Cattle Craze Hits Badland – Money to be Made
Little Missouri, 1883
They have come from all over—Pennsylvania, Texas, New York, Minnesota, Scotland, France—to open up this last frontier for cattle. “This place used to be called ‘Hell with the Fires put out,’” exclaimed a South Dakota cattleman. “Now it’s seen as a remarkable location; plenty of water, grass and shelter.”
Howard and Eldon Eaton and A. C. Huidekoper of Pennsylvania have started up the Custer Trail Cattle Company and have according to reports, “one of the finest herds of cattle that can be found anywhere.”
The Continental Land and Cattle Company, headquartered in Dallas, just carved out a range for 34,000 head. Pierre Wibaux from Roubaix, France, came into town the other day and was looking for an inviting range to begin a cattle operation. He thinks a spread on Box Elder Creek looks promising.
South of town a Scot, Gregor Lang, is running a cattle ranch for Sir John Pender, the London financier. It was Lang who talked the young New York politician, Theodore Roosevelt, into the cattle game. The New Yorker hired Sylvane Ferris and A.W. Merrifield to run his Maltese Cross Ranch.
Cattle has become big business in the Badlands, and money is to be made. Secretary of the Territory George A. Batchelder has long claimed, “Dakota is the finest field in the world for stock growing.”
The following interview with Theodore Roosevelt comes from The Autobiography of Theodore Roosevelt, 1913.
By Dr. D. Jerome Tweton
Originally published as The North Star Dakotan student newspaper, written by Dr. D. Jerome Tweton and supported by the North Dakota Humanities Council