East Texas Troubles
The Allred Rangers’ Cleanup of San Augustine
$29.95 Hardcover

When the gun smoke cleared, four men were found dead at the hardware store in a rural East Texas town. But this December 1934 shootout was no anomaly. San Augustine County had seen at least three others in the previous three years, and these murders in broad daylight were only the latest development in the decade-long rule of the criminal McClanahan-Burleson gang. Armed with handguns, Jim Crow regulations, and corrupt special Ranger commissions from infamous governors “Ma” and “Pa” Ferguson, the gang racketeered and bootlegged its way into power in San Augustine County, where it took up robbing and extorting local black sharecroppers as its main activity.

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.

About The Author
A former law enforcement officer, Jody Edward Ginn teaches history at Austin Community College and is a mulitmedia consultant, writer, and producer. He coauthored Palmito Ranch: From Civil War Battlefield to National Historic Landmark.
Robert M. Utley served in the National Park Service for 25 years in various capacities, including Chief Historian from 1964 to 1972. Since his retirement from the federal government in 1980, he has devoted himself full-time to historical research and writing with a specialty in the American West. He is author, among many articles and books he has published, of Cavalier in Buckskin: George Armstrong Custer and the Western Military Frontier, Revised Edition; Billy the Kid: A Short and Violent Life; Lone Star Lawmen: The Second Century of the Texas Rangers; and The Commanders: Civil War Generals Who Shaped the American West. A founder of the Western History Association, Utley has served on its governing council and as its president.

Reviews & Praise
“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

Book Information
22 b&w illus., 1 map
210 Pages
Hardcover 978-0-8061-6291-1
Kindle 978-0-8061-6515-8
e-pub 978-0-8061-6547-9
Published July 2019
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