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The Horrell Wars: Feuding in Texas and New Mexico

The Horrell Wars: Feuding in Texas and New Mexico

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Date: June 2014
Creator: Johnson, David
Description: For decades the Horrell brothers of Lampasas, Texas, have been portrayed as ruthless killers and outlaws, but author David Johnson paints a different picture of these controversial men. The Horrells were ranchers, but some thought that they built their herds by rustling. Their initial confrontation with the State Police at Lampasas in 1873 marked the most disastrous shootout in Reconstruction history. The brothers and loyal friends then fled to New Mexico, where they became entangled in what would later evolve into the violent Lincoln County War. The brothers returned to Texas, where in time they became involved in the Horrell-Higgins War. The family was nearly wiped out following the feud when two of the brothers were killed by a mob. Only one member of the family, Sam, Jr., lived to old age and died of natural causes.
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The Best American Newspaper Narratives of 2012

The Best American Newspaper Narratives of 2012

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Date: May 2014
Creator: Getschow, George
Description: This anthology collects the ten winners of the 2012 Best American Newspaper Narrative Writing Contest at the Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference, which is hosted by the Frank W. Mayborn Graduate Institute of Journalism at the University of North Texas. The contest honors exemplary narrative work and encourages narrative nonfiction storytelling at newspapers across the United States.
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Captain W.W. Withenbury's 1838-1842 Red River Reminiscences

Captain W.W. Withenbury's 1838-1842 Red River Reminiscences

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Date: April 2014
Creator: Bagur, Jacques D.
Description: A selection of letters written to the Cincinnati Commercial newspaper from 1870-1871 about steamboat travel on the Red River in 1838-1841. W. W. Withenbury was a famous river boat captain during the mid-1800s. In retirement, he wrote a series of letters for the Cincinnati Commercial, under the title "Red River Reminiscences." Jacques Bagur has selected and annotated 39 letters describing three steamboat voyages on the upper Red River from 1838 to 1842. Withenbury was a master of character and incident, and his profiles of persons, including three signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence, reflect years of acquaintance. The beauty of his writing ranks this among the best of the reminiscences that were written as the steamboat era was declining. “Bagur is an expert on the Red River in the nineteenth century, and it shows in this work. Informative and entertaining.” —Randolph B. "Mike" Campbell, author of Gone to Texas: A History of the Lone Star State “This will rank as a great assistance to researchers if anyone wants to attack history of the Red River again. Some of his in-depth research was fabulous.”—Skipper Steely, author of Red River Pioneers
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In the Governor’s Shadow: the True Story of Ma and Pa Ferguson

In the Governor’s Shadow: the True Story of Ma and Pa Ferguson

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Date: 2014
Creator: Wilson, Carol O’Keefe
Description: In 1915 Governor James Ferguson began his term in Texas bolstered by a wave of voter enthusiasm and legislative cooperation so great that few Texans anticipated anything short of a successful administration. His campaign was based on two key elements: his appeal to the rural constituency and a temporary hiatus from the effects of the continuous Prohibition debate. In reality, Jim Ferguson had shrewdly sold a well-crafted image of himself to Texas voters, carrying into office a bevy of closely guarded secrets about his personal finances, his business acumen, and his relationship with Texas brewers. Those secrets, once unraveled, ultimately led to charges brought against Governor Ferguson via impeachment. Refusing to acknowledge the judgment against him, Ferguson launched a crusade for regained power and vindication. In 1925 he reclaimed a level of political influence and doubled the Ferguson presence in Austin when he assisted his wife, Miriam, in a successful bid for the governorship. That bid had been based largely on a plea for exoneration but soon degenerated into a scandal-plagued administration. In the Governor’s Shadow unravels this complex tale, exposing the shocking depth of the Fergusons’ misconduct. Often using the Fergusons’ own words, Carol O’Keefe Wilson weaves together the ...
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Tracking the Texas Rangers: The Twentieth Century

Tracking the Texas Rangers: The Twentieth Century

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Date: September 15, 2013
Creator: Glasrud, Bruce A. & Weiss, Harold J. Jr.
Description: Tracking the Texas Rangers: The Twentieth Century is an anthology of fifteen previously published articles and chapter excerpts covering key topics of the Texas Rangers during the twentieth century. The task of determining the role of the Rangers as the state evolved and what they actually accomplished for the benefit of the state is a difficult challenge. The actions of the Rangers fit no easy description. There is a dark side to the story of the Rangers; during the Mexican Revolution, for example, some murdered with impunity. Others sought to restore order in the border communities as well as in the remainder of Texas. It is not lack of interest that complicates the unveiling of the mythical force. With the possible exception of the Alamo, probably more has been written about the Texas Rangers than any other aspect of Texas history. Tracking the Texas Rangers covers leaders such as Captains Bill McDonald, “Lone Wolf” Gonzaullas, and Barry Caver, accomplished Rangers like Joaquin Jackson and Arthur Hill, and the use of Rangers in the Mexican Revolution. Chapters discuss their role in the oil fields, in riots, and in capturing outlaws. Most important, the Rangers of the twentieth century experienced changes in ...
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A Lawless Breed: John Wesley Hardin, Texas Reconstruction, and Violence in the Wild West

A Lawless Breed: John Wesley Hardin, Texas Reconstruction, and Violence in the Wild West

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Date: June 15, 2013
Creator: Parsons, Chuck & Brown, Norman Wayne
Description: John Wesley Hardin! His name spread terror in much of Texas in the years following the Civil War as the most wanted fugitive with a $4000 reward on his head. A Texas Ranger wrote that he killed men just to see them kick. Hardin began his killing career in the late 1860s and remained a wanted man until his capture in 1877 by Texas Rangers and Florida law officials. He certainly killed twenty men; some credited him with killing forty or more. After sixteen years in Huntsville prison he was pardoned by Governor Hogg. For a short while he avoided trouble and roamed westward, eventually establishing a home of sorts in wild and woolly El Paso as an attorney. He became embroiled in the dark side of that city and eventually lost his final gunfight to an El Paso constable, John Selman. Hardin was forty-two years old. Besides his reputation as the deadliest man with a six-gun, he left an autobiography in which he detailed many of the troubles of his life. In A Lawless Breed, Chuck Parsons and Norman Wayne Brown have meticulously examined his claims against available records to determine how much of his life story is true, ...
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Riding Lucifer's Line: Ranger Deaths Along the Texas-mexico Border

Riding Lucifer's Line: Ranger Deaths Along the Texas-mexico Border

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Date: May 15, 2013
Creator: Alexander, Bob
Description: The Texas-Mexico border is trouble. Haphazardly splashing across the meandering Rio Grande into Mexico is—or at least can be—risky business, hazardous to one’s health and well-being. Kirby W. Dendy, the Chief of Texas Rangers, corroborates the sobering reality: “As their predecessors for over one hundred forty years before them did, today’s Texas Rangers continue to battle violence and transnational criminals along the Texas-Mexico border.” In Riding Lucifer’s Line, Bob Alexander, in his characteristic storytelling style, surveys the personal tragedies of twenty-five Texas Rangers who made the ultimate sacrifice as they scouted and enforced laws throughout borderland counties adjacent to the Rio Grande. The timeframe commences in 1874 with formation of the Frontier Battalion, which is when the Texas Rangers were actually institutionalized as a law enforcing entity, and concludes with the last known Texas Ranger death along the border in 1921. Alexander also discusses the transition of the Rangers in two introductory sections: “The Frontier Battalion Era, 1874-1901” and “The Ranger Force Era, 1901-1935,” wherein he follows Texas Rangers moving from an epochal narrative of the Old West to more modern, technological times. Written absent a preprogrammed agenda, Riding Lucifer’s Line is legitimate history. Adhering to facts, the author is ...
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This Corner of Canaan: Essays on Texas in Honor of Randolph B. Campbell

This Corner of Canaan: Essays on Texas in Honor of Randolph B. Campbell

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Date: February 15, 2013
Creator: McCaslin, Richard B.; Chipman, Donald E. & Torget, Andrew J.
Description: Randolph B. “Mike” Campbell has spent the better part of the last five decades helping Texans rediscover their history, producing a stream of definitive works on the social, political, and economic structures of the Texas past. Through meticulous research and terrific prose, Campbell’s collective work has fundamentally remade how historians understand Texan identity and the state’s southern heritage, as well as our understanding of such contentious issues as slavery, westward expansion, and Reconstruction. Campbell’s pioneering work in local and county records has defined the model for grassroots research and community studies in the field. More than any other scholar, Campbell has shaped our modern understanding of Texas. In this collection of seventeen original essays, Campbell’s colleagues, friends, and students offer a capacious examination of Texas’s history—ranging from the Spanish era through the 1960s War on Poverty—to honor Campbell’s deep influence on the field. Focusing on themes and methods that Campbell pioneered, the essays debate Texas identity, the creation of nineteenth-century Texas, the legacies of the Civil War and Reconstruction, and the remaking of the Lone Star State during the twentieth century. Featuring some of the most well-known names in the field—as well as rising stars—the volume offers the latest scholarship ...
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First Timers and Old Timers: the Texas Folklore Society Fire Burns On

First Timers and Old Timers: the Texas Folklore Society Fire Burns On

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Date: December 15, 2012
Creator: Untiedt, Kenneth L.
Description: The Texas Folklore Society has been alive and kicking for over one hundred years now, and I don’t really think there’s any mystery as to what keeps the organization going strong. The secret to our longevity is simply the constant replenishment of our body of contributors. We are especially fortunate in recent years to have had papers given at our annual meetings by new members—young members, many of whom are college or even high school students. These presentations are oftentimes given during sessions right alongside some of our oldest members. We’ve also had long-time members who’ve been around for years but had never yet given papers; thankfully, they finally took the opportunity to present their research, fulfilling the mission of the TFS: to collect, preserve, and present the lore of Texas and the Southwest. You’ll find in this book some of the best articles from those presentations. The first fruits of our youngest or newest members include Acayla Haile on the folklore of plants. Familiar and well-respected names like J. Rhett Rushing and Kenneth W. Davis discuss folklore about monsters and the classic “widow’s revenge” tale. These works—and the people who produced them—represent the secret behind the history of the ...
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Houston Blue: The Story of the Houston Police Department

Houston Blue: The Story of the Houston Police Department

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Date: November 15, 2012
Creator: Roth, Mitchel P.
Description: Houston Blue offers the first comprehensive history of one of the nation’s largest police forces, the Houston Police Department. Through extensive archival research and more than one hundred interviews with prominent Houston police figures, politicians, news reporters, attorneys, and others, authors Mitchel P. Roth and Tom Kennedy chronicle the development of policing in the Bayou City from its days as a grimy trading post in the 1830s to its current status as the nation’s fourth largest city. Prominent historical figures who have brushed shoulders with Houston’s Finest over the past 175 years include Houdini, Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders, O. Henry, former Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, hatchet wielding temperance leader Carrie Nation, the Hilton Siamese Twins, blues musician Leadbelly, oilman Silver Dollar Jim West, and many others. The Houston Police Department was one of the first cities in the South to adopt fingerprinting as an identification system and use the polygraph test, and under the leadership of its first African American police chief, Lee Brown, put the theory of neighborhood oriented policing into practice in the 1980s. The force has been embroiled in controversy and high profile criminal cases as well. Among the cases chronicled in the book are ...
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