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Running the River

Secrets of the Sabine

Wes Ferguson

Publication Year: 2014

Growing up near the Sabine, journalist Wes Ferguson, like most East Texans, steered clear of its murky, debris-filled waters, where alligators lived in the backwater sloughs and an occasional body was pulled from some out-of-the-way crossing. The Sabine held a reputation as a haunt for a handful of hunters and loggers, more than a few water moccasins, swarms of mosquitoes, and the occasional black bear lumbering through swamp oak and cypress knees.
But when Ferguson set out to do a series of newspaper stories on the upper portion of the river, he and photographer Jacob Croft Botter were entranced by the river’s subtle beauty and the solitude they found there. They came to admire the self-described “river rats” who hunted, fished, and swapped stories along the muddy water—plain folk who love the Sabine as much as Hill Country vacationers love the clear waters of the Guadalupe. Determined to travel the rest of the river, Ferguson and Botter loaded their gear and launched into the stretch of river that charts the line between the states and ends at the Gulf of Mexico.

Published by: Texas A&M University Press


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pp. C-C

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. i-vi


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pp. vii-viii

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pp. ix-x

Of all the rivers in Texas, the Sabine seems the most mysterious. Author Jack Kerouac called it an “evil old river” where you could almost hear the slither of a million copperheads in a region he called a “manuscript of the night you couldn’t read.” I am neither as literary as Kerouac nor as...

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pp. xi-xx

A man shot at us our first day on the river. Of course he did. You expect that sort of thing to happen on the Sabine. I met Jacob at his father’s house early that morning. He hitched the boat to his truck, and we drove south and east into the border country where...

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Part I

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pp. 1-38

You notice things when you come home after being gone too long: the way the pine trees sprout from the hills, or the curve of a narrow river as it winds through the forest. One fall afternoon before Jacob and I had ever considered boating down the Sabine, I found myself driving into town when the pines gave way to...

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Part II

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pp. 39-82

The account of our river trip appeared in four consecutive editions of the local newspaper. Two months later, another item in the news caught my eye. A notice on the obituary page announced that Elton Wayne Woodall, by then sixty-one years old, had died from the illness that he had figured was...

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Part III

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pp. 83-126

When Jacob and I finally arrived at the boat ramp for our grand river adventure, the old river rat nearly talked us out of our trip. Then the turtle shooter nearly hit us with a shot from his .22 rifle. After Jacob’s father, Henry, collected his piece of concrete, we set off from the highway bridge in the community of Bon Wier, crossed below a creaky wooden railroad trestle...


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pp. 127-128


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pp. 129-133

Series Page

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p. 134

Back Cover

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pp. BC-BC

E-ISBN-13: 9781623491277
E-ISBN-10: 1623491274
Print-ISBN-13: 9781623490379

Page Count: 156
Publication Year: 2014

OCLC Number: 869736303
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Running the River

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Subject Headings

  • Boats and boating -- Sabine River (Tex. and La.).
  • Sabine River (Tex. and La.) -- Description and travel.
  • Sabine River Valley (Tex. and La.) -- History.
  • Sabine River Valley (Tex. and La.) -- Description and travel.
  • Ferguson, Wes -- Travel -- Sabine River (Tex. and La.).
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