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We make the following extract from a late English publication. The reader will readily perceive that the “ Hyenas” and “ Tigers” referred to are the Regulators and Lynchers of the South West. The Herod referred to had been, previous to the adventure, a pirate. These lawless bands are now seldom heard of, though the early settlements of Texas and the South Western States have been the theatre of numerous instances of the most heart-rending tragedies :

I was over in Washington county, arranging some business [1] connected with my marriage with Lucy, when I heard that Herod had turned out with the Hyenas to regulate the country. He announced that every man found with counterfeit notes in his possession should be tried by Lynch law and hung. I put up at a small inn, one night, near a wood yard. The hut of the wood chopper was within thirty yards of the tavern I slept in. About daybreak I was awoke by a great noise, and, looking out, I saw the Hyenas were upon us. They were all mounted and well armed, with Herod, in a green blanket-coat, at their head. I peeped cautiously through a loop, and discovered about fifty prisoners, their hands tied with cords behind their backs. One of the Hyenas knocked at the door of the wood chopper’s hut, and called out :

“ Jim Brown, turn up !”

“ Look out, you regulating scoundrels,” was the only reply, followed by a rifle shot, and the speaker fell dead beside Herod.

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Two pistol shots followed, and at a short interval, another discharge of a gun. The wood chopper, aided by his wife, was defending himself against the Hyenas. They flew to cover, and, unswinging their rifles set to work. But Brown kept close, and while all his shots told, theirs were useless. Herod stormed with rage, and, amid blasphemous oaths, bade his men break the woodman’s door open. Two advanced cautiously, with heavy logs in their hands, and casting them simultaneously, the door yielded. A general rush was made, and in five minutes more the door yielded. A general rush was made, and in five minutes more the old wood chopper and his wife were prisoners. Herod grinned a horrid smile, and had the three dead Hyenas and the five wounded carried into the inn, in the room of which I now stood. I and the landlord submitted to be searched, but as no counterfeit money was found on either him or me, we were not included among the prisoners. But Herod bade me, in a fierce voice, stay to the trial, in order that I might report to the Tigers how properly to regulate the country.

Lots were drawn and Lynch’s jury of thirteen were soon chosen, Herod being the judge, and the trial at once commenced. Old Brown, of Sixty-six Island, as he was called, was the first prisoner summoned, his wife being put at the bar beside him. The sturdy old wood cutter boldly told them that they were a set of brigands and thieves, worse than Merle, the Wanto Pirate ; and that he had every right to defend his house against their invasion. The wife refused to answer a word. The jury brought in a verdict of guilty, and Herod ordered them to be hanged. A tree stood near the inn door, and over the boughs of this several ropes had been thrown. The unfortunate couple made no resistance, and ten minutes later they had ceased to breathe.

Then took place one of the most fearful scenes I ever witnessed or heard of. The scoundrels, under Herod’s orders, took a log, nailed a board in the centre, and on this fastened the several heads of the husband and wife ; their bodies being
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strapped to the extremities of the log. The whole was sent afloat in the stream, to be picked up the next day at Montgomery’s Point, and make the whole world ring with horror against the Americans generally, because of the inhuman act of a band of monsters.

I need only add, that twenty-seven men were found guilty that day and hung, their only crime being their incapacity to distinguish bad from good paper money. I was grateful when Herod let me go with a message for Judge L—, to the effect that if next day he did not turn out with the Tigers and regulate White county, the Hyenas would come over and do it for him.

“ You may jist tell the old badger,” he added, “ that we’ll pay him a visit to-morrow, and it will clear my score against him, his daughter, and the Britisher who wants to marry her. He had better raise a good stake to buy me off.”

Though considerably startled, I intimated my readiness to carry his message, and five minutes later I was on my road, mounted on a good horse, and moving along towards a ferry some miles off.

I had not got very far away, when I heard the galloping of horses behind me, and I distinctly saw Herod and a half-a-dozen Hyenas in chase of me. Doubtless some one had told him who I was. I looked to my pistols, primed my rifle, and then gave whip to my horse, which was fresh and strong. I moved at a rattling pace, but still I heard the vagabonds behind me, though I could tell they were not gaining ground. My sole chance of safety was the ferry boat. If that was on the other side I was lost. Still I resolved to sell my life dearly. Away I flew, keeping my good steed up to the mark, and soon was in sight of the ferry. The boat was about to start with several passengers and one horse. I now knew that if old Jerry saw Herod in chase, he would be afraid to take me. I made a desperate dash, therefore, down to the ford, entered the boat,
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drew my horse after me, and then bade the ferryman strike out. “ Quick ! for your life, man ! I am a friend of Judge L—'s. Herod and his gang are after me, with blood on their hands !”

“ The Regulators ! I say, stranger, I can’t convene to this. I couldn’t take you for a cord of money !”

“ Push back at the peril of your life !” I replied, drawing my pistols ; and aided by the three other men, I forced the unwilling ferryman to shove off.

Two of the passengers were Englishmen, and entered heartily into my interests. Scarcely were we twenty yards off, than Herod and his gang rushed up, reining in, however, some distance from the shore at the sight of our levelled rifles. Jerry was terribly alarmed, and did all he could to get out of reach ; and when the balked Hyenas fired it was too late. I then told my horrible story, which to all present seemed almost incredible, though Herod’s name had a sufficient reputation to render any atrocity within the bounds of belief.

When we reached the other side, the ferryman intimated his intention of not returning to his post for some days, while the others offered to join in the defence of Judge L—. I took them up, boatman and all, to the Judge, and at once gave him the message of his daughter’s former suitor.

“ He shall be well received,” cried the Judge, after hearing my whole story, “ but as no man can say what will happen, you and Lucy shall be married to-morrow morning.”

Lucy and I sat in the Judge’s parlor, near an open window, about one o’clock, watching the Tigers as they collected. They were farmers and wood choppers and hunters ; all sturdy fellows, devotedly attached to Judge L—.

“ Lucy,,” said I, taking her hand in mine, and gazing at her soft blue eyes, “ I must turn Tiger for one day.”

“ James,” she replied quickly, “ you must. But be careful and wise. My life hangs on yours.”
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The look she gave me, as she spoke, proved that, quiet as she was, she could feel deeply, and I felt my affection redoubled.

“ James,” suddenly called the father, as the Tigers stood in good order under the window, “ tell the Tigers why I have called them out.”

I rose ; and leaning against the bar of the opened window, addressed the assembly. I was reckoned a good hand at a speech, and my feelings were deeply roused. A dozen groans of horror interrupted me ; and when I ended by offering to volunteer with the Tigers, a shout of applause greeted me.

L— then made me come down and write out the necessary warrants for the arrest of Herod and his gang, which he and five other magistrates signed. Scarcely had we done so, when a horseman dashed up, with the news that Herod and his fellows were close at his heels, as if expecting to effect a surprise. The Tigers fell in. Judge L— heading about a hundred of them, took up a position in front of the house, while I with as many more, hid ourselves in the cypress grove.—Another party, equally strong, were concealed in a plantation. About ten minutes later the Hyenas came in sight, with Herod at their head. They reined up within twenty yards of Judge L— and the line of Tigers.

“ Well, Judge,” cried Herod, “ I see you’ve obeyed orders. You are going to regulate the country.”

“ I am going to regulate a murderous thief, called Herod,” thundered the Judge.

At the same instant we sprang forward, and the astounded Hyenas saw that they were surrounded by six times their own number. Not a man ventured to offer resistance save Herod, but his own people fell upon him, and the gang of ruffians were our prisoners.

Judge L— made me pick out the thirteen members of Lynch’s Jury, who were heavily ironed, and marched away un-
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der a strong escort to the county prison. The rest were at once well flogged with hickory switches and turned adrift, without horses or arms of any kind ; and then, all excitement and fear being over, we thought only of the more happy event of the day. The principal Tigers remained ; and a merry time we had of it. I can only add that this marriage, was the commencement of a long series of happy days, unclouded as yet by one cloud. I had found a good, noble, excellent girl for a wife, and as I strove to be happy, so I was.


Source: Southern and Southwestern Sketches: Fun, Sentiment, and Adventure. Edited by a Gentleman of Richmond. Richmond: J.W. Randolph, n.d. 113-118. University of Virginia Alderman Library.

Erin Bartels prepared this typescript.

[1] Original text includes a period after “business.”

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