In 1875, a “dime novel” was published by Judge Alexander Hamilton Abney (1822 VA – 1882 TX) of Rockport, Texas. Published by H.S. Goodspeed & Company in New York, as it was called (in its entirety):
The Life and Adventures of L.D. Lafferty
Being of a true biography of one of the most remarkable men of
THE GREAT SOUTHWEST
From an adventurous boyhood in Arkansas, through a protracted life of almost unparalleled sufferings and hairbreadth escapes
Upon the FRONTIER of Texas
in which are given many highly interesting incidents in the
Early History of the Republic of Texas
with a brief review of affairs in Mexico during the same period.
The story chronicles the escapades of Lafferty through the Louisiana, Missouri and Arkansas Territories, the lands of the Old Settler Cherokees, and into the new frontier of Texas . At first blush, the story would appear to be awkwardly embellished, and one has the sense that there is a slim possibility of truth in all the fanciful dialog. Indeed, many historians of the late 1800s dismissed it as a folly or fantasy.
In 2001, author Bill Dwayne Blevins, EdS. and descendant of old L.D., published a “revised and edited” version of what he called The Rover. Unfortunately, that publication is only available from a handful of libraries in Arkansas and the contents of it are unknown to this writer.
To that end, this website is the backstory and a collection of resources that have been uncovered in a 10+ year quest for what may be written between the lines of the original book. And the most important thing to be laid bare in the real story is that:
- L.D. Lafferty had a wife (Elvira) and eleven children born in Arkansas 1828-1850.
- Some mysterious fracas in Arkansas forces him to “leave town” in a hurry in 1855.
- He ends up in South Texas and raises another family of five children, born 1851-1859 with Rachel (a Cherokee).
- Neither family knows about the other until several generations later.
Several photos from family collections and from the Abney book present a special puzzle when really closely scrutinized and logically analyzed. Take a look …
Source: Dallas Morning News | April 10, 1904
L.D. Lafferty’s eldest son, Albert Glenville Lafferty (1830-1921) must know about the Texas family and is seeking information on their whereabouts and his father’s death.