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White Fence

John C. McCornack
Yukon, Oklahoma



Fence of Life

When I was a toddler, my momma use to say
Son don't go beyond this fence, here's where you need to stay
I could play there in the back yard, that was just out side the door
But I couldn't follow Daddy, into those fields of hay

Precious memories of the fence that marked my life
To me it was a thing of beauty and one I loved so well
It would take me on a journey of life I grew to love
And each year she marked a milestone with stories she would tell

When I was five she let me go beyond two hundred feet
I could watch the farmers plowing in the fields
We got Ole Shep and he would guard me and keep me in the line
But I wanted to go farther and help those farmers till

I learned to climb that sturdy fence and grew to be so tall
I couldn't wait to be a man and drive that tractor grand
I loved to hear the humming noise and watch the red dirt turn
I knew that in the fall we'd have a roadside market stand

Precious memories of the fence that marked my life
To me it was a thing of beauty and one I loved so well
It would take me on a journey of life I grew to love
And each year she marked a milestone with stories she would tell

When I became a young man, those boundaries opened wide
I knew each tree and running branch that rolled among those fields
I grew into a strong young man that fence was lengthened, too
Many nights of camping, counting stars, oh the memories that are stilled



The World of Mom:

My mom taught me

Early to rise, early to bed,
makes a man healthy
but socially dead.


Bonnie and Clyde

Ole Bonnie and Clyde at the fence met one day
Said Bonnie to Clyde, Are you going my way
But Clyde wouldn't listen, he started to prance
T'was springtime in the fields and he wanted romance

A fine stately stallion, and he started to shine
He waltzed all around her, said, "Your place or mine?"
Bonnie was just a filly, and fine as could be
She led him to her pasture, and happy was he

Yes, Bonnie and Cyde were a right fancy pair
They pranced in the meadows with nary a care
For those who would never believe such a sight
You should have seen Bonnie and Clyde there that night

Now they are dear friends and each day they meet
Down by that old fence and they look so sweet
He nuzzles and whispers things into her ear
Can't wait to see Bonnie's new foal there next year.

Poem by ImAuthor4U
Photo by RG


Self portrait


Photo by RG - "Classic Windmill"

More white fence

History of Farm Fences

by Leroy Jones

When our land consisted of thirteen colonies along the Atlantic Coast, our forefathers simply used the materials at hand whenever they wanted to fence their land. In the East the lumber was plentiful so many fences were made of rails. Colonial Virginians began to build fences of split rails, laid in panels, eight rails to a panel, and zigzagged so that the ends of the rails interlocked at an angle of about 60 degrees. This form of fence became known as the Virginia worm fence.

The rails were cut about ten feet long, but a panel reached only seven or eight feet owing to the interlocking and the zigzag pattern. Another fault was that the fence occupied a great deal of ground, and it required much labor on the part of the hoe hands to keep the corners clean. Another fault was that livestock could push the top rails off the worm fence and make breeches into the field. This was prevented by setting up across the interlocking corners two rails (posts) which served to hold the other rails in place. This was called a stake and rider fence. This fence could be made straight, thus avoiding many of the defects of the worm fence.

In New England many stone walls were made for fences. These stone fences were also found in Texas; in fact to some extent, wherever rocks are available and timber is scarce. There were also hedge fences. Up to 1860 or 1870 these were the primary fencing materials. But when the frontier left the timbered region and came onto the Great Plains with their open prairies, the pioneers found neither timber nor stone. There was nothing with which to fence their land.

In the 1870’s, with the people moving west to claim their 160 acres promised them under the Homestead Act of 1862, the Great Plains saw a great influx of Homesteaders moving into land heretofore used by the cattle ranchers and the buffalo. The cattlemen wanted open range for his stock; the farmer wanted open fields for his crops . The cattlemen claimed that the farmer should fence his fields against the cattle; the farmer maintained that the cattlemen should fence his range and leave the fields open. The newspapers were filled with editorials and with letters from farmers and cattlemen arguing the pros and cons of not only this question, but what materials should be used for the fencing. Where there was neither stone nor timber, any method seemed destined to be and expensive one.

In some areas of the plains the osage-orange (bois-d'arc) hedge became prominent, being used for all the fences in Cloud County, Kansas in 1870. Hall County, Nebraska reported that year that one fourth of the fences were made of earthen walls three and one half feet high. These mud fences, which were not uncommon throughout, the northern prairie states, seem to have added little to the beauty of the landscape. The best known token of their existence and of their aesthetic appeal has been preserved in the folk expression "as ugly as a mud fence. " At one time, Kansas farmers could plow a furrow around his field and call it his fence, and dare any cattleman to cross it.

Although many farmers had tried something like it on their own, Joseph Glidden, of DeKalb, Illinois seemed the one that really set it in motion. The IT was a wire with barbs twisted around it to make cattle respect it. He made his first in 1873 and sold the first piece in 1874; from there business boomed. By 1880 they were making and selling an estimated 80 and a half million pounds for the year.

With the great use of barbed wire for fencing the farmers fields, the cattlemen soon saw that the old days of the open range were disappearing fast. First, it was the farmer fencing his fields, then in 1883 the Cherokee Strip Livestock Association erecterst product of the Industrial Revolution to be adopted by the West; and these were both invented by New Englanders, but barbed wire was invented by one or more practical farmers dwelling in the prairie region when faced with the necessity of finding some affordable means for restraining stock, and for protecting their gardens and farms. Some men loved it, some men cursed it but sooner or later most all came to use it.

They say that Heaven is a free rangeland,

Good-bye, good-bye, 0 fare you well;

But it's barbed wire for the devils hat band;

And barbed wire blanket down in Hell.


Another wheat field sunset


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John McCornack

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