You are here
Texas Secessionists Standoff: The 1997 Republic of Texas "War" (The Texas Experience, Books made possible by Sarah '84 and Mark '77 Philpy) (Hardcover)
On April 27, 1997, Richard Lance McLaren and his followers in the so-called “Republic of Texas (ROT)” militia held Joe and Margaret Ann Rowe hostage inside their own home at the Davis Mountain Resort, near Fort Davis, Texas, and demanded the release of jailed ROT members Jo Ann Turner and Robert Jonathan Scheidt. McLaren’s demand initiated a seven-day standoff with local law enforcement and the Texas Rangers that came to be called the “Republic of Texas War.”
Opening with a foreword by the FBI negotiator who served as an on-site consultant throughout the crisis, author Donna Marie Miller presents the first full-length book treatment of the events leading up to McLaren’s “declaration of war” and its aftermath. The result is an absorbing account of manipulation by a leader as charismatic as he was deluded; of misinformed individuals motivated by desperation who aligned themselves with an extremist; and of law enforcement officials caught in the tension between their duty to protect the public and their desire to avoid a repeat of disasters like those at Ruby Ridge, Idaho, and the Branch Davidian compound outside Waco, Texas.
Central to the story is Jo Ann Turner, a frantic woman drowning in debt who was drawn into the false ideology espoused by McLaren, which eventually led to her personal undoing. Based on archival research and interviews with persons involved—including McLaren, who has been incarcerated since 1998—this riveting account provides a multifaceted perspective of the historical incident and a detailed chronicle of a modern American anti-government militia, its victims, and the events that led to its eventual downfall.
About the Author
DONNA MARIE MILLER, a freelance journalist and writer in Austin, is also the author of The Broken Spoke: Austin’s Legendary Honky-Tonk.
“Those who remember news coverage of the events chronicled in Texas Secessionists Standoff know only a small part of the story. Donna Marie Miller has stepped up to provide the rest of the story with meticulous research, detailed layering, and steady, straightforward writing. A gripping and gritty, full-bore saga with countless twists and turns that span the state of Texas.”—Dan K. Utley, former Texas Historical Commission historian and coauthor of History along the Way: Stories beyond the Texas Roadside Markers and Echoes of Glory: Historic Military Sites across Texas
— Dan Utley
"Donna Miller has done a fine job telling the story of the 1997 Republic of Texas standoff at Fort Davis. Not only did I enjoy reading this book, I learned much about the incident that I didn't know. Which, considering that I was there as the chief spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety when many of the events in this book went down, says a lot about her skills as a researcher and writer."—Mike Cox, member of the Texas institute of letters and author of Time of the Rangers and Gunfights & Sites in Texas Ranger History
— Mike Cox
“Donna Marie Miller delivers thorough reporting, new sources, and telling details about how a financial crisis drove a middle-class Texan to join a nationalist militia and become the center of an armed standoff with the Texas Rangers. Texas Secessionists Standoff reveals how a handful of hucksters with fringe ideas could dupe desperate, well-meaning people into challenging the fundamental principles of our society, ruining lives in the process. The 1997 Republic of Texas War may have ended 25 years ago, but the lessons in Miller’s book are more relevant than ever.”—Chris Tomlinson, columnist for the Houston Chronicle and co-author of Forget the Alamo
— Chris Tomlinson