Growing up near the Sabine, journalist Wes Ferguson, like most East Texans, steered clear of its murky, debris-filled waters, where alligators lived in the backwater sloughs and an occasional body was pulled from some out-of-the-way crossing. The Sabine held a reputation as a haunt for a handful of hunters and loggers, more than a few water moccasins, swarms of mosquitoes, and the occasional black bear lumbering through swamp oak and cypress knees.
But when Ferguson set out to do a series of newspaper stories on the upper portion of the river, he and photographer Jacob Croft Botter were entranced by the river’s subtle beauty and the solitude they found there. They came to admire the self-described “river rats” who hunted, fished, and swapped stories along the muddy water—plain folk who love the Sabine as much as Hill Country vacationers love the clear waters of the Guadalupe. Determined to travel the rest of the river, Ferguson and Botter loaded their gear and launched into the stretch of river that charts the line between the states and ends at the Gulf of Mexico.
WES FERGUSON is a journalist, freelance writer, and newspaper editor in Kilgore. His work has been published by the Texas Observer, Texas Co-op Power, Longview News-Journal, Hays Free Press, and other newspapers. JACOB CROFT BOTTER is an award-winning photographer and photography teacher. He has served as adjunct faculty at Louisiana State and Tulane Universities and worked as a photojournalist for the Longview News-Journal. He has exhibited at venues throughout Louisiana and Texas and is the co-founder of The Backyard Gallery in Baton Rouge.
What Readers Are Saying:
“The Sabine River has been like an artery to my heart for many years, and I felt I knew it, but Wes Ferguson’s new book, which compares favorably to John Graves Goodbye to a River, is a shining example of travelogue, history, and a fine piece of Americana, and it taught me I know far less about the Sabine than I thought. I adored this book. It’s a good clean picture of a long, brown snake of a river. I heartily recommend it.”—Joe R. Lansdale, author, The Thicket
“In this rollicking narrative, Wes Ferguson profiles the hard scrabble souls drawn to the Sabine’s haunted currents. Ferguson writes with sly humor and a generous heart, bringing this neglected corner of Texas to life.”—Steve Davis, author, J. Frank Dobie: A Liberated Mind and Texas Literary Outlaws
“Ferguson’s book is an evocative piece of writing and photography that reveals the richness of an unknown culture also shared with our Texas neighbors.”—Louisiana Life
“Under Ferguson’s wry humor and superb eye for detail the Sabine comes alive and takes on a personality all its own. Botter’s photographs bring the people and the river to life. If you choose to run the Sabine, you could hardly have better companions than Ferguson and Botter.”—Texas Books in Review
“If you like a good outdoors story, check out Running the River: Secrets of the Sabine by Wes Ferguson, with color photographs by Jacob Croft Botter.”—The Eagle
“I’m… in love with trees and water, and his descriptive passages that made me really experience a moment in a beautiful place were thrilling to me. I wanted to go there and be there in that place and feel that air or water, or see that moon or the leaves of those trees.”— Dianne Wassenich