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Map of Texas Fever

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269.     [MAP]. [BIEN, Julius & Company (lithographer)]. Southern Cattle Fever. [Washington, 1885]. Lithograph map of Texas and parts of New Mexico, Indian Territory, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mexico, with parameters of fever indicated in red, brown, and green (latter indicating “Line established by Kansas Law”); neat line to neat line: 21 x 31.5 cm. Fine, matted, framed, glazed.

     This map was published in the Second Annual Report of the Bureau of Animal Industry for the Year 1885 (48th Congress, 2d session House Miscellaneous Document 36, p. 274). See Adams, Herd 2367. Handbook of Texas Online: Texas Fever:

Readers of the Veterinarian, an English journal, were informed in June 1868 that a “very subtle and terribly fatal disease” had broken out among cattle in Illinois. The disease killed quickly and was reported to be “fatal in every instance.” The disease was very nearly as fatal as the Veterinarian claimed. Midwestern farmers soon realized that it was associated with longhorn cattle driven north by South Texas ranchers. The Texas cattle appeared healthy, but midwestern cattle, including Panhandle animals, allowed to mix with them or to use a pasture recently vacated by the longhorns, became ill and very often died. Farmers called the disease Texas fever or Texas cattle fever because of its connection with Texas cattle…. To protect their cattle, states along the cattle trails passed quarantine laws routing cattle away from settled areas or restricting the passage of herds to the winter months, when there was less danger from Texas fever. In 1885 Kansas entirely outlawed the driving of Texas cattle across its borders. Kansas, with its central location and rail links with other, more northern markets, was crucial to the Texas cattle-trailing business. The closing of Kansas, together with restrictive legislation passed by many other states, was an important factor in ending the Texas cattle-trailing industry that had flourished for twenty years.

Though Texas fever was clearly associated with Texas cattle, its cause remained for many years a mystery. Various theories were proposed to account for a fatal disease being transmitted by apparently healthy animals…. By the 1880s the work of pioneer bacteriologists Robert Koch of Germany and Louis Pasteur of France, among others, was widely known and accepted. These men had identified several specific disease-causing bacteria, and Pasteur had devised vaccinations…. In 1893 Theobald Smith and Fred Lucius Kilborne…demonstrated that the disease is caused by a microscopic protozoan…[and] discovered that the disease was spread by cattle ticks.

King Ranch manager Robert J. Kleberg is credited with building the first dipping vat in Texas. Before the disease was eradicated in this country, non-immune American cattle were protected from it by elaborate federal quarantine laws separating southern cattle from others in railway cars and stockyards. See also: J. Evetts Haley, “Texas Fever and the Winchester Quarantine,” Panhandle-Plains Historical Review 8 (1935).


Sold. Hammer: $150.00; Price Realized: $180.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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