According to family records, ten of Great-Grandma’s
twelve sons died in the Civil War.
Thus it was that Allie Johnson Puett, the girl who became my Grandma Evetts, learned the lessons of self reliance, the duty of the defiance of illegitimate authority, the comforts of firearms, and the necessity of knowing how to shoot—wherein her ability was always a matter of proper pride to my
mother, her oldest daughter.
—J. Evetts Haley, Rough Times—Tough Fiber
The Haleys made it out to West Texas after a while, the products of Virginia and Tennessee mostly, with names that bespoke people of the border culture of what the Romans called Albion. As they migrated into what became the United States, they inhabited the uplands from Pennsylvania down to Georgia and eventually wandered, a part of them becoming the pioneers of cattle country. They were the products of a culture partly Irish, partly English and Scots and Welsh, that had experienced a thousand years of violence. They were perfectly suited not only for self-reliance, the “defiance of illegitimate authority,” and the “comforts of firearms,”...