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Levi Henderson Ashcroft Reminiscences

Identifier: A-0060

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the reminiscences of Levi Ashcroft (Ashcraft) during the turbulent years from 1838-1855 in Louisiana and East Texas. Ashcroft's reminiscences begin with an account of abuses of the legal system arising from the influx of lawless characters into the Neutral Ground between Texas and Louisiana. He writes of the murder of Joseph G. Goodbread by Charles W. Jackson, who, upon being acquitted of the murder, formed the band of Regulators to suppress crime. When the Regulators began to get out of hand, punishing whomever they pleased for alleged offenses, Edward Merchant organized a rival band of Moderators. As the two groups increased in size, there were murders, retaliations, and widespread fighting. Upon the death of Jackson, Charles Watt Moorman took control of the Regulators. Moorman and his faction subjected Shelby County to a reign of terror as men were ambushed, hung without trial, and families were driven from their homes. In 1844 Sam Houston came to East Texas to settle the dispute and sent in 600 militia to quell the violence. In his reminiscences, Ashcroft describes the ensuing battle and precarious peace of the following two years. He also relates the rest of Moorman's career, the hostilities between Moorman's mistress, Mrs. Wiseman, and Dr. Robert Burns which persisted from 1846 to 1850 when Dr. Burns shot Moorman in Logansport, Louisiana. Burns was tried and acquitted in Mansfield, Louisiana, as everyone was relieved to be rid of Moorman. Ashcroft ends his narrative with a description of the then peaceful Shelby County, the desertion of Shelbyville, and praise and optimism for the state of Texas.


  • 1835-1855
  • Event: Donated in 1925
  • Event: Addendum donated in 1943


Language of Materials

The collection is in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Biographical or Historical Information

Levi Henderson Ashcroft (sometimes spelled Ashcraft) was born September 25, 1803, in Henderson City, North Carolina. A lawyer and physician, he came to Texas in 1838, settling in Shelbyville, which was then the county seat of Shelby County. Family tradition relates that during the Regulator-Moderator War in Shelby County, he rode between the two factions on a white horse so he would be easily recognized when going to treat the wounded on either side. He died in Tyler June, 1853.


0.20 Cubic Feet


This collections consists of two items described in two folders and housed in a clamshell box with one other collection.

Method of Acquisition


Guide to the Levi Henderson Ashcraft Reminiscences
Pamela Palmer
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the East Texas Research Center Repository