Legends of America

Follow the links to the various pages of Legends of America

The Old West Legends of America Outhouse Madness Ghostly Legends Outlaws Old West Saloons Rocky Mountain General Store Legends Photo Store The Book Store Route 66 Native Americans The Old States - Back East

Legends of America    |    Legends General Store    |    Legends Photo Shop


Legends Of America's Facebook PageLegends Of America's Twitter PageLegends on Pinterest

Legends Home

Site Map

What's New!!


Content Categories:

American History


Ghost Stories

Ghost Towns

Historic People

Legends & Myths

Native Americans

Old West

Photo Galleries

Route 66

Treasure Tales


   Search Our Sites

Custom Search



About Us


Article/Photo Use

Copyright Information


Facebook Page




Privacy Policy

Site Map

Writing Credits


We welcome corrections

and feedback!

Contact Us


Legends' General Store

Old West/Western

Route 66

Native American

Featured Items

Sale Items


CD's - DVD's

Nuwati Herbals


Wall Art

Custom Products

and Much More!


  Legends Of America's Rocky Mountain General Store - Cart View


Legends' Photo Prints

Legends Photo Prints and Downloads

Ghost Town Prints

Native American Prints

Old West Prints

Route 66 Prints

States, Cities & Places

Nostalgic Prints

Photo Art Prints

Jim Hinckley's America

David Fisk (Lens of Fisk)

Specials-Gift Ideas

and Much More!!

Legends Of America's Photo Print Shop - Cart View


Family Friendly Site













Texas State Flag - Lone Star Legends IconTEXAS LEGENDS

The Regulator-Moderator War of East Texas

Custom Postage Stamps From Legends' Photos

  Bookmark and Share


The first major feud to break out in Texas was born during Texas’ days as a republic. For years, a strip of land in East Texas that bordered Louisiana and Mexico had been ignored by Spanish, Mexican and Texas authorities. By the time Texas became a republic, the swatch of land had developed into a lawless place where land frauds, cattle rustlers, and killings were common.


In attempt to control the rampant crime, a group of vigilantes formed who called themselves the "Regulators,” but this group was so extreme in their attempts to stop the crime, that another group of counter-vigilantes soon formed to "moderate” the Regulators. Before long, each faction grew to include sympathizers from miles away, spreading the "war,” which had been primarily located in just Harrison and Shelby counties, to involve Nacogdoches, San Augustine and other East Texas counties.


Texas Vigilantes

A Texas vigilante court is about to hang a gang member

that shot up a saloon in a dispute over a prisoner taken

by the sheriff. From Frank Leslie's Illustrated

Newspaper, November 12, 1881.


Leading the "Regulators” were two men by the names of Charles W. Jackson and Charles Watt Moorman. The whole affair began with a dispute between a man named Joseph Goodbread and Sheriff Alfred George in 1840. When the sheriff asked for Charles Jackson’s assistance in the matter, Jackson shot and killed Goodbread. Ironically, Jackson, a former Mississippi riverboat captain, was a fugitive himself from Louisiana. Arrested for Goodbread’s killing, Jackson was released pending a trial. Some time later, he organized the Regulators to rid the area of cattle rustling. Soon afterwards, the Moderators were formed with principal leaders of the Moderators were Edward Merchant, John M. Bradley and Deputy Sheriff James J. Cravens.  

On July 12, 1841, Charles Jackson’s trial for the killing of Goodbread was scheduled before Judge John M. Hansford in Harrison County, Texas. Hansford had been a friend of Goodbread’s and was a well known supporter of the Moderator faction. Jackson’s friends, figuring that the man would not get a fair trial before Judge Hansford, arrived at the courthouse armed to the teeth. When Hansford saw the armed men, he fled the courthouse, leaving a note for the local sheriff stating: "I am unwilling to risk my person in the courthouse any longer, when I see myself surrounded by bravos and hired assassins.” The trial ended before it even began.

This, of course, enraged the Moderators, who soon took matters into their own hands, ambushing and killing Jackson, as well as an innocent bystander by the name of Lauer. Afterwards, the violence escalated, when the Regulators burned the homes of two families siding with the Moderators. Charles Watt Moorman, allegedly a fugitive from Mississippi, now led the Regulators, spreading the reign of terror north into Panola and Harrison counties, hanging Moderators and driving others out of the area. The group soon numbered so many men that Moorman actually considered overthrowing the Texas government and declaring himself the dictator. In the meantime, residents were beginning to live in constant fear.

In October, 1841, Moorman led a party to avenge the Jackson-Lauer killing, surprising the assassins 25 miles north of Crockett. "Arresting” the McFadden brothers, all were hanged with the exception of the youngest brother.


In the meantime, articles of impeachment had been filed against Judge John Hansford for his failure at bringing Jackson to trail. On January 19, 1842, Hansford left office to escape the impeachment and retired on his farm near Jonesville. Two years later, a mob of regulators appeared at his house, demanding possession of some slaves that he was holding under a writ of sequestration. When Hansford refused to hand over the slaves, the Regulators killed him.


In August, 1844, more than 200 Moderators attacked some 60 Regulators near Shelbyville in what became known as the Church Hill Battle.

Finally, President Sam Houston had had enough. Previous to this time, Houston had stated: "I think it advisable to declare Shelby County, Tenaha, and Terrapin Neck free and independent governments, and let them fight it out." However, by this time, Houston was working to annex the Republic of Texas with the United States. The Civil War taking place in east Texas was not helping matters and on August 15, 1844, he ordered state militia to Shelby County to put an end to the "war.”

Though there was some initial resistance from both sides, but the show of force by the Republic put an end to the conflict. Leaders from both sides were arrested, including Charles Watt Moorman. Some years later after his release, Moorman was shot and killed in Louisiana in 1850.


© Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated September, 2010.


From Legends' General Store

Outdoor, Sports & Travel products from Legends' General StoreOutdoor, Sports & Travel - Perfect items for outdoor, sports-minded, and traveling individuals. From camping gear to football, fishing to golf, the outback grill, and the business traveler, there's something here for everyone. See gifts, decor, practical, and whimsical items.

Outdoor, Sports & Travel products from Legends' General Store


                                                            Copyright © 2003-Present, www.Legends of America.com