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.
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|
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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.