East Texas Troubles
The Allred Rangers’ Cleanup of San Augustine
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
210 Pages | 6 x 9 | 22 b&w illus., 1 map
After the hardware store shootings, white community leaders, formerly silenced by fear of the gang’s retribution, finally sought state intervention. In 1935, fresh-faced, newly elected governor James V. Allred made good on his promise to reform state law enforcement agencies by sending a team of qualified Texas Rangers to San Augustine County to investigate reports of organized crime. In East Texas Troubles, historian Jody Edward Ginn tells of their year-and-a-half-long cleanup of the county, the inaugural effort in Governor Allred’s transformation of the Texas Rangers into a professional law enforcement agency.
Besides foreshadowing the wholesale reform of state law enforcement, the Allred Rangers’ investigative work in San Augustine marked a rare close collaboration between white law enforcement officers and black residents. Drawing on firsthand accounts and the sworn testimony of black and white residents in the resulting trials, Ginn examines the consequences of such cooperation in a region historically entrenched in racial segregation.
In this story of a rural Texas community’s resurrection, Ginn reveals a multifaceted history of the reform of the Texas Rangers and of an unexpected alliance between the legendary frontier lawmen and black residents of the Jim Crow South.
“Jody Ginn tells the amazing true story of how the Texas Rangers brought to justice a group of white criminals who were robbing and killing black citizens in deep East Texas in the 1930s during the Jim Crow era. An exceptionally researched and masterfully written history, East Texas Troubles is a must-read for every Texas history buff.”—Joe B. Davis, Texas Ranger (retired) and President, Former Texas Rangers Foundation
In East Texas Troubles, Jody Ginn presents a riveting account of a little-known but murderous clash between the forces of good and evil in a backwoods county during the 1930s. The vicious McClanahan-Burleson gang ruthlessly dominated the population of San Augustine, audaciously committing robbery, extortion, assault, and murder—until confronted and overwhelmed by a no-nonsense detachment of recently reorganized Texas Rangers.—Bill O’Neal, author of Encyclopedia of Western Gunfighters and War in East Texas: Regulators vs. Moderators
“In mining a subject previously untouched by historians so comprehensively, Jody Ginn has written a book without rival: an honest portrayal of a small American town crippled by a handful of local criminals that resurrects itself with the help of an outside agency commanding greater law enforcement power than it can muster. It’s an absorbing, heroic story that might have happened anywhere, and Ginn tells it with skill and accuracy, taking in the whole scope of human elements involved.”—William Seale, author of Texas Riverman: The Life and Times of Captain Andrew Smyth
“Readers of the Old West and true crime stories will appreciate this sordid tale of outlawry and the lawmen who put a stop to it.” – Book Beat with Marie Beth Jones
“Rooted in deep research and good writing, this volume of mostly unknown and previously unwritten Texas Ranger history is a must read for anyone interested in the organization. It provides a relevant, hard look at racism, and the necessity of an impartial outfit like the Texas Rangers to bring peace and justice to citizens who deserve it.”—Roundup Magazine, Western Writers of America
“If you are interested in the history of East Texas or if you are interested in the history of law enforcement in Texas, you will want to read this book.”— Concho River Review
“[Ginn] does not romanticize Ranger interactions with Black San Augustinians or suggest they led to permanent racial healing, and his book is an objective and well-told chronicle of Ranger professionalism that briefly overrode social prejudice.”— Southwestern Historical Quarterly