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 zone built a name as a harsh frontier the place grit and tenacity grew to become necessary 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 armed forces from the contested land to prevent struggle. Intensifying its recognition, the quarter served as an authentic buffer area. with no the safety of an army presence, citizens fast learned they might have to guard and govern themselves. quickly, tight-knit groups shaped, and citizens built a reliance on self, kinfolk, and neighbor.In the early 1900s, the trees 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, trees staff, unionists, and a number of alternative characters, resembling the outlaw leather-based Britches Smith. The entrenched neighborhood citizens quickly faced not just those new neighborhood participants but additionally a dynamic cultural second that struck a defining blow within the making of the quarter. That second keeps to form the place’s cultural recognition, and folks model a lore hooked up 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 existence to the impartial Strip’s formation. LeJeune retells each one degree of Smith’s lifestyles: his infamous prior, 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 background, and his eventual demise. because the outlaw’s lifestyles vividly unfolds, the ebook additionally finds the area’s background and cultural panorama. usually utilizing the details of 1 small city as a consultant instance, the ebook explores how the area recollects and reinterprets the prior as a way to navigate a global altering rapidly.Drawing from newspapers, courtroom documents, and a decade of interviews and commentary, LeJeune deals a penetrating exam of the interaction among legend and position, exploring Smith’s personal existence, this specific ancient second, and the place’s mysterious panorama. The publication additionally considers how modern gala's and other kinds of cultural history hire the legend as a cultural recourse. to stick bright and significant, tradition continuously re-makes itself; the following, the outlaw occupies an important position within the re-creation.Texas Folklore Society additional booklet quantity 23“LeJeune makes use of a truly strange process mixing historic files and bills, oral histories, historiography, and folkloric easy methods 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 significant Louisiana and the historiography of the region.”—Gary D. Joiner, writer of throughout the Howling barren region: The 1864 pink 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 recognize 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. regularly for the Underdog can be of curiosity to all people who find themselves serious about the yankee outlaw-hero.”—Barry Ancelet, writer of Cajun and Creole Folktales“Based on my event instructing introductory folklore university classes, i do know that scholars have hassle realizing what a legend is. LeJeune’s publication could make an exceptional textual content simply because he is taking the reader step-by-step throughout the evolution of the leather-based Britches legend, in a transparent and easy manner that starting scholars may simply grasp.”—Lee Winniford, writer of Following outdated Fencelines
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Extra info for Always for the Underdog: Leather Britches Smith and the Grabow War (Texas Folklore Society Extra Book)
I would not think of that short conversation again until the following December. The 1998 Christmas season in Louisiana came in as we all expected. The heat of the summer and early fall faded far enough into memory as a few cold spells swept in and stayed for a little while. Convinced of winter’s hold, people kept their coats on coat racks stationed near front doors and stacked firewood on back porches. Since it felt enough like Christmas, people allowed the Christmas spirit to take hold of them.
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. We met at the library. The woman said she was reluctant for us to come to her home, but after we visited a while, she told us she felt better about us.
In the past, when facing a crime, outlaws crossed the Sabine from one jurisdiction to another as a sure way to avoid capture. The river offered a similar safe haven for Leather Britches Smith. Many claim Leather Britches to have been a Texas outlaw who crossed the river to escape justice and, on some occasions, crossed back into Texas during his career to escape pursuers in Louisiana. 14 This intersection begins with the controversy over Smith’s start. As is the case with many outlaws, Smith’s actual identity—his true past and his real name—sparks debate, and conversations about Smith often speculate about it.
Always for the Underdog: Leather Britches Smith and the Grabow War (Texas Folklore Society Extra Book) by Keagan LeJeune