Always for the Underdog: Leather Britches Smith and the by Keagan LeJeune

Crime Criminals

By Keagan LeJeune

Louisiana’s impartial Strip, a space of pine forests, squats among the Calcasieu and Sabine Rivers at the border of East Texas. Early in its background, the quarter built a name as a harsh frontier the place grit and tenacity grew to become fundamental instruments of survival. in the course of the Louisiana buy, bureaucrats from either Spain and the us squabbled over the precise boundary line among the 2 rival powers. either governments got rid of military from the contested land to prevent struggle. Intensifying its attractiveness, the quarter served as an respectable buffer quarter. with out the safety of an army presence, citizens speedy discovered they'd have to guard and govern themselves. quickly, tight-knit groups shaped, and citizens built a reliance on self, family, and neighbor.In the early 1900s, the trees growth sliced during the forests of East Texas and the previous impartial Strip, disrupting those dense groups. Mill cities sprang up, and the promise of cash lured land speculators, bushes employees, unionists, and a number of alternative characters, similar to the outlaw leather-based Britches Smith. The entrenched neighborhood citizens quickly faced not just those new neighborhood participants but in addition a dynamic cultural second that struck a defining blow within the making of the sector. That second keeps to form the place’s cultural awareness, and other people style a lore attached to this time.In a desirable exploration of the zone, Keagan LeJeune unveils the legend of leather-based Britches, paralleling the phases of the outlaw’s existence to the impartial Strip’s formation. LeJeune retells every one degree of Smith’s existence: his infamous earlier, his audacious deeds of theft or even generosity, his rumored connection to a neighborhood union strike—the Grabow War—significant within the annals of work historical past, and his eventual dying. because the outlaw’s existence vividly unfolds, the publication additionally unearths the area’s historical past and cultural panorama. frequently utilizing the details of 1 small city as a consultant instance, the publication explores how the zone recalls and reinterprets the earlier which will navigate a global altering rapidly.Drawing from newspapers, courtroom files, and a decade of interviews and commentary, LeJeune deals a penetrating exam of the interaction among legend and position, exploring Smith’s personal lifestyles, this precise ancient second, and the place’s mysterious panorama. The publication additionally considers how modern fairs and other kinds of cultural background hire the legend as a cultural recourse. to stick shiny and significant, tradition continuously re-makes itself; the following, the outlaw occupies an important function within the re-creation.Texas Folklore Society additional publication quantity 23“LeJeune makes use of a really strange strategy mixing old documents and bills, oral histories, historiography, and folkloric how you can inform the tale of the Sabine Strip among Louisiana and Texas, and the legend of an outlaw named ‘Leather Britches Smith.’ He monitors a wealth of data approximately western imperative Louisiana and the historiography of the region.”—Gary D. Joiner, writer of during the Howling wasteland: The 1864 pink River crusade and Union Failure within the West“This ebook reminds us that Louisiana west of the Mississippi was once a part of the western frontier. Few understand that Pat Garrett grew up in Louisiana and that Jim Bowie used to be from there. leather-based Britches Smith is destined to take a spot within the pantheon of western characters. continually for the Underdog might be of curiosity to all those who find themselves fascinated by the yank outlaw-hero.”—Barry Ancelet, writer of Cajun and Creole Folktales“Based on my event educating introductory folklore collage classes, i do know that scholars have hassle knowing what a legend is. LeJeune’s ebook could make a very good textual content simply because he's taking the reader step-by-step during the evolution of the leather-based Britches legend, in a transparent and easy manner that starting scholars could simply grasp.”—Lee Winniford, writer of Following outdated Fencelines

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I think she wasn’t too sure about me. ) We visited only briefly. She explained that her husband had known all about this stuff, but she just didn’t know much. She did pull out a cassette tape she wanted us to have. Her brother-in-law (actually her ex-brother-in-law, which might explain why she had so little information about all of this) knew a band that made an album with an interesting song she wanted us to hear. Before she came to the library, she made a copy of the original for us. I copied the cassette jacket on the library’s Xerox machine and thanked her over and over 22 | alway s for the underdog again.

Convinced of winter’s hold, people kept their coats on coat racks stationed near front doors and stacked firewood on back porches. Since it felt enough like Christmas, people allowed the Christmas spirit to take hold of them. They shopped for presents, decorated their homes and yards, and threw parties. Expecting company, they also cooked, and they turned to those certain dishes reminding them of home and suitable for these holidays. That year, for the first time I spent Christmas Eve at my wife’s family’s celebration.

We drove for a while, and then we came to the border. We crossed the Sabine to head over to Newton. Even at night, we could feel ourselves crossing and could see the thickets of growth teeming off its banks. 2 These special sections of woods close to the river remain, and in them, growth has somehow held on to the past or convinced the people around them to preserve the past there. The Sabine River, especially because it still holds parts like these, may be even more important to the region’s cultural landscape than the timber or the pinewoods.

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