By Bob Bowman
Scrapping Valley, tucked away in the woods of Sabine and Newton counties, has one of the most colorful names in East Texas.
But even more colorful is how the community got its name.
In the early 1800s, the community was settled by a group of families who cherished their independence and isolation. Scrapping and feuding among themselves was a part of their independence.
The best-known feud in the area was the Smith-Lowe-Conner feud that began with the slaying of a Smith and a Lowe in 1883.
A group of Texas Rangers stormed into the Valley to arrest the Conners. When one Ranger was killed and the rest wounded, the Rangers never came back.
In 1887, a group of Sabine County vigilantes followed an eight-year-old boy into a hidden campsite to carry breakfast to his grandfather, 65-year-old Willis Conner.
As the old man ate, the vigilantes opened fire. Conner fell dead with a morsel of undigested food in his mouth. Another vigilante opened fire and the boy fell dead, too.
In the early 1900s, two other episodes helped reinforce the valley's scrapping reputation, said Tiffinie Coker of the Newton County History Center.
On one Sunday morning at the Pine Grove Missionary Baptist Church, a young lady gave her fiancee such a whipping that the entire community of Scrappers was impressed.
Before the dust had settled down, a squabble between two generations of another local family left three individuals stretched out on a dirt road.
Today, Scrapping Valley is at peace and its hills and valleys are now covered with second-growth pines. Game is abundant and hunting clubs have fenced off the old free ranges of hogs and cattle.
(Bob Bowman of Lufkin is the author of 51 books about East Texas. He can be reached at bob-bowman.com)