Monday, October 15, 2018

What is Hell's Half Acre? PLUS Giveaway!!




I started doing some Texas research for one of my books. I considered the setting of Fort Worth, and though that wasn't where I ultimately decided to set my story, I did find some rather interesting information about Fort Worth to share.


During the late nineteenth century the frontier was dotted with unruly and lawless areas called Hell's Half Acre. Fort Worth, Texas was no exception. As a matter of fact, Forth Worth had some infamous visitors.

Hell's Half Acre, also known as 'The Acre' got its start in Fort Worth in the 1870's. Cattle drovers used the Fort Worth area as a stop along the cattle trails to Kansas. The Acre was on the lower end of town, making it the first thing the drivers would see when coming into town from the south.









These photos are from one of our trips to Texas. Fort Worth is a city that stole my heart. Here are beautiful sculptures that show the drivers and cattle being moved through the cattle trail.






Your average law abiding citizen didn't step foot onto Hell's Half Acre. This area which was not limited to a true half acre brought in some of the meanest criminals and unscrupulous people of their time. 

Hell's Half Acre consisted of mercantile businesses (even the scoundrels had to buy things, right?), but along with the mercantile businesses were dance halls, gambling parlours, saloons, and houses of ill repute/ brothels.




An average day and night at The Acre could easily see horse racing, cockfighting, drinking, gambling, brawls, ladies of the night, and the list could go on. 

The Sundance Kid

As unknowing travelers came through Hell's Half Acre they were prayed upon by conmen, robbers and unscrupulous women. The Acre was used  as a hideout for notorious gang members. Some of the famous characters that visited Fort Worth's Acre were train and bank robber Butch Cassidy, gambler and gunfighter Doc Holiday, gunfighter Luke Short, outlaw and train robber Sam Bass, outlaw The Sundance Kid, lawman and gambler Wyatt Earp, and professional gambler and lawman Bat Materson.


People became concerned with the violence in Fort Worth and in 1876 elected Timothy Isaiah Courtright to city marshal. He was expected to bring order to the unruly area. The marshal did crack down and on Saturday nights might fill a jail with the arrested. Courtright was successful, but his success was not appreciated by some of the business owners who were losing money due to the crackdown. Because of this a stance was taken against it and soon the lawless were welcomed back. Bottom line was those gunmen, robbers, conmen, gamblers, and brothels made the city money that they didn't want to give up. 

Poor Courtwright lost his support because of it and when the next election rolled around he wasn't reelected.

The good news is after a shoot out that left one man dead and after a prostitute was found murdered and nailed to an outhouse, some of the cities officials realized things had to change. 1889 brought the beginning of that change with new businesses and homes to Hell's Half Acre. 


Another of the beautiful sculptures

This is a picture of the cattle being driven through town

The famous Texas Longhorns
















GIVEAWAY: For a chance to win Shattered Memories or one of my other novels answer one of the following questions and don't forget to leave your email address so I can contact you should you win! 

Have you heard about the Hell's Half Acres that were dotted around the country? If so where was the one you knew about located?

Do you like to read? If so where do you most enjoy your settings in the United States, any where out west, a true western, New England States, Southern states or the mid-west?



Olivia Macqueen wakes in a makeshift hospital, recovering from a head injury. With amnesia stealing a year of her memories, she has trouble discerning between lies and truth. When her memories start returning in bits and pieces, she must keep up the charade of amnesia until she can find out the truth behind the embezzlement of her family’s business while evading the danger lurking around her.


Doctor Andrew Warwick frantically searches through the rubble left by the Charleston earthquake for the lady who owns his heart. He finds her injured and lifeless. When she regains consciousness, the doctor’s hopes are dashed as he realizes she doesn’t remember him. But things only get worse after he discovers she believes she’s still engaged to the abusive scoundrel, Lloyd Pratt. Now Drew is on a race with the wedding clock to either help her remember or win her heart again before she marries the wrong man.



Debbie Lynne Costello is the author of Sword of Forgiveness, Amazon's #1 seller for Historical Christian Romance. She has enjoyed writing stories since she was eight years old. She raised her family and then embarked on her own career of writing the stories that had been begging to be told. She and her husband have four children and live in upstate South Carolina with their 5 horses, 3 dogs, cat and miniature donkey.

18 comments:

  1. Haven't heard about Hell's Half Acres. I'll read books set in any locale, that's not what I'm fussy about. If the story line grabs me, I'm in for the ride. Thanks for the giveaway, but if I win, pick a second winner. Love your books and have read them!

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  2. Thank you, Connie! I'm glad to hear that! I'm working on a western as well as my sequel to my medieval.

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  3. Midwest, never heard of Hell's Half Acres but thanks for sharing, Very interesting.

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    1. Hey Kim, thanks for sharing. Do you like Midwest in general or is there areas you really enjoy?

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  4. Hi Debbie. No, I haven't heard of Hell's Half Acres and I can understand why most people stayed clear of them. I am an avid reader and I enjoy reading about most areas because I haven't had an opportunity to travel much and this is my way of "seeing the country".
    Thanks for a great post!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Hey Connie, I love that you love them all! I love to read in different area's too. Now writing is different but reading...The world is the limit!

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  5. Hello Debbie, I had not hear of Hell's Half Acres. With the name and all that happened there I can see why individuals would stay away.
    I enjoy books set in the different states of America the best. Thank you for sharing this informative post.
    marilynridgway78[at]gmail[dot]com

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    1. Hello Marilyn! That's great that you like all the states! I like Europe too. Although, if medieval could be set here in the US it would make my research life much easier. LOL

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  6. Hi Debbie! I too havd never heard of Hell's Half Acres. What a destitute place it was! I LOVE to read! I enjoy reading books from all different states, but probably most enjoy the southern states. Thanks for the interesting post and the chance to wi one of your books! ~Alison Boss

    nj(dot)bossman(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Hey Alison! Good news! If you win you can snatch Shattered Memories, set in historical Charleston, SC during the 1881 Earthquake.

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  7. If I'm reading about cowboys, most of the authors I read set their books in Texas, Montana or Idaho. I do enjoy reading about the Smoky Mountains because we always vacation in Gatlinburg. I've only been to Charleston once (my dad does not like the beach), but would like to go back. We got messed up on our carriage ride and did not get to see the Battery. I would love to win your book!

    Linda - rayorr@bellsouth.net

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    1. I do have a soft spot for Charleston. I like the battery because of its history. I've been to Gatlinburg a few times but it has been a while. Its a beautiful area. But all of Tennessee that I've seen is. Thanks for coming by and sharing. Good luck in the giveaway!

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  8. I have heard of them. Wasn't sure where they were though. I love reading westerns, doesn't really matter where the location is. Thank you for this wonderful give a way.
    quilting dash lady at comcast dot net

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    1. Hey Lori, Thanks for coming by! Nothing like a man in boots and a cowboy hat to make a great hero! Good luck in the giveaway! And thanks for sharing. :)

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  9. Debbie, I have to share I'm reading The Mending of Lillian Cathleen by Linda Brooks Davis and the story mentioned Hells Half Acre as the young lady traveled to Fort Worth area. This post came to mind as I read it.
    Thank you again for the wonderful historical post. Blessings
    Marilynridgway78[at]gmail[dot]com

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    1. Thanks for sharing that, Marilyn. Nice to know that these articles are tying things together with books!

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  10. I am so sorry for getting to this late! YIKES! Been a crazy kind of week. The winner is Kim Hansen. Kim please contact me as you didn't leave your email address. Thank you everyone for coming by!

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