Welcome to “In The Weeds”, a new feature for the DPL blog where we’ll look at local history through our awesome archival assemblage here in the Special Collections Department at the Emily Fowler Library. What does “in the weeds” mean? For our purposes, my definition would be: “deeply distracted by details” or “overwhelmed with oddities”. To be in the weeds when you love History with a capitol “H” as I do, is not something to be feared. So, without further adooo…
A while back I mentioned that Denton County’s outlaw history will be mined for years to come. Well, time has come and I’m about to do some mining…
Last week we received an inquiry in the Special Collections Department here at the Emily Fowler Library for an image of the famous “Denton Mare”, Jenny, from a man who said his grandfather rode the horse for notorious Denton County outlaw Sam Bass. Unfortunately, no picture exists as far as we know, having consulted also with local historian Alec Williams whose family goes back to Denton’s earliest days.
What was the Denton Mare, you ask? Apparently, Sam Bass raced horses before he went into the outlaw business and the Mare was eventually sold. The man’s grandfather was one “John A. Hudson” and, although we could not find that picture of the Mare, we did find the following documents:
You can read much more about The Denton Mare and Bass here , here and here. There is also a fictionalized account of Bass’ life entitled The Denton Mare. You will see in your research how involved he was in the lives of Sheriff Egan’s family (yes, the same at the Denton street) and other law enforcement officials in Denton and surrounding counties before he “went bad”.
In my Bass research, I also discovered that he was immortalized in song:
A local performance can be seen here by a member of Denton band TrebucheT and a more traditional performance by the great Alan Lomax.