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This is the true story of J. Frank Norfleet, a typical west Texas rancher, and his four-year, transcontinental chase after a gang of international swindlers.
ISBN: 9781565544550
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Pelican Publishing
State: Texas
Images: 25
Pages: 360
Dimensions: 5 (w) x 7 (h)
Jasper Frank Norfleet was born on February 23, 1864, in Texas. His father, a Texas ranger, was fighting Indians on the frontier during the closing months of the Civil War. Frank spent part of his youth on his father's free-cattle range north of San Angelo and, in 1879, joined a buffalo hunt to the Llano Estacado. Subsequently, he worked as a cowboy and drover for various outfits. In 1886 he was hired to help drive 5,000 cattle from Central Texas to the High Plains in the vicinity of present Muleshoe. For two years Norfleet neither visited a post office nor saw a woman. In 1884, Norfleet married and, with his wife, had four children. He started his own ranching operation on a 2,000-acre tract in western Hale County in 1906. He settled his family in a homestead on Catfish Draw, near the site of future Cotton Center. Norfleet's legendary stint as an amateur sleuth began as a result of a business venture to Fort Worth, Texas, in 1919. There he encountered a man posing as a mule buyer. This man introduced the rancher to another stranger offering a surefire bet in the cotton market. They goaded him into producing $45,000 in cash, with which they promptly absconded. Norfleet thus began a solo manhunt that took him throughout most of the United States, Canada, and Mexico, often donning a disguise to make contacts. Norfleet's fame as a detective rapidly spread, and he was soon besieged with requests nationwide for his services. Although quick on the draw and a dead shot with a pistol, he never killed a man but instead always sought to 'bring 'em in alive for the courts to handle." In all, between 1919 and 1935, Norfleet brought over one hundred confidence men and other lawbreakers to justice. His diminutive height, plus his uncanny ability to stalk a criminal and stay on a fugitive's fresh trail, earned him the sobriquet Little Tiger. Among other honors, he was awarded a special certificate from the FBI for his services. His exploits became the subject of several magazine articles and his book Norfleet, available from Pelican. He died on October 15, 1967, and was buried in the Hale Center Cemetery.
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