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Reckoning in the Redlands: the Texas Rangers’ Clean-up of San Augustine in 1935

Description: The subject of this manuscript is the Texas Rangers “clean-up” of San Augustine, which was undertaken between late January 1935 until approximately July 1936 at the direction of then newly-elected Governor James V. Allred, in response to the local “troubles” that arose from an near decade long “crime wave.” Allred had been elected on a platform advocating dramatic reform of state law enforcement, and the success of the “clean-up” was heralded as validation of those reforms, which included the creation of – and the Rangers’ integration into – the Texas Department of Public Safety that same year. Despite such historic significance for the community of San Augustine, the state, and the Texas Rangers, no detailed account has ever been published. The few existing published accounts are terse, vague, and inadequate to address the relevant issues. They are often also overly reliant on limited oral accounts and substantially factually flawed, thereby rendering their interpretive analysis moot in regard to certain issues. Additionally, it is a period of San Augustine’s history that haunts that community to this day, particularly as a result of the wide-ranging myths that have taken hold in the absence of a thoroughly researched and documented published account. Concerns over offending the descendants of the key antagonists, many of whom still live in the area, has long made local historians wary of taking on the topic. Nevertheless, many of them have privately expressed the need for just such a treatment, as they have crossed paths with enough evidence in pursuit of other topics that they recognize and appreciate the historical significance, and lack of an accurate modern understanding, of those events. Furthermore, descendants of some of the victims have expressed frustration over the lack of such an account, because it makes them feel victimized once more to see the ...
Date: December 2014
Creator: Ginn, Jody Edward
Partner: UNT Libraries