Tuesday, February 2, 2010

An Illustrated History of the Texas Rangers.

Purchased at Spoonbill & Sugartown Books (218 Bedford Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 718. 387.7322) the other day.


Samuel Colt, inventor of the revolver and as such one of the most important single figures behind the winning of Texas from the Mexican and the Indian. He freely admitted the technical help he received from Ranger Sam Walker in improving the first revolvers.
Though the Rangers always prided themselves on not conforming to any uniform regulations, some achieved a certain elegance. B.C. Veale of Company C.
Esatouyett, a Comanche warrior. Note that he recognized a good thing when he saw one and has abandoned his bow for an up-to-date six shooter. The rest of his outfit also comes straight from the white trader, except for the bone breastplate, a kind of vestigial armor.
The most noted character along the Rio Grande from the Big Bend district to Del Rio, from 1870 to 1920 was albino Jim McMahan. As a Texas Ranger, Jim was one of the guards assigned to the United States surveyors and mapmakers that were establishing the international boundary in the Big Bend area. He suffered five wounds fighting Indians. After several years as a Texas Ranger, Jim became a trapper along the Rio Grande. He specialized in beavers, as their pelts netted the biggest profit, but he trapped other fur-bearing animals also. In 1920 Texas passed a law that ended beaver-trapping.
Captain Frank Jones and his company in Realitos six years before his death on Pirate Island. Second from left in the back row is Bass Outlaw, who left the Rangers for a less savory career and was shot to death by John Selman.
Sam Bates.
Ranger Ira Aten in 1887.
Seated in a chair in the picture of Compan D at Ysleta, Texas in 1894, is John R. Hughes, one of the best Ranger captains. Seated at the far left is a Mexican prisoner. When Captain Hughes saw this picture, he fired George Tucker, the young man next to the prisoner, for carelessly leaving his holstered revolver within the prisoner's reach.
This assembly of firepower, including some of the most illustrious Ranger captains, was gathered for the preposterous purpose of breaking up a prizefight between Bob Fitzsimmons and Pete Maher scheduled for El Paso in 1896.

Pancho Villa.
William W. Sterling at center, Fran Hamer on far right.
Another photograph of Frank Hamer. It is noteworthy that, like most Rangers, he carried spare rifle ammunition rather than pistol bullets in his gun belt. Armed with repeating Winchesters, the Rangers relied more on the rifle than the six-shooter in the post-Reconstruction days.

All photographs and text from An Illustrated History of the Texas Rangers by Bern Keating.

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