Fence Making on the Frontier

Time Frame: 1800's

Farmers made fences with whatever they could find for materials in the 1800s.
“The Prairie Pioneers,” The Iowa Heritage: Program # 4, Iowa Public Television, 1977.

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Looking back, it might seem like the pioneer farmer spent making and repairing fences then actually farming. Barbwire was not introduced until the late 1870s, and early farmers had to make fences with whatever they could take from the land. The most common was the stake and rider rail fence. In places were wood was in short supply, farmers experimented with hedge rows of Osage orange or earth fences, which were little more than walls of sod. These were almost always a failure. Fences were usually strung to keep cattle and hogs out, not in, since livestock freely roamed the prairie.


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