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Murder in Montague
Frontier Justice and Retribution in Texas
$21.95 Paperback

On a sweltering August night in 1876, Methodist minister William England, his wife, Selena, and two of her children were brutally slaughtered in their North Texas home. Acting on Selena’s deathbed testimony, a neighbor, his brother-in-law, and a friend were arrested and tried for the murders. Murder in Montague tells the story of this gruesome crime and its murky aftermath. In this engrossing blend of true crime reporting, social drama, and legal history, author Glen Sample Ely presents a vivid snapshot of frontier justice and retribution in Texas following the Civil War.

The sheer brutality of the Montague murders terrified settlers already traumatized by decades of chaos, violence, and fear—from the deadly raids of Comanche and Kiowa Indians to the terrors of vigilantes, lynchings, and Reconstruction lawlessness. But the crime's aftermath—involving five Texas governors, five trials at Montague and Gainesville, five appeals to the Texas Court of Appeals, and three life sentences at hard labor in the state's abominable and inhumane prison system—offered little in the way of reassurance or resolution.

Viewed from any perspective, the 1876 England family murders were both a human tragedy and a miscarriage of justice. Combining the long view of history and the intimate detail of true crime reporting, Murder in Montague deftly captures this moment of reckoning in the story of Texas, as vigilante justice grudgingly gave way to an established system of law and order.

About The Author
Glen Sample Ely is the award-winning author of The Texas Frontier and the Butterfield Overland Mail, 18581861 and Where the West Begins: Debating Texas Identity.

Reviews & Praise
“Glen Ely’s Murder in Montague is an intricate, dazzling, historical true-crime whodunit. Ely examines the reasons for the extraordinary level of violence in Texas and the specific reasons for the slaughter of four members of the England family. He also details the travails of those convicted and offers a fascinating coda to this long-forgotten murder. Murder in Montague is a compelling, propulsive history.”—Michael Ariens author of Lone Star Law: A Legal History of Texas

Book Information
15 b&w illus., 1 map
166 Pages
Paperback 978-0-8061-6709-1
Kindle 978-0-8061-6771-8
e-pub 978-0-8061-6775-6
Published August 2020
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