From guns to gavels
Crime in Texas following the Civil War in 1865 until the1930s thrived in the absence of law officers, judges, courtrooms, or jails. Enforcement of laws was left to vigilantes and the hangman’s noose. Many times, lawmen were former outlaws. Society and the law had to mature together. From Guns to Gavels - How Justice Grew Up in the Outlaw West written by Bill Neal published by Texas Tech University Press tells the bloody story of crime and law enforcement from the Wild West to the Great Depression. The areas of the state discussed by Neal are the Red River borderlands between the Indian lands and North Texas. Huge ranches cover much of this territory.
Several prominent western characters such as Burk Burnett, owner of the gigantic 6666 Ranch and famous Ranger Captains such as Bill Mc-Donald , John R. Hughes, John Brooks, and John H. Rogers have been carefully researched and their stories are interestingly told. Burnett was involved in several murders and violence against “homesteaders.” Burnett was poorly educated, but had a keen business mind. He leased 300,000 acres of grassland from Quanah Parker, chief of the Comanches for 61/2 cent per acre and built Parker a gigantic ranch house in appreciation for the very low price.
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