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

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 historical past, the quarter constructed a name as a harsh frontier the place grit and tenacity grew to become essential 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 defense force from the contested land to prevent conflict. Intensifying its popularity, the quarter served as an authentic buffer quarter. with no the protection of an army presence, citizens quick learned they'd have to safeguard and govern themselves. quickly, tight-knit groups shaped, and citizens constructed a reliance on self, family members, and neighbor.In the early 1900s, the bushes increase 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, trees staff, unionists, and a number of alternative characters, reminiscent of the outlaw leather-based Britches Smith. The entrenched neighborhood citizens quickly faced not just those new group participants but in addition a dynamic cultural second that struck a defining blow within the making of the area. That second maintains to form the place’s cultural recognition, and folks type a lore attached to this time.In a desirable exploration of the quarter, Keagan LeJeune unveils the legend of leather-based Britches, paralleling the phases of the outlaw’s lifestyles to the impartial Strip’s formation. LeJeune retells every one degree of Smith’s existence: his infamous prior, 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 demise. because the outlaw’s existence vividly unfolds, the e-book additionally unearths the area’s historical past and cultural panorama. usually utilizing the details of 1 small city as a consultant instance, the e-book explores how the area recollects and reinterprets the earlier so as to navigate an international altering rapidly.Drawing from newspapers, courtroom files, and a decade of interviews and statement, LeJeune bargains a penetrating exam of the interaction among legend and position, exploring Smith’s personal lifestyles, this specific historic second, and the place’s mysterious panorama. The e-book additionally considers how modern fairs and other kinds of cultural history hire the legend as a cultural recourse. to stick bright and significant, tradition regularly re-makes itself; the following, the outlaw occupies a necessary position within the re-creation.Texas Folklore Society additional e-book quantity 23“LeJeune makes use of a truly strange technique mixing historic documents and bills, oral histories, historiography, and folkloric how to 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 relevant Louisiana and the historiography of the region.”—Gary D. Joiner, writer of during the Howling desert: The 1864 pink River crusade and Union Failure within the West“This ebook reminds us that Louisiana west of the Mississippi used to be a part of the western frontier. Few recognize that Pat Garrett grew up in Louisiana and that Jim Bowie was once from there. leather-based Britches Smith is destined to take a spot within the pantheon of western characters. continually for the Underdog could be of curiosity to all people who are enthusiastic about the yank outlaw-hero.”—Barry Ancelet, writer of Cajun and Creole Folktales“Based on my adventure educating introductory folklore university classes, i do know that scholars have difficulty figuring out what a legend is. LeJeune’s publication could make a good textual content simply because he's taking the reader step-by-step in the course of the evolution of the leather-based Britches legend, in a transparent and easy method that starting scholars may simply grasp.”—Lee Winniford, writer of Following previous Fencelines

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Extra resources for Always for the Underdog: Leather Britches Smith and the Grabow War (Texas Folklore Society Extra Book)

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To make his case even stronger, he clarified it: “That’s just pure speculation. Somebody told me one time that his pants were so greasy that they were like leather, but everybody’s pants were greasy in those days. ” Walking through the thick briar, brambles, and brush of the eastern Texas wood (now identified by the government as the Big Thicket National Preserve), a person might wade a sea of saw grass or tangles of thorns and nettles. If this person needed to navigate these sorts of woods for a living, protection for the legs would be standard- Meanness, just across the river | 29 issue uniform.

Soon Caddo land filled with other strange men who had guns, married Caddo women, and did not leave. In response to St. 26 For some time, governance of the area’s land and its people became a difficult situation. Disputes about certain borders and boundaries occurred, and tension increased. Of course, both governments wanted possession of the Sabine River Valley, and they vied for control over roads and trading rights in the woods. Navigating a neutral space between these two factions, the Caddo people—many claim under the instruction of St.

Atakapa numbers would never recover. Did a great oyster shell return and take these people back beneath the sea? Indigenous people in the area, especially the Caddo to the north, knew the Atakapa to be an isolated people, and even though their numbers thinned rapidly from European disease after contact, the Atakapa people continued to fuel rumor and speculation. In fact, then and now people circulate sensational tales about the Atakapa’s unusual Meanness, just across the river | 33 reputation, including the belief that they were cannibals.

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