The Sutton-Taylor Feud
The Deadliest Blood Feud in Texas
Texas History
6 x 9, 400 pp.
46 b&w illus. Map. Notes.
Pub Date: 06/15/2013
A.C. Greene Series
Price:        $19.95


Published by University of North Texas Press

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The Sutton-Taylor Feud

The Deadliest Blood Feud in Texas

By Chuck Parsons

The Sutton-Taylor Feud of DeWitt, Gonzales, Karnes, and surrounding counties began shortly after the Civil War ended. The blood feud continued into the 1890s when the final court case was settled with a governmental pardon. Of all the Texas feuds, the one between the Sutton and Taylor forces lasted longer and covered more ground than any other. William E. Sutton was the only Sutton involved, but he had many friends to wage warfare against the large Taylor family. The causes are still shrouded in mystery and legend, as both sides argued they were just and right. In April 1868 Charles Taylor and James Sharp were shot down in Bastrop County, alleged horse thieves attempting to escape. During this period many men were killed "while attempting to escape." The killing on Christmas Eve 1868 of Buck Taylor and Dick Chisholm was perhaps the final spark that turned hard feelings into fighting with bullets and knives. William Sutton was involved in both killings. "Who sheds a Taylor's blood, by a Taylor's hand must fall" became a fact of life in South Texas. Violent acts between the two groups now followed. The military reacted against the killing of two of their soldiers in Mason County by Taylors. The State Police committed acts that were not condoned by their superiors in Austin. Mobs formed in Comanche County in retaliation for John Wesley Hardin's killing of a Brown County deputy sheriff. One mob "liberated" three prisoners from the DeWitt County jail, thoughtfully hanging them close to the cemetery for the convenience of their relatives. An ambush party killed James Cox, slashing his throat from ear to ear—as if the buckshot in him was not sufficient. A doctor and his son were called from their home and brutally shot down. Texas Rangers attempted to quell the violence, but when they were called away, the killing began again. In this definitive study of the Sutton-Taylor Feud, Chuck Parsons demonstrates that the violence between the two sides was in the tradition of the family blood feud, similar to so many other nineteenth-century American feuds. His study is well augmented with numerous illustrations and appendices detailing the feudists, their attempts at treaties, and their victims.

CHUCK PARSONS was born and raised in Iowa and Minnesota. His books include John B. Armstrong: Texas Ranger, Pioneer Rancher; Texas Ranger N. O. Reynolds; Captain L. H. McNelly, Texas Ranger; Bowen and Hardin; Clay Allison: Portrait of a Shootist; and The Capture of John Wesley Hardin. Parsons is editor of the Wild West History Association Saddlebag.

What Readers Are Saying:

"Chuck Parsons is a true Texan whose writing of Texas history and the Texas Rangers is superb, always interesting and well researched so the reader gets the true facts."  -- H. Joaquin Jackson, coauthor of One Ranger A Texan by Choice

“Spawned in the hell fires of Civil War, the Sutton-Taylor conflict is a harrowing tale of murder and revenge, human frailty, and the abuse of power. For the first time, award winning historian Chuck Parsons has provided an in-depth account of this feud, free of bias, folklore, and modern preconceived agendas.” --David Johnson

“Texas was the site of more blood feuds than any other frontier state or territory, and no conflict lasted as long or produced as many fatalities as the Sutton-Taylor feud. Chuck Parson, a veteran author of outlaw-lawman history, has assembled a wealth of details about the notorious characters and dramatic events of this titanic Texas clash.” --Bill O’Neal

“Chuck Parsons has become an acknowledged authority on the history of outlaws and lawmen in Texas in the late 1800s. Although some writers see the Sutton-Taylor feud in terms of a crime ring and the peace officers who pursued, Parsons examines the feud as a bloody conflict between two families and their sympathizers which lasted for several generations.” --Harold J. Weiss Jr.

“Early Texas was notorious for bitter and bloody feuds. Chuck Parsons, noted historian, takes us through the Sutton-Taylor feud, one of the longest and worst.” --Elmer Kelton

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