Though feuds and range wars in
were not uncommon during the days of the
the longest and bloodiest was the Sutton-Taylor Feud, which arose out of bitter
feelings following the
Some accounts say that the Sutton and Taylor families were both from South
Carolina where the feud began as early as the 1840’s, though no written evidence
supports this, other than the speculation of journalists of the time.
But, of the "war” in DeWitt County,
there is no doubt. The area, which was in the midst of "Reconstruction”
was, for its citizens a time of turmoil, rather than of "rebuilding.” Disputes
between neighbors were rampant over land boundaries, cattle ownership, and water
rights; outlaws were running amuck; and Vigilante Groups, frequently little
better than the outlaws themselves; were often the only "law” to be found.
Making matters worse was a general
depression, drought, and poor crops, but in the midst of this, were also soaring
cattle prices which soon made many a young man into a cowboy, or alternatively,
a cattle rustler. DeWitt County was in chaos and ripe for an old fashioned feud.
DeWitt County Courthouse in Cuero,
Larry D. Moore, courtesy