|Tracy Garrett at a booksigning|
THE REAL TEXAS RANGERS
|Clayton Moore as the Lone Ranger,|
accompanied by his horse, Silver
Hollywood has been enamored with this badge-wearing hero since 1910, when the first movie featuring a Ranger was released. But who are the real Texas Rangers?
In 1823 the Empresario of Mexico, Stephen F. Austin, created two companies of men to act as “rangers for the common defense.” These men had to be strong leaders and fighters, and needed some specialized skills:
>marksmanship with rifle and pistol;
>mastery of the outdoor life; and
>knowledge of the foe.
They also had to have their own horse and weapons, since the government provided only powder, lead, and a few provisions. After that, they had to fend for themselves.
The Texas Rangers have been formed and disbanded many times in their history. In 1835, the provisional Texas government authorized recruiting 25 Rangers. That number grew to 3 companies of 56 men each, who all mustered out in 1846 and joined the Army as scouts and guerilla fighters, and became sensations in the eastern newspapers. That’s where the legend of the Texas Rangers began.
1874 brought the creation of six companies of 75 “young men, in good physical condition, without families, who owned good horses.” The state was to furnish arms and ammunition at cost, the amount to be deducted from the first pay of each soldier. Because the state only provided .45 caliber ammunition, the Rangers began using what is arguably the best-known weapon of the West:
The New Model Army Metallic Cartridge Revolving Pistol, aka
A FEW MILESTONES FOR THE TEXAS RANGERS:
1877 Salt War in El Paso
1877 Outlaw John Wesley Hardin shot in Pensacola, Florida
1878 Notorious outlaw Sam Bass captured near Round Rock, Texas
1880 Company “C” sent to the Panhandle to explore, making expanded settlement possible
1883 Free Range War - sent to stop fence cutting and enforce peace
1900 Galveston Hurricane - maintain the peace and uphold the law
1901 Law enforcement around the oil boom
1915 Pancho Villa & the border raids
1920s Enforced Prohibition laws
|Captain Frank Hamer|
By the way, Texas Rangers Frank Hamer and Manny Gilbert were the law enforcement officers responsible for stopping Bonnie and Clyde.
The Texas Rangers didn’t become a permanent force until 1987. Today, the Rangers are made up of 116 officers, organized in Six Companies – the same six companies that were first put together in 1874.
|Current Texas Ranger Badge|
And Hollywood still loves them. To date, Texas Rangers have appeared as characters in more than 230 films, television shows and made-for-tv movies.
If you have never visited the Texas Ranger Museum in Waco, Texas, put it on your must-see list. It is a fascinating glimpse of the men and women who make up this amazing law enforcement agency--and an excellent research tool. http://www.texasranger.org/index.htm
Tracy, thanks for that well-written history of the Texas Rangers! An ancestor was a Texas Ranger for a brief time, a field appointment which lasted only a few months when he lived near Denison, Texas. Even though he served only a short time, I am proud of that association with these deserving men. Today, promotion to a Texas Ranger is a very coveted and prestigious position. People in our area were pleased when one of our local State Troopers was promoted a few years ago. "One fight, one ranger" is still a familiar phrase in Texas.
And, Tracy, we really miss you in Texas. Please come back!