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6000 Miles of Fence
Life on the XIT Ranch
By Cordia Sloan Duke and Joe B. Frantz
Published by University of Texas Press
The fabulous XIT Ranch has been celebrated in song, story and serious history. This book of reminiscences of old XIT cowmen puts on record the everyday life of the individuals who made the ranch run. Their forthright, yet picturesque, discussion of ranching hardships and dangers dissipates Hollywood and TV glamorizing. They relate in honest cowboy language what actually happened inside the XIT's 6,000 miles of fence.
Cordia Sloan Duke, wife of an XIT division manager, Robert L. Duke, many years ago realized that only those who had experienced ranch life could depict it with deep understanding. As the young wife of a rising young ranch hand, she kept in her apron pocket a notebook and pencil, recording all manner of interesting details as they caught her attention. This diary was the nucleus for the present book. Conceiving of an account of life on the XIT as presented by XIT cowboys, Mrs. Duke set about drawing from reticent, sometimes reluctant, ranch hands the impressions of the XIT (occasionally written down by their more literate wives or daughters) which they had retained through the years.
Cordia Sloan Duke and Joe B. Frantz have organized the reminiscences around key aspects of ranch life, retaining the language of the cow hands. Mrs. Duke contributed several articles to The Cattleman. Dr. Frantz is Turnbull Professor of History at Corpus Christi State University.