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Mark Busby Re-Opens Cedar Crossing

by Published on

Historical fiction, journalism, oral history and a dose of Mark Busby’s imagination come together in Cedar Crossing, Busby’s latest novel.

When Jeff Adams, a college student, is given an assignment to research family history, he discovers that his grandfather witnessed a mysterious triple lynching in the Trans-Cedar Bottoms area of Henderson County, west of Tyler in northeast Texas. As Adams begins to piece together his family’s recollections, the story becomes more complicated, but at its core it remains a tragic example of Trans-Cedar race relations and area citizens’ inability to accept the love between a white man and a young black woman.

The novel’s setting—East Texas at the turn of the century and in the 1960s—is the perfect backdrop for a story with civil rights and race relations at its heart.  Cedar Crossing gives Busby, a scholar of the American West, the chance to explore how family feuds and the South’s troubled past can turn a historical event into a part of Texas mythology; even today, the Trans-Cedar Tragedy remains shrouded in mystery, despite making contemporary front-page headlines for months. For Cedar CrossingBusby researched original historical documents and, like his protagonist, gathered oral re-tellings regarding the tragedy. 

Busby’s other books include Fort Benning Blues and Larry McMurtry and the West: An Ambivalent Relationship. He is also a past president of the Texas Institute of Letters.

  • JMH

    My great-grandfather was one of the ones hanged. I’m sure that Mr. Busby’s novel is entertaining but, it is far from factual.

  • County Line Magazine

    “Before we are ten pages into Cedar Crossing, the outlines of its central event have been revealed — the lynching of three Henderson County men in an area now covered by Cedar Creek Reservoir. Though this is a novel, it is thoroughly grounded in historical accounts of the actual events that garnered Henderson County unflattering publicity for a few months in1899. Filling in the bare outlines of the story is the aim and the method of the novel, but, as one of the tellers of the tale says, “Stories got their own way of rollin’ themselves out, and I’ll jest let this one come out like a armadillo leavin’ home.”- Edward Garcia

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