Worst Feud by
a quick history question? What was the most famous and deadly feud in the United
The Hatfields and McCoys? Nope.
The Johnson County War
of Wyoming? Wrong again.
The Earp, Clanton and McLaury feud? You're still
The deadliest feud happened in East Texas between 1840 and 1844.
and Moderators War was the first and largest American feud in numbers of participants
and fatalities. No other nineteenth century feud anywhere in the US produced as
many casualties as the Regulators and Moderators.
But the East Texas feud
that ranged across Shelby, Harrison and Panola counties never quite captured the
public's imagination as well as the other famous conflicts.
to a new book,"War in East Texas: Regulators vs Moderators," by Carthage
author Bill O'Neal, the violent years of the Regulator and Moderators has finally
been examined and explored with the depth it deserves.
|At the peak of the
violence, the sheriff of Harrison County was murdered. So was the founder of Marshall,
as well as a frontier district judge. And Texas Senator Robert Potter, a signer
of the Texas Declaration of Independence, was slain by Regulators at his home
on Caddo Lake.|
Courts ceased to operate and anarchy reigned in Shelby
County, Panola District and Harrison County. Only the personal intervention of
President Sam Houston and an invasion of Shelby Country by 600 members of the
militia of the Republic of Texas brought an end to the bloodshed.
O'Neal, an old friend, was the perfect author to tackle the country's worst blood
feud. His most recent book, "The Johnson County War," was named Book of the Year
by the National Association of Outlaw and Lawmen History for 2005.|
War had its roots in the so-called Neutral Ground that existed between Louisiana
and Spain along the Sabine River. The area soon became a haven for fugitives from
Even after the Adams-Onis
Treaty of 1819 established a boundary between Texas and Louisiana, the violence
the Neutral Ground had spawned persisted in East Texas and by the time the Republic
of Texas began dispersing land grants, the area included land pirates, counterfeiters,
murderers, slave stealers, horse thieves, and violent thugs.
war, more than 30 men were killed in assassinations, lynchings, ambushes, street
fights and pitched battles.
For a copy of "War in East Texas," contact
the East Texas Historical Association in Nacogdoches, 936-468-2407, or Best of
East Texas Publishers in Lufkin, 936-634-7444. Proceeds from the book are being
donated to the Association.
Things Historical >
October 15, 2006 Column
Published with permission
(Distributed by the
East Texas Historical Association. Bob Bowman of Lufkin is a former president
of the Association and the author of more than 30 books about East Texas.)