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 heritage, the quarter built a name as a harsh frontier the place grit and tenacity turned vital instruments of survival. through the Louisiana buy, bureaucrats from either Spain and the USA squabbled over the precise boundary line among the 2 rival powers. either governments got rid of defense force from the contested land to prevent struggle. Intensifying its popularity, the quarter served as an legitimate buffer area. with out the protection of an army presence, citizens fast discovered they might have to defend and govern themselves. quickly, tight-knit groups shaped, and citizens built a reliance on self, family members, and neighbor.In the early 1900s, the bushes increase sliced throughout 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 employees, unionists, and a number of different characters, equivalent to the outlaw leather-based Britches Smith. The entrenched neighborhood citizens quickly faced not just those new neighborhood individuals but additionally a dynamic cultural second that struck a defining blow within the making of the sector. That second maintains to form the place’s cultural attention, and other people style a lore attached to this time.In a desirable exploration of the quarter, Keagan LeJeune unveils the legend of leather-based Britches, paralleling the levels of the outlaw’s lifestyles to the impartial Strip’s formation. LeJeune retells each one degree of Smith’s lifestyles: his infamous previous, his audacious deeds of theft or even generosity, his rumored connection to an area union strike—the Grabow War—significant within the annals of work background, and his eventual loss of life. because the outlaw’s existence vividly unfolds, the ebook additionally unearths the area’s historical past and cultural panorama. usually utilizing the details of 1 small city as a consultant instance, the publication explores how the area recollects and reinterprets the prior as a way to navigate an international altering rapidly.Drawing from newspapers, court docket documents, and a decade of interviews and remark, LeJeune bargains a penetrating exam of the interaction among legend and position, exploring Smith’s personal lifestyles, this targeted historic second, and the place’s mysterious panorama. The ebook additionally considers how modern gala's and other kinds of cultural historical past hire the legend as a cultural recourse. to stick vivid and significant, tradition always re-makes itself; right here, the outlaw occupies a necessary function within the re-creation.Texas Folklore Society additional publication quantity 23“LeJeune makes use of a truly strange process mixing historic files 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 screens a wealth of knowledge approximately western crucial Louisiana and the historiography of the region.”—Gary D. Joiner, writer of in the course of the Howling desolate tract: The 1864 crimson River crusade and Union Failure within the West“This publication reminds us that Louisiana west of the Mississippi used to be a part of the western frontier. Few be aware of 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 can be of curiosity to all those who find themselves serious about the yankee outlaw-hero.”—Barry Ancelet, writer of Cajun and Creole Folktales“Based on my event educating introductory folklore university classes, i do know that scholars have hassle realizing what a legend is. LeJeune’s publication could make a superb textual content simply because he's taking the reader step-by-step throughout the evolution of the leather-based Britches legend, in a transparent and straightforward approach that starting scholars might simply grasp.”—Lee Winniford, writer of Following outdated Fencelines
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Additional info for Always for the Underdog: Leather Britches Smith and the Grabow War (Texas Folklore Society Extra Book)
A night’s drive to see Christmas lights and nativities, though, cannot last. Christmas passes. We spend New Year’s Eve chasing away night with fireworks and bonfires. In February, winter closes as basketball reaches its peak. 3 “Lady Panthers: Pride of Merryville,” an article with a team photo and three columns, fills two-thirds of a sports page. Much of the article deals with the play of the team, but some of it says something more: “Times have been a lot better in this small sawmill town in southwest Beauregard Parish.
Hunters, loggers, speculators, lawmen, outlaws—all sorts of people occupied his stories. In his string of tales, these people inhabited the woods, lumber towns, turpentine camps, frontier homes; they participated in wars, industry, politics, tragedies. Goob witnessed it all, even Leather Britches Smith, a legend Goob told most vividly and one that cemented his reputation as a talker and, for that matter, probably Smith’s reputation as an outlaw. “Goob would tell those stories, too,” my wife’s father said.
Theoretically, variation facilitates the communication of multiple ideas more than a single “verifiable” narrative of the outlaw’s life. Second, by examining multiple versions one can see which details exist universally and which emerge on an individual level. One afternoon a few years after that Christmas, I encountered a tiny piece of local family history connected to Leather Britches and indicative of the region’s cultural consciousness. Melanie and I had plans to meet a woman whose deceased husband had known something about Leather Britches.