J. W. and Me: The Small Town Texas Experience


The author, a retired municipal judge, set out to fill these pages with a light-hearted account of dispensing justice in Heath, a very small Texas town, in the early 1970s. Like most small towns, everyone knew their neighbors, the Saturday night drunk, the wife-beater, the pilferer, the adulterer—all the honest and not-so-honest residents that make up any small town. However, in researching background material, a darker side of local history emerged—a crime so terrible that no one wanted to talk about it, even in the twenty-first century. There was a lynching in Rockwall in 1909. This “forgotten” piece of history is included here. J. W. Cullins, the first chief of police for the town, always called himself a peace officer. He did not police; he kept the peace using a mixture of good judgment and common sense. As fellow members of law enforcement, J. W. and the author dealt with a variety of people and their problems: disgruntled speeders, joyful drunks, indignant parents. Court was held in a variety of unusual places, including a shared table at a free rabies clinic for dogs. Tales of Barbara Venton’s Fulbright experiences in Israel and Korea; and visits to numerous countries around the world are woven throughout. Well-written, often humorous, sometimes dramatic, and always interesting; this book will be difficult to put down.


Barbara Montgomery 

2007, 5½x8½, paper, 106 pp.

ISBN: 9780788437595