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John Ringo, King of the Cowboys Cover

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John Ringo, King of the Cowboys

His Life and Times from the Hoo Doo War to Tombstone, Second Edition

David Johnson

Few names in the lore of western gunmen are as recognizable. Few lives of the most notorious are as little known. Romanticized and made legendary, John Ringo fought and killed for what he believed was right. As a teenager, Ringo was rushed into sudden adulthood when his father was killed tragically in the midst of the family's overland trek to California. As a young man he became embroiled in the blood feud turbulence of post-Reconstruction Texas. The Mason County “Hoo Doo” War in Texas began as a war over range rights, but it swiftly deteriorated into blood vengeance and spiraled out of control as the body count rose. In this charnel house Ringo gained a reputation as a dangerous gunfighter and man killer. He was proclaimed throughout the state as a daring leader, a desperate man, and a champion of the feud. Following incarceration for his role in the feud, Ringo was elected as a lawman in Mason County, the epicenter of the feud’s origin. The reputation he earned in Texas, further inflated by his willingness to shoot it out with Victorio’s raiders during a deadly confrontation in New Mexico, preceded him to Tombstone in territorial Arizona. Ringo became immersed in the area’s partisan politics and factionalized violence. A champion of the largely Democratic ranchers, Ringo would become known as a leader of one of these elements, the Cowboys. He ran at bloody, tragic odds with the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday, finally being part of the posse that hounded these fugitives from Arizona. In the end, Ringo died mysteriously in the Arizona desert, his death welcomed by some, mourned by others, wrongly claimed by a few. Initially published in 1996, John Ringo has been updated to a second edition with much new information researched and uncovered by David Johnson and other Ringo researchers.

The Johnson-Sims Feud Cover

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The Johnson-Sims Feud

Romeo and Juliet, West Texas Style

Bill O'Neal

In the early 1900s, two families in Scurry and Kent counties in West Texas united in a marriage of fourteen-year-old Gladys Johnson to twenty-one-year-old Ed Sims. Billy Johnson, the father, set up Gladys and Ed on a ranch, and the young couple had two daughters. But Gladys was headstrong and willful, and Ed drank too much, and both sought affection outside their marriage. A nasty divorce ensued, and Gladys moved with her girls to her father’s luxurious ranch house, where she soon fell in love with famed Texas Ranger Frank Hamer. When Ed tried to take his daughters for a prearranged Christmas visit in 1916, Gladys and her brother Sid shot him dead on the Snyder square teeming with shoppers. One of the best lawyers in West Texas, Judge Cullen Higgins (son of the old feudist Pink Higgins) managed to win acquittal for both Gladys and Sid. In the tradition of Texas feudists since the 1840s, the Sims family sought revenge. Sims’ son-in-law, Gee McMeans, led an attack in Sweetwater and shot Billy Johnson’s bodyguard, Frank Hamer, twice, while Gladys—by now Mrs. Hamer—fired at another assassin. Hamer shot back, killed McMeans, and was no-billed on the spot by a grand jury watching the shootout through a window. An attempt against Billy Johnson failed, but a three-man team shotgunned the widely respected Cullen Higgins. Texas Rangers and other lawmen caught one of the assassins, extracted a confession, and then prompted his “suicide” in a Sweetwater jail cell.

Juan Domínguez de Mendoza Cover

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Juan Domínguez de Mendoza

Soldier and Frontiersman of the Spanish Southwest, 1627–1693

Edited by France V. Scholes, Marc Simmons, and José Antonio Esquibel; Translated by Eleanor B. Adams

Studies of seventeenth-century New Mexico have largely overlooked the soldiers and frontier settlers who formed the backbone of the colony and laid the foundations of European society in a distant outpost of Spain’s North American empire. This book, the final volume in the Coronado Historical Series, recognizes the career of Juan Domínguez de Mendoza, a soldier-colonist who was as instrumental as any governor or friar in shaping Hispano-Indian society in New Mexico. Domínguez de Mendoza served in New Mexico from age thirteen to fifty-eight as a stalwart defender of Spain’s interests during the troubled decades before the 1680 Pueblo Revolt. Because of his successful career, the archives of Mexico and Spain provide extensive information on his activities. The documents translated in this volume reveal more cooperative relations between Spaniards and Pueblo Indians than previously understood.

Kineño Remembers Cover

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Kineño Remembers

From the King Ranch to the White House

By Lauro F. Cavazos

On September 20, 1988, Lauro Cavazos became the first Hispanic in the history of the United States to be appointed to the Cabinet, when thenvice president George H. W. Bush swore him in as secretary of education. Cavazos, born on the legendary King Ranch in South Texas and educated in a two-room ranch schoolhouse, served until December 1990, after which he returned to his career in medical education and academic administration. In this engaging memoir, he recounts not only his years in Washington but also the childhood influences and life experiences that informed his policies in office. The ranch, he says, taught him how to live. These pages are full of glimpses into life on the famous ranch. Cavazos tells of Christmas parties, cattle work, and schooling. In his home, he was introduced to a natural bilingualism: he and his siblings were encouraged to speak only English with their father and only Spanish with their mother. Cavazos describes the high educational expectations his parents held. After service in World War II, Cavazos went to college and earned a doctorate from Iowa State University, launching him on a career in medical education. In 1980 he returned to his alma mater, Texas Tech University, as its tenth presidentthe first Hispanic and the first graduate of the university to serve in that post. As secretary of education, Cavazos stressed a commitment to reading. Indeed, he once told a group of educators that the curriculum for the first three years of school should be “reading, reading, and more reading.” His career is as interesting as it is inspiring, and Cavazos’ memoir joins the ranks of emerging success stories by Mexican Americans that will provide models for aspiring young people today.

A Lawless Breed Cover

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A Lawless Breed

John Wesley Hardin, Texas Reconstruction, and Violence in the Wild West

Chuck Parsons and Norman Wayne Brown

John Wesley Hardin! His name spread terror in much of Texas in the years following the Civil War as the most wanted fugitive with a $4000 reward on his head. A Texas Ranger wrote that he killed men just to see them kick. Hardin began his killing career in the late 1860s and remained a wanted man until his capture in 1877 by Texas Rangers and Florida law officials. He certainly killed twenty men; some credited him with killing forty or more. After sixteen years in Huntsville prison he was pardoned by Governor Hogg. For a short while he avoided trouble and roamed westward, eventually establishing a home of sorts in wild and woolly El Paso as an attorney. He became embroiled in the dark side of that city and eventually lost his final gunfight to an El Paso constable, John Selman. Hardin was forty-two years old. Besides his reputation as the deadliest man with a six-gun, he left an autobiography in which he detailed many of the troubles of his life. In A Lawless Breed, Chuck Parsons and Norman Wayne Brown have meticulously examined his claims against available records to determine how much of his life story is true, and how much was only a half truth, or a complete lie. As a killer of up to forty men, Hardin obviously had psychological issues, which the authors probe and explain in laymen’s terms. To Hardin, those three dozen or more killings were a result of being forced to defend his life, his honor, or to preserve his freedom against those who would rob or destroy him or his loved ones. Was he a combination freedom fighter/man-killer, or merely a blood-lust killer who became a national celebrity? This deeply researched biography of Hardin and his friends and family will remain the definitive study for years to come.

The Laws of Slavery in Texas Cover

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The Laws of Slavery in Texas

Historical Documents and Essays

Edited by Randolph B. Campbell

The laws that governed the institution of slavery in early Texas were enacted over a fifty-year period in which Texas moved through incarnations as a Spanish colony, a Mexican state, an independent republic, a part of the United States, and a Confederate state. This unusual legal heritage sets Texas apart from the other slave-holding states and provides a unique opportunity to examine how slave laws were enacted and upheld as political and legal structures changed. The Laws of Slavery in Texas makes that examination possible by combining seminal historical essays with excerpts from key legal documents from the slave period and tying them together with interpretive commentary by the foremost scholar on the subject, Randolph B. Campbell. Campbell’s commentary focuses on an aspect of slave law that was particularly evident in the evolving legal system of early Texas: the dilemma that arose when human beings were treated as property. As Campbell points out, defining slaves as moveable property, or chattel, presented a serious difficulty to those who wrote and interpreted the law because, unlike any other form of property, slaves were sentient beings. They were held responsible for their crimes, and in numerous other ways statute and case law dealing with slavery recognized the humanness of the enslaved. Attempts to protect the property rights of slave owners led to increasingly restrictive laws—including laws concerning free blacks—that were difficult to uphold. The documents in this collection reveal both the roots of the dilemma and its inevitable outcome.

Lens on the Texas Frontier Cover

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Lens on the Texas Frontier

Lawrence T. Jones

Photographs of Texas’ frontier past are valuable as both art and artifact. Recording not only the lives and surroundings of days gone by, but also the artistry of those who captured the people and their times on camera, the rare images in Lens on the Texas Frontier offer a documentary record that is usually available to only a few dedicated collectors.
In this book, prominent collector Lawrence T. Jones III showcases some of the most interesting and historically important glimpses of Texas history included among the five thousand photographs in the collection that bears his name at the DeGolyer Library of Southern Methodist University. One of the nation’s most comprehensive and valuable Texas-related photography collections, the Lawrence T. Jones III Collection documents all aspects of Texas photography from the years 1846–1945, including rare examples of the various techniques practiced from its earliest days in the state: daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes, and paper print photographs in various formats.
The selections in the book feature cartes de visite, cabinet cards, oversized photographs, stereographs, and more. The subjects of the photos include Confederate and Union soldiers and officers in the Civil War; Mexicans, including ranking military officials from the Mexican Revolution; and a wide spectrum of Texan citizens, including African American, Native American, Hispanic, and Caucasian women, men, and children.

Letters to Alice Cover

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Letters to Alice

Birth of the Kleberg-King Ranch Dynasty

Edited and Annotated by Jane Clements Monday and Frances Brannen Vick; Foreword by Thomas H. Kreneck

In the summer of 1881, Robert Justus Kleberg rode across the hot, dusty South Texas brush country to the palatial home of Capt. Richard King to consult with the cattle baron about attending to his legal affairs. On that same journey, the young lawyer also first laid eyes on Alice King, “Princess of the Wild Horse Desert.” Neither of their lives would ever be the same. Published for the first time in this book, the love letters written by Kleberg to Alice Gertrudis King provide a glimpse of the lives of two of the most influential people in Texas history. Editors Jane Clements Monday and Frances Brannen Vick have also provided generous documentation and annotation of these important primary documents from the Special Collections at Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi, affording historians and interested readers an insider’s view of one of the world’s greatest ranching empires as it transitioned from its founders to the next generation. Letters to Alice: Birth of the Kleberg-King-Ranch Dynasty represents the only existing collection of letters between any of the great Texas cattle barons and their wives. Although a great deal is already known about the ranch and its development, Monday and Vick present for the first time Robert Justus Kleberg’s personal perspective on his first meeting with Alice King, their early courtship, the difficulties obtaining her parents’ permission to marry, and the poignant time surrounding Captain King’s death.

Life in Laredo Cover

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Life in Laredo

A Documentary History from the Laredo Archives

Robert D. Wood

Based on documents from the Laredo Archives, Life in Laredo shows the evolution and development of daily life in a town under the flags of Spain, Mexico, and the United States. Isolated on the northern frontier of New Spain and often forgotten by authorities far away, the people of Laredo became as grand as the river that flowed by their town and left an enduring legacy in a world of challenges and changes. Because of its documentary nature, Life in Laredo offers insights into the nitty-gritty of the comings and goings of its early citizens not to be found elsewhere. Robert D. Wood, S.M., presents the first one hundred years of history and culture in Laredo up to the mid-nineteenth century, illuminating--with primary source evidence--the citizens’ beliefs, cultural values, efforts to make a living, political seesawing, petty quarreling, and constant struggles against local Indians. He also details rebellious military and invading foreigners among the early settlers and later townspeople. Scholars and students of Texas and Mexican American history, as well as the Laredoans celebrating the 250th anniversary (in 2005) of Laredo’s founding, will welcome this volume. “Although there have been a number of books on the history of Laredo, this particular study is far more thorough than any previous work. Life in Laredo is imaginatively organized, exceptionally well researched, and well written. No individual knows the Laredo Archives as well as Robert Wood, and his knowledge and understanding are readily evident. This book will be of interest to anyone studying the history of the Texas-Mexico border, Texas colonial history, or just Texas history in general.”--Jerry D. Thompson, author of A Wild and Vivid Land: An Illustrated History of the South Texas Border and Laredo: A Pictorial History

Life of the Marlows Cover

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Life of the Marlows

A True Story of Frontier Life of Early Days

Revised by William Rathmell. Edited with an Introduction and Annotations by Robert K. DeArment

The story of the five Marlow brothers and their tribulations in late nineteenth-century Texas is the stuff of Old West legend (and served to inspire the John Wayne movie, The Sons of Katie Elder). Violent, full of intrigue, with characters of amazing heroism and deplorable cowardice, their story was first related by William Rathmell in Life of the Marlows, a little book published in 1892, shortly after the events it described in Young County, Texas. It told how Boone, the most reckless of the brothers, shot and killed a popular sheriff and escaped, only to be murdered later by bounty hunters. The other four brothers, arrested as accessories and jailed, made a daring break from confinement but were recaptured. Once back in their cells, they were forced to fight off a mob intent on lynching them. Later, shackled together, the Marlows were placed on wagons by officers late at night, bound for another town, but they were ambushed by angry citizens. In the resulting battle two of the brothers were shot and killed, the other two severely wounded, and three mob members died. The surviving brothers eventually were exonerated, but members of the mob that had attacked them were prosecuted in cases that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. The original 1892 edition and expanded reprint of 1931 are both quite scarce. Later writers drew upon Rathmell’s account when telling the story of the Marlows, but all accounts were slanted sympathetically toward them, given the same bias by Rathmell. Now Robert K. DeArment, a noted historian of outlaws and lawmen of the West, has sifted through the evidence and presents herein an objective, annotated edition of Life of the Marlows , which contains extensive clarifying and corrective footnotes and an index. Now the complete story can be told and readers can judge for themselves: were the Marlows as law-abiding as Rathmell claims? Or was the mob reacting with justified anger?

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