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Railroad & Farming
Many large ranchers fenced off water sources even though they didn't own the land. This issue became critical when Texas was hit by a drought and cattle began to die of thirst. Before long, the Range War broke out. After seeing several of her fences destroyed, rancher Mabel Day brought the issue of fence cutting before the legislature. In 1884, Governor John Ireland called an emergency session of the legislature. After heated debate, it passed a law making fence cutting illegal.
Thousands of Texans arrived at these boomtowns seeking for work in the oil industry. Few women and children lived in these towns. Because most people were more concerned with drilling oil than city planning, most were crowded, dirty, and rough places. New businesses opened to serve the growing population. Others were geared more to workers, offering gambling and drinking. Such activities led to violence, making some boomtowns dangerous places to live.
Texas farmers began to grow only cotton. Texas had just a few textile mills in the late 1800s, so much of cotton was shipped out of the state. Railroads provided a cheap way to ship cotton to national markets. Railroads also opened up new areas to commercial farming. Spur lines were extended off main lines into regions where cotton could be grown. Railroad companies offered lower rates for shipping cotton and built large cotton loading platforms at each railroad stop.
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