In 1915, letters regarding lease rates were exchanged between Lee Bivins and W. H. Bush of Chicago. From these and from stationery Bush used (seen below), you can see that Bush's interest in the Panhandle was not in cattle, but in land development. Bivins was, obviously, a cattleman first and foremost. You can see that Bush land still comprises a lot of Potter County. These letters are fun to review 85 years later.
April 10, 1915
Lee Bivens Esq
It is about time
for us to begin figuring on our new lease for another year with you or for
another two or three years.
I have had other
applications for the land, also one or two propositions for cutting up a part of
your pasture, but I have thought all along the person to trade with was
I heard in a
round about way that you tried to secure some land in Dumas County, some eleven
sections, I believe at twenty five cents, and were refused, but of course this
is only a rumor, but on the other hand you do know that the cattle men in that
section are willing to pay from eight to ten per cent for money to carry the
cattle, and with the large profit there is in the same, you should be willing to
As you know the
time has gone past for the present for us to get any advance on the price of our
land, and for that reason we must get something out of our grass. I feel that I
should have twenty five cents an acre for every acre of grass land that I have.
I have already
written Mr. Summers that I would make a lease with you for fifteen cents the
first year, seventeen and one half cents the second year, and twenty cents for
the third year on our regular conditions, of giving up the same if it was to be
leased for Agricultural purposes or in case of sale.
I would like to
hear from you at once if this is satisfactory to you, as I must give some sort
of an answer to the other people.
Wm. H. Bush
April 12, 1915
Mr. W.H. Bush,
Friend Bush :-
Replying to your letter of the 10th, which was received
this morning, will say that I have never offered anybody .25 per acre for land
in Moore County nor even one-half that much, and I will state further that I am
not in the market for any lease of pasture in Moore County.
In regard to your proposition of .15, .171/2 and .20 per acre for
three years lease on your pasture will say that I am not willing to pay that
much for grass. I will also state that if you can find a man in this country
who has made a dollar on cattle in the last nine months, I will greatly
appreciate it if you will show him to me.
You know as well as I do that the beef and cattle business has gone to the bad and not a man who fed cattle but who has lost heavily.
Will also state in regard to the rate of interest that it is
considerably lower than it was last fall.
The above is simply talk. Now as to leasing your land will state that I would like to lease your land as I have other land around it and and also fences around it.
I am willing to kill the prairie dogs on your land, which is badly
needed, during the next three years and pay you twelve and one-half (12 ½) cents
per acre per year for your grass, subject to your selling or putting any part of
it into cultivation at any time.
Hoping that the above proposition will interest you and that you
will see your way clear to make me a lease.
Say, by the way, when will you be down here again
Yours very truly,
The back of Bush's stationery:
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