First Patented Wire Fence

First Patented Wire FenceSpecial fence design at top of inscription] Virgina native William H. Meriwether (b. 1800), an early Comal County plantation owner, ran a sawmill, cotton gin and gristmill at this site.

As an agriculturalist, he was aware of the need for an economical and practical source of fencing material. His interest led to the development of smooth wire and board fence that effectively resisted the temperature changes that had been so damaging to earlier wire fences.

His invention known as snake wire fencing, was awarded patent No.10211 on November 8, 1853. It was the first patent for wire fence issued in the United States.

Although not widely accepted, Meriwether's fence was an important step in the development of an economical fencing material. It also played a role in later wire fence patent disputes.

Meriwether sold his mill site to German native Joseph Landa in 1859 and moved to Tennessee, where he died in 1861. (1982)

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Comal County Historical Commission