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Chuck Lanehart Publishes Historical Book on Lubbock and the South Plains

We are excited to announce the arrival of Chuck’s latest book: Tragedy and Triumph on the Texas Plains: Curious Historic Chronicles from Murders to Movies. Pickup a copy at Barnes & Noble, Amazon or request it at a local bookstore.

For those who have followed the Caprock Chronicles in the Lubbock Avalanche Journal, you would be familiar with Chuck’s writing and historical accounts of actual events. Significant events that shaped the past and future of West Texas, its citizens and early settlers.

In Tragedy and Triumph on the Texas Plains, much of the book focuses on outlaw misdeeds, the criminal justice system on the frontier and the aftermath years later.

Notable court cases include Lubbock’s First Murder trial: State vs. William E Taylor to Lubbock’s first execution and last hanging on the panhandle.

The topics and material uncovered by Chuck make this historical nonfiction entertaining to read. At the same time, there are many myths debunked and insights to learn from the recent past in the Texas Panhandle.

Here’s a quiz on some of our favorite myths and facts from the book:

  1. True or False. Lynchings and mob violence were common outcomes for outlaws on the Texas Panhandle? False.

  2. What was the verdict for Lubbock’s first murder trial where the defense attorney argued self-defense? Not Guilty.

  3. What was the sermon a preacher from Carson County gave before poisoning his wife? “The Wages of Sin is Death!”

  4. What were the crimes committed by the first and last hanging on the Panhandle? Two murders on a train, after committing arson of a friend’s house with dynamite to cover up the theft of money from his employer.

Below are the Chapters that Highlight Law and Crime

Chapter 2. Killings and Controversies of the Texas Plains Frontier 

Solving the First Homicide on the South Plains 27

The Baddest Outlaw of the West 30

The Last Hanging in the Panhandle 32

Debunking Vigilante Violence Myths of the Texas Plains 36

Lubbock’s First Murder Trial: State vs. William E. Taylor 39

Chapter 3. Love Affairs and Liquor Lead to Murder 

The Preacher Who Poisoned his Wife 42

The Saga of Slippery Sam Cates, Crosby County’s Crafty Miscreant 47

Murder on the Courthouse Steps: The Payne-Rippy Feud 54

Lubbock’s First Execution: A Love Affair Gone Wrong 59

Chapter 4. Biggest South Plains Trials of the Twentieth Century 

Lach Case among Lubbock’s Most Notorious Murders 62

Lynn County Case Among Last Capital Rape Executions 65

Homer Maxey’s Lawsuit: Lubbock’s Longest and Largest 70

The Richest Men in the World Once Faced Trial in Lubbock 72

The Dirty Movie Wars: Last Tango in Lubbock 77

Chapter 5. Lawyers and Their Haunts 

Temple Houston: Prairie Dog Lawyer of the Plains 81

As Lubbock Grew, So Did Its Jails 83

The First Lubbock County Courthouse 86

Daniel Boone’s Relative: First Female Lubbock Lawyer 89

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