Working the Range: Essays on the History of Western Land Management and the Environment

By John R. Wunder | Go to book overview

DONALD ABBE


5
Ranching and Speculation in Lynn County, Texas, 1876-1930

The Llano Estacado, the Staked Plains, and the High Plains are all synonyms for a geographical area of Texas. This area is one of vast, level expanses of land, most of which lie on an elevated plain which is bordered by the Caprock, an escarpment that divides the high, flat plains to its west from the lower, rolling, and broken prairies to its east. This Caprock, which forms the eastern boundary of the High Plains, ranges from just a slight hill of rocky debris in some areas to vertical cliffs of over 300 feet in other places. A similar escarpment marks the western edge of the High Plains in New Mexico and, along with the arbitrary Oklahoma border on the north, marks the bounds of the High Plains of Texas.

Within the High Plains of Texas are the South Plains, a local term describing a limited segment of the High Plains. Politically, the vague limits of the South Plains entail thirteen counties: Bailey, Lamb, Hale, Floyd, Cochran, Hockley, Lubbock, Crosby, Yoakum, Terry, Lynn, Gaines, and Dawson. 1 These counties all have a similar climate, history, and economic development which give them a certain similarity to each other and serve to unite them as a group.

Climatically, as well as geologically, the South Plains has all the characteristics of a Plains environment. The land is, for all practical purposes, level and treeless and has a subhumid or

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