The Texas Sheriff: Lord of the County Line

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University of Oklahoma Press, Jan 20, 2006 - History - 272 pages
3 Reviews

The Texas Sheriff takes a fresh, colorful, and insightful look at Texas law enforcement during the decades before 1960. In the first half of the twentieth century, rural Texas was a strange, often violent, and complicated place. Nineteenth-century lifestyles persisted, blood relationships made a difference, and racial apartheid was still rigidly enforced.

Citizens expected their county sheriff to uphold local customs as well as state laws. He had to help constituents with their personal problems, which often had little or nothing to do with law enforcement. The rural sheriff served as his county’s “Mr. Fixit,” its resident “good old boy,” and the lord of an intricate rural society.

Basing his interpretations on primary sources and extensive interviews, Thad Sitton explores the dual nature of Texas sheriffs, demonstrating their far-reaching power both to do good and to abuse the law.


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This book captivated me from beginning to end. Thad Sitton's narrative pulls you into the action and mores of a bygone era where the term High Sheriff had teeth.

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Grandad was an awesome man!!!! Miss him!!


Politics First Terms and More Politics
Life in the Jail and Trade Craft
Whiskey and Blood
A Friend at the Courthouse
Last Days of the High Sheriff

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About the author (2006)

Thad Sitton hold a Ph.D. from the University of Texas and is author of numerous articles and several award-winning books, including From Can See to Can't:Texas Cotton Farmers on the Southern Prairies and The Texas Sheriff: Lord of the County Line. The Texas Oral History Association honored him in 2001 with a lifetime Achievement Award.

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