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 built a name as a harsh frontier the place grit and tenacity grew to become crucial instruments of survival. through the Louisiana buy, bureaucrats from either Spain and the U.S. squabbled over the precise boundary line among the 2 rival powers. either governments got rid of military from the contested land to prevent conflict. Intensifying its recognition, the sector served as an respectable buffer sector. with no the protection of an army presence, citizens speedy discovered they might have to defend and govern themselves. quickly, tight-knit groups shaped, and citizens built a reliance on self, relations, 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, trees employees, unionists, and a number of different characters, akin 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 zone. That second keeps to form the place’s cultural awareness, and folks 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 phases of the outlaw’s lifestyles to the impartial Strip’s formation. LeJeune retells every one level of Smith’s lifestyles: 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 heritage, and his eventual dying. because the outlaw’s lifestyles vividly unfolds, the booklet additionally finds the area’s historical past and cultural panorama. frequently utilizing the details of 1 small city as a consultant instance, the ebook explores how the zone recalls and reinterprets the previous so one can navigate a global altering rapidly.
Drawing from newspapers, courtroom documents, and a decade of interviews and statement, LeJeune deals a penetrating exam of the interaction among legend and position, exploring Smith’s personal lifestyles, this precise old 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 shiny and significant, tradition consistently re-makes itself; the following, the outlaw occupies an important position within the re-creation.
Texas Folklore Society additional publication quantity 23
“LeJeune makes use of a really strange procedure mixing old files and bills, oral histories, historiography, and folkloric the right way 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 data approximately western imperative Louisiana and the historiography of the region.”—Gary D. Joiner, writer of Through the Howling barren region: The 1864 purple River crusade and Union Failure within the West
“This e-book reminds us that Louisiana west of the Mississippi used to be a part of the western frontier. Few understand 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. Always for the Underdog might be of curiosity to all those people who are interested by the yankee outlaw-hero.”—Barry Ancelet, writer of Cajun and Creole Folktales
“Based on my adventure instructing introductory folklore collage classes, i do know that scholars have difficulty knowing what a legend is. LeJeune’s e-book might make a superb 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 straightforward method that starting scholars could simply grasp.”—Lee Winniford, writer of Following outdated Fencelines
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Always for the Underdog: Leather Britches Smith and the Grabow War (Texas Folklore Society Extra Book) by Keagan LeJeune