John B. Denton

The Bigger-Than-Life Story of the Fighting Parson and Texas Ranger

978-1-57441-840-8 Cloth
6 x 9 x 0 in
256 pp. 6 b&w illus. 5 maps. Notes.
Pub Date: 10/15/2021
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Denton County and the City of Denton are named for pioneer preacher, lawyer, and Indian fighter John B. Denton, but little has been known about him. He was an orphan in frontier Arkansas who became a circuit-riding Methodist preacher and an important member of a movement of early settlers bringing civilization to North Texas. After becoming a ranger on the frontier, he ultimately was killed in the Tarrant Expedition, a Texas Ranger raid on a series of villages inhabited by various Caddoan and other tribes near Village Creek on May 24, 1841.

Denton’s true story has been lost or obscured by the persistent mythologizing by publicists for Texas, especially by pulp western writer Alfred W. Arrington. Cochran separates the truth from the myth in this meticulous biography, which also contains a detailed discussion of the controversy surrounding the burial of John B. Denton and offers some alternative scenarios for what happened to his body after his death on the frontier.

Texas Local Series

Published by University of North Texas Press