No Hope for Heaven, No Fear of Hell
The Stafford-Townsend Feud of Colorado County, Texas, 1871-1911
Texas History - Southern History
6 x 9, 352 pp.
44 b&w illus. Map. Notes.
Pub Date: 09/23/2016
Texas Local Series
Price:        $29.95

Price:        $21.95


Published by University of North Texas Press

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No Hope for Heaven, No Fear of Hell

The Stafford-Townsend Feud of Colorado County, Texas, 1871-1911

James C. Kearney, Bill Stein, and James Smallwood

Two family names have come to be associated with the violence that plagued Colorado County, Texas, for decades after the end of the Civil War: the Townsends and the Staffords. Both prominent families amassed wealth and achieved status, but it was their resolve to hold on to both, by whatever means necessary, including extra-legal means, that sparked the feud. Elected office was one of the paths to success, but more important was control of the sheriff’s office, which gave one a decided advantage should the threat of gun violence arise.

No Hope for Heaven, No Fear of Hell concentrates on those individual acts of private justice associated with the Stafford and Townsend families. It began with an 1871 shootout in Columbus, followed by the deaths of the Stafford brothers in 1890. The second phase blossomed after 1898 with the assassination of Larkin Hope, and concluded in 1911 with the violent deaths of Marion Hope, Jim Townsend, and Will Clements, all in the space of one month.

JAMES C. KEARNEY currently teaches at the University of Texas in Austin. He is the author of Nassau Plantation; co-editor of Journey to Texas, 1833; and translator and editor of Friedrichsburg: The Colony of the German Fürstenverein. BILL STEIN was director and archivist at the Nesbitt Memorial Library in Columbus. JAMES SMALLWOOD was professor of history at Oklahoma State University and the author of more than twenty books on Texas history.


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