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afforded him time to think, so he decided to become a lawyer. A suggestion of future ill-health caused him to abandon his studies and he engaged in the sheep business with his father. A little later, he was called to assume charge of his father's herd ; and with Mexican sheep-herders for his assistants and companions he began his career as a sheep raiser which continued up until the passage of the Wilson bill and wool was put on the free list, killing the industry for many years.
We next find Ed Lasater operating on a large scale as a cattle buyer, though still a very young man but with fine personal credit. He would buy cattle from the Texas ranchmen and ship to Chicago markets, but all the time he was making a close study of grazing lands which had, at one time, been so valuable for sheep raising. During the panic of 1893, Mr. Lasater had bought heavily of Texas cattle ; in fact he had nearly 30,000 head on hand. A drouth hit Texas and the cattle could not winter on the range. It was necessary to feed them through the winter; then the bottom dropped out of the cattle business and fat steers sold for $2.70 a hundred on the Chicago market, and Ed Lasater was $130,000 loser on his cattle he lost everything he had except his credit, and says himself that all he has accumulated since his failure has been done as a result of his financial disaster. He kept his contracts, paid for all the cattle that he bought, and accepted his loss. About this time, something happened in Lasater's favor. Practically all the land was owned by Mexicans through grants from the Spanish and Mexican governments. In 1893, the great drouth year, the ranchmen lost all their cattle, and the cry for water went up everywhere. The Mexicans depended upon shallow wells which were no more than trenches ; and while they were no worse off than Lasater who had lost all his cattle, he had one thing they did not have credit, and confidence in his ability to provide an adequate water supply. He investigated the situation, and found