Seems like its been a spell since I have seen anything in TW about Texas Rangers from the late 1800's to the present.
Would like to see an interview with Joaquin Jackson about his thoughts of the old timers. Believe he lives in Alpine, Texas
I will second this request...
The Texas Rangers are the 2nd oldest law-enforcement agency in the US. The only older one is the US Marshal's service. The rangers were founded in 1825 by a letter from Stephen F. Austin, who suggested Texas settlers form a force of 'range the frontier' to warn of Indian incursions. From then until 1875 they remained a strictly-militia force. In 1875 Gov. Richard Coke appointed the Frontier Battalion to 'clean up' the Nueces Strip--the area between the Nueces River & the Rio Grande. This marked the first use of the rangers as a law enforcement agency. From then until 1933 they were part of both the Texas State Militia & the only statewide Texas law enforcement agency. In 1933 the Texas Highway Patrol was formed. In 1935 the Texas Department of Public Safety was formed & the Texas Rangers were removed entirely from their militia status to become the Criminal Investigation Division of the DPS. That's what they are today. Most 19th Centruy 'rangers' were enlisted only fpr the 'raiding season'--from late Feb until late Oct--& then released until the Comanches came out of their winter camps and started raiding again. A skeleton force was retained during the winter. They didn't become 'Texas Rangers' until the law authorizing the force was rewritten in the 1880s, making every 'Ranger' a law-enforcement officer. That was because a crooked lawyer discovered a loophole in the law that said anyone arrrested by a ranger had to be arreseted by an 'officer.' He argued that, under the law, anyone arrested by anyone less than a lieutenant in the rangers wa illegally arrested. A judge agreed with him & a lot of people got a 'get out of jail free' card. The law was rewritten after that to define all rangers as las-enforcement officers & for some reason unknown the word 'ranger' was capitalized in the law. That's when they became 'Texas Rangers', not simply 'Texas rangers.'
There are 2 types of Texas Rangers--the 'regular' Rangers & the Special Rangers. Regular Rangers are the CID for the Texas Department of Public Safety. Special Rangers are brand inspectors. They specialise in livestock theft, of which--believe it or not--there is quite a lot both here in Texas & across the West. They have all the powers of a regular Ranger, but they only investigate livestock theft or fraud.
You know Charlie..I have lived in and worked in other states but the Texas Rangers..CID..are by far the real deal in law enforcement. I would even go as far as stating Texas HP are tops also. I believe the reason for that is Texas heritage..once a Ranger..Always a Ranger.
I've known a number of Rangers, including some who were 'living legends,' like Frank Hamer & Manuel 'Lone Wolf' Gonzuallas. Yes, that's how Lone Wolf spelled his last name--not 'Gonzales.' His mother was an Anglo-American, his father a Spanish diplomat. He was born in El Paso.
Hamer was a big guy--well over six feet, probably well over 200 when I met him in the early '50s. Lone Wolf was only about 5'7" & I doubt he weighed 150 when I met him in the '70s. Both were very soft-spoken gentlemen. Dad knew Hamer better than I did, but I met him because he knew Dad. Dad, when he was a teenager, had a job delivering laundry. He'd deliver the Captain's laundry. He said Mrs. Hamer always answered the door, never the Captain. He'd be standing next to the fireplace, his left hand on the mantle behind a clock. If you weren't who you said you were, Mrs. Hamer hit the floor & the Cap'n started shooting.
Incidentally, Captain Frank Hamer was a charter subscriber to True West. He, Captain Manny Gault, my great uncle Clay Smith, & Walter P. Webb were poker pals at Webb's home on W. 9th Street in Austin, Texas. They had a poker game there almost every Friday night. Webb's got a full chapter on Hamer in his book, THE TEXAS RANGERS. Hamer's senses were extremely acute. One night during a poker game Hamer said 'airplane.' This was in the '30s, when airplanes didn't fly by night very often. It was about 3 minutes before anyone else heard the airplane. He also said, one night, 'Somebody's burned himself." Webb had accidentally burned his fingertip while lighting a cigarette--Webb was never without a cigarette,
I knew Webb for nearly 20 years & the only time he didn't have a cigarette, either between his fingers or in his mouth, was when he was sleeping, eating, or lecturing--& Hamer smelled the burned flesh, but nobody else did. The 'Philosphers' Rock' statue at Barton Springs in Austin has portrait statues of J. Frank Dobie, Roy Bedichek, & Webb--& Webb has a cigarette between his fingers. A lot of Austin wimps have objected to that, but that was Webb.
However, Dobie's missing his two essentials. He doesn't have a corncob pipe filled with Granger Rough Cut, & he doesn't have a quart of Jack Black. You never saw that man in his yard without a cob pipe, a pouch of Granger, & a quart bottle of Jack Black with one of those old heavy-bottom hotel water glasses. He was working as an editor with UT Press at the time. He had one of those complicated wooden & canvas lawn chairs & a side table in his back yard along Waller Creek. If you caught him at the right time--the whiskey had to be out of the neck of the bottle but no more than a finger below the label--he'd put aside the manuscript he was working on & tell you the most wonderful stories you ever heard in your life. He was unbelievably grumpy until he got enough whiskey in him to mellow out, but if he got too much whiskey he was grumpy again.