will find that it contributes to a better understanding of the settlement and development of the frontier.”—Journal of the West

“. . . a comprehensive, well-organized, and easily read treatment of a subject comparatively neglected by historians of the American livestock industry.”—Great Plains Quarterly

“Not only agricultural historians but those interested in the broader settlement and development of Texas will find this book entertaining and a sometimes surprising look at one of the lesser known aspects of Texas history.”—Colorado Prospector

“If sheep and goats are your bag, then this is your book. It says much about the industry in general but the real focus is on Texas and its long dominant position, unique history and traditions. This is largely a social history with lots of detail of people and events.”—Books of the Southwest

“Change, evolution, metamorphosis . . . these are the key words to describe the sheep and wool industry in Texas . . . Paul Carlson’s well researched book unerringly documents these continuous changes and the reasons behind them.”—Texas Humanist

Excerpt

The sheep and goat industry in Texas is an old and honorable business. Although it lacks some of the majestic qualities of the cattle and oil industries, it has nevertheless been an economically and socially important enterprise that has proven to be a staple business in Texas since the time Spaniards first settled the state.

Because for many years they considered woollybacks (a popular name for sheep in the 19th century) ignoble, silly, and smelly, Anglo Texans left sheep raising to immigrants, including Englishmen, Basques, Mexicans, Germans, and others. But when it became apparent that wool growing was profitable, farmers and ranchers did not hesitate to enter the business. a boom followed, and wool growing spread rapidly to all parts of the state. Livestockmen soon discovered that there is some truth in the Texas adage: “You raise cattle for prestige, you raise sheep for money.”

Work on this book started several years ago when R. Sylvan Dunn, former director of the Southwest Collection at Texas Tech University, suggested that I investigate the sheep and wool industry. I found the subject interesting and largely unexplored. My study produced several articles published in regional histories and a short manuscript for the Food and Fiber National Institute of Achievement. When I decided to broaden my research to include the entire scope of the sheep and goat industry of Texas, my project met with the enthusiastic encouragement of Seymour V. Connor and Ernest Wallace, both of Texas Tech, who felt that there was need for such a work.

My aim in this book, therefore, has been to prepare a history of the range sheep and goat industry in Texas from early times to about 1930, after which most woollybacks were confined within mesh-wire fences. I have tried to provide a fresh synthesis in a straightforward . . .

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