After a snow storm this winter, it occurred to me how many stone fences were visible on my mail route. There are some that are falling down, some that have been reconstructed, and in several places I believe it is the original fence and still in use.
Many of the stone fences were constructed beginning in 1867 when the state legislature passed a law giving a bounty for constructing stone or hedge fences. As early as 1869, thousands of rods of stone fences had been constructed.
Not all stone is suitable for building fences. They were generally constructed from fieldstone or taken from shallow quarries. In this part of Kansas there was an abundance of fieldstone, however, there is a large hole on top of a hill on our land where we have been told stone was quarried. I could not find any information on how these fences were built, but they appear to be double wide with stones stacked to fit without mortar. It might not have been a difficult job to master, but surely must have been back breaking work.
In a state that did not have a lot of wood, the settlers used what was available. It cleared their fields of rocks, provided fences for their livestock and perhaps saved their claim by serving as a fire break.
Notice the intricate placing of the stones
Well built rock walls had a double placement
Rock wall still in use as a fence