The farmers and cattleman had a problem.
Before Nathan Meeker came with the early settlers, cattle ranchers used the land for grazing. The cattle would roam and eat where ever they could find food. Once the people in Greeley began growing gardens and crops, the cattle found an easy way to grow fat! They spent a lot of time in the gardens and fields of the settlers.
The settlers had an idea to build a fence to keep the cattle out of town.
The fence was 7 feet high and 50 miles long. It was built around the colony's land. It had 2 gates. The gates were locked from April to October. If you were coming to or leaving Greeley, you had to have the gatekeeper unlock the gate. Horace Greeley was against fences, but he thought this was a good idea for the town.
Cattle that got past the fence were kept in a barn.
The barn was a "cattle pound." The cattle would be kept in the pound until the rancher paid a big fine to get it back.The town had to hire a guard for the cattle.
The ranchers had an idea.
They would let the cattle stay in the barn or "cattle pound" to be fed and cared for by the citizens of Greeley. This was helpful for them. They did this often when their cattle were caught during the winter.
The ranchers would later ride into town and get their cattle out of the barn without paying the fine.
More people were hired to watch the fence and the barn to stop the "cattle breaks." But ranchers still found ways to get their cattle back without paying the fine. One night, three masked ranchers rode into town. They went to the "cattle pound" with their guns at the ready. They let the cattle free and rode off. The townspeople thought that the cattle guard, Ed Williams, helped the ranchers. Later the cattle were rounded up and returned to the barn.
The fence was torn down in 1874.
Open range ranching was being done less often so the fence, and the costs to fix it and guard it was no longer needed. The fence was torn down in 1874. Parts of the fence can still be found today.