Death of the Open Range: Barbed Wire

(Ron) When the open range era came to an end the homesteaders and settlers moved into Kansas and started building something that would change the life of the cowboy forever, I’m referring to fences. This poem is based on the true story of the invention of barbed wire. It’s called the Death of Open Range. Let me tell you of a time when open range was in its prime. Cowboys rode their horses forth and drove the huge herds of cattle north. We could ride all over this great land, unfettered by the human hand. Then a farmer over Illinois way invented something that’s used to this day. His name was Mr. Joseph Glidden and he was doing the homesteaders biddin. He took a pair of heavy pliers and wrapped barbs around a long piece of wire. The barb’s sharp points kept stock in or out, could be used for fencing all about. For the open range it was a turn of events that barbed wire made it easy to string a fence. Barbed wire succeeded more than Glidden had planned. Soon fences criss-crossed the open land. The old west changed with Glidden’s invention. And caused the cowboys apprehension. No more could we ride over free open range and the cowboy’s role would be forever changed. Homesteaders and nesters scarred this land and changed the role of the old cowhand. The cowboy’s work continues on but the days of the open range are gone. That open range would have no more hope. That’s why cowboys call barbed wire the Devil’s Rope. Happy Trails.

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