Brush Men and Vigilantes: Civil War Dissent in Texas (Sam Rayburn Series on Rural Life)

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9780890969236: Brush Men and Vigilantes: Civil War Dissent in Texas (Sam Rayburn Series on Rural Life)

As Charles Frazier's novel Cold Mountain dramatized, dissenters from the Confederacy lived in mortal danger throughout the South. In scattered pockets from the Carolinas to the frontier in Texas, some men who clung to a belief in the Union or an unwillingness to preserve the slaveholding Confederacy died at the hands of their own neighbors. Brush Men and Vigilantes tells the story of how dissent, fear, and economics developed into mob violence in a corner of Texas -- the Sulphur Forks river valley northeast of Dallas.Authors David Pickering and Judy Falls have combed through court records, newspapers, letters, and other primary sources and have collected extended-family lore to relate the details of how vigilantes captured and killed more than a dozen men. Unlike most other parts of Texas, at the onset of the Civil War the Sulphur Forks river valley had a significant population of Upper Southerners, some of whom spoke out against secession, objected to enlisting in the Confederate army, or associated with "Union men". For some of these dissenters safety meant disappearing into the tangled brush thickets of the region.Betrayed by links to a well-known Union guerrilla from the Sulphur Forks area, some of these men were captured, tried in mock courts, and hanged. Still others met their death by sniper fire or private execution, as did brush man Frank Chamblee, who after cleverly eluding his enemies for several years, was finally gunned down after the war, reportedly by one of the area's most prominent men.This carefully researched and well-written account not only tells the story of the brush men's ordeal, but also provides insight into the emotions and thought processes of theTexans who resorted to extralegal means to protect their communities from all enemies, even imaginary ones. Anyone with an interest in the new history of the Civil War or of Texas should find much to digest in this compelling book.

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About the Author:

The late David Pickering had a long career as a newspaper journalist, primarily with the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Judy Falls is an award-winning teacher at Cooper High School in northeast Texas.

Review:

". . . a fine example of how . . . local history can personalize the great events of politics and war." -- Journal of Southern History

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Pickering, David, Falls, Judy
Published by Texas A&M University Press (2000)
ISBN 10: 089096923X ISBN 13: 9780890969236
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Pickering, David; Falls, Judy
Published by Texas A&M University Press
ISBN 10: 089096923X ISBN 13: 9780890969236
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