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 background, the quarter constructed a name as a harsh frontier the place grit and tenacity grew to become vital instruments of survival. through 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 military from the contested land to prevent warfare. Intensifying its attractiveness, the sector served as an legit buffer region. with no the protection of an army presence, citizens quick learned they might have to guard and govern themselves. quickly, tight-knit groups shaped, and citizens constructed a reliance on self, family, and neighbor.
In the early 1900s, the bushes growth 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, bushes staff, unionists, and a number of different characters, reminiscent of the outlaw leather-based Britches Smith. The entrenched neighborhood citizens quickly faced not just those new neighborhood contributors but additionally a dynamic cultural second that struck a defining blow within the making of the zone. That second maintains to form the place’s cultural cognizance, and other people type a lore hooked up to this time.
In a desirable exploration of the zone, Keagan LeJeune unveils the legend of leather-based Britches, paralleling the phases of the outlaw’s existence to the impartial Strip’s formation. LeJeune retells every one degree 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 historical past, and his eventual dying. because the outlaw’s existence vividly unfolds, the publication additionally finds the area’s heritage and cultural panorama. frequently utilizing the details of 1 small city as a consultant instance, the publication explores how the sector recollects and reinterprets the earlier in an effort to navigate a global altering rapidly.
Drawing from newspapers, courtroom files, and a decade of interviews and remark, LeJeune deals a penetrating exam of the interaction among legend and position, exploring Smith’s personal lifestyles, this detailed old second, and the place’s mysterious panorama. The publication additionally considers how modern fairs and different kinds of cultural history hire the legend as a cultural recourse. to stick vivid and significant, tradition always re-makes itself; right here, the outlaw occupies an essential position within the re-creation.
Texas Folklore Society additional ebook quantity 23
“LeJeune makes use of a truly strange procedure mixing old documents and bills, oral histories, historiography, and folkloric ways 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 significant Louisiana and the historiography of the region.”— Gary D. Joiner, writer of Through the Howling wasteland: The 1864 crimson River crusade and Union Failure within the West
“This e-book reminds us that Louisiana west of the Mississippi was once a part of the western frontier. Few comprehend 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. Always for the Underdog might be of curiosity to all those people who are thinking 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 figuring out what a legend is. LeJeune’s booklet might make a very 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 approach that starting scholars might simply grasp.”—Lee Winniford, writer of Following outdated Fencelines
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