“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Austin in Travis County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)

Grinninger Fence

Grinninger Fence Marker image. Click for full size.
By Keith Peterson, September 9, 2007
1. Grinninger Fence Marker
Inscription. First known use of barbed wire in Texas (1857), by John Grinninger, immigrant from Europe, worker in an early Austin iron foundry. Grinninger, who lived on Waller Creek (NE of here) grew fruit, vegetables and flowers. To protect garden, he ran homemade barbed wire along top of his fence. Noted peace officer and sometime outlaw Ben Thompson is said to have recalled years later that in youth he tore jeans on that fence. Grinninger was murdered in 1862. In 1867 first U.S. patent on barbed wire was issued.

Expansion of the cattle industry in 1870s led to business for wire-makers, for Midwest and Western America lacked timber for fences. John Warne “Bet-A-Million” Gates created a sensation in the 70s in San Antonio by penning wild cattle with barbed wire.

Joseph F. Glidden and Isaac L. Ellwood of Illinois were most successful barbed wire manufacturers in the United States. Their Texas manager, H.B. Sanborn erected “model” fences in 1870s-80s in Grayson and Potter counties, showing ranchers the practicality of enclosing vast acreages. Barbed wire is said to have saved ranching from extinction. It gave each landowner control of cattle breeding and property.

Wires many styles are now prized by collectors.
Erected 1969 by the State Historical Survey Committee. (Marker Number 14554.)
Location. 30° 15.635′ N, 97° 44.489′ W. Marker is in Austin, Texas, in Travis County. Marker can be reached from Trinity Street. Touch for map. Marker is located on Lady Bird Trail at Lady Bird Lake. Marker is in this post office area: Austin TX 78701, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Site of the Headquarters of the United States Army for 5th Military District (here, next to this marker); F. Weigl Iron Works (approx. 0.2 miles away); The “Austin Statesman” (approx. 0.2 miles away); Austin, C.S.A. (approx. mile away); Congress Avenue (approx. mile away); O. Henry (approx. 0.4 miles away); Original Site of First Methodist Church of Austin (approx. 0.4 miles away); Hotel Provident and Heierman Building (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Austin.
Also see . . .  John Warne Gates. Wikipedia article on John Warne Gates. Given are additional links to biographical articles on his life and contribution to the barbed wire industry. (Submitted on December 27, 2009, by Keith Peterson of Cedar Park, Texas.) 
Categories. Industry & Commerce
Credits. This page was last revised on September 12, 2016. This page originally submitted on December 27, 2009, by Keith Peterson of Cedar Park, Texas. This page has been viewed 958 times since then. Photo   1. submitted on December 27, 2009, by Keith Peterson of Cedar Park, Texas. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page.
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