For twenty years, grassroots historian C. L. Sonnichsen went door to door through the backcountry of east and south-central Texas to coax tales from reluctant informants and peruse county documents on the colorful feuds that bloodied the state's early history. From these human explosions emerged legendary gangs such as the Regulators, Moderators, Hoodoos, Heel Flies, and Boots. Personal vengeance righted intolerable wrongs and settled unbearable grievances. Sonnichsen notes, "The men who fought these battles were mostly pretty good people," but they harshly stamped their otherwise normal lives with bloody vengeance. Dale L. Walker, Sonnichsen's biographer, sketches the author's life, historical craft, and publishing and teaching career.
C. L. Sonnichsen, 1901-1991, was the author of numerous books and a longtime professor of English at the University of Texas, El Paso.
The University of New Mexico Center for the American West