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Profiles

  • Simeon P. Mixson (1809 - 1864)
    Member of the Texas Rangers.
  • William Mayfield (1810 - 1862)
    William Mayfeild, (1810 - 1862), American pioneer in Illinois, Texas and California, soldier, farmer, miner, cattleman. He led Tulare County militia to aid settlers in the early part of the Owens Val...

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Silver Stars and Sixguns: The Texas Rangers

"They were men who could not be stampeded"

That's the way the late Colonel Homer Garrison, Jr., longtime director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, once described the men who have worn the silver or gold star of the Texas Rangers, the oldest law enforcement agency in North America with statewide jurisdiction.

Rangers have a heritage that traces to the earliest days of Anglo settlement in Texas. They often have been compared to four other world-famous law enforcement agencies, the FBI, Scotland Yard, Interpol and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Scores of books, from well-researched works of nonfiction to Wild West pulp novels to best-selling works of fiction, have been written about the Rangers. Over the years numerous movies, radio shows and television shows have been inspired by the Rangers.

The Rangers are part of the history of the Old West, and part of its mythology. Over the years, a distinct Ranger tradition has evolved.

For The Common Defense The Ranger story begins many years ago. In 1823, the Father of Texas, Stephen F. Austin realized the need for a body of men to protect his fledgling colony, the land settlement effort that marked the beginning of Texas' development.

On August 5, 1823, on the back of a proclamation issued by Land Commissioner Baron de Bastrop, Austin wrote that he would "...employ ten men...to act as rangers for the common defense...the wages I will give said ten men is fifteen dollars a month payable in property..."

These men, not soldiers, not even militia, "ranged" the area of Austin's colony, protecting settlers from Indians. When no threat seemed evident, the men returned to their families and land.

Despite Austin's plan to pay a group of Rangers, the defense effort continued primarily on a voluntary basis.

By 1835, as the movement for Texas independence was about to boil over, a council of local government representatives created a "Corps of Rangers" to protect the frontier from Indians. These Rangers would be paid $1.25 a day and could elect their own officers. They furnished their own arms, mounts, and equipment.

Notables

Associated Notables

  • The Republic of Texas was one of the earliest customers of a New England gun maker, Samuel Colt. Colt had invented a five-shot revolver, a weapon Hays and his men used with deadly effect in defense of the Texas frontier. In fact, one of Hays' men, Samuel H. Walker, made some suggestions for improving the pistol that Colt carried out. The new weapon, which against bows and arrows or single-shot weapons was the frontier equivalent of a nuclear bomb, was called the Walker Colt.
  • By late 1825, Stephen Fuller Austin (1793 –1836), "The Father of Texas," had brought the first 300 families to his settlement, the Austin Colony; these 300 are now known in Texas history as the Old Three Hundred. Austin had obtained further contracts to settle an additional 900 families between 1825 and 1829. He had effective civil and military authority over the settlers, but he was quick to introduce a semblance of American law - the Constitution of Coahuila y Tejas was agreed on in November 1827. Also, Austin organized small, informal armed groups to protect the colonists, which evolved into the Texas Rangers.

Hall of Fame

The HALL OF FAME is the State designated memorial of the Texas Ranger service. It commemorates the service and sacrifices of 30 Texas Rangers who gave their lives in the line of duty or made significant contributions to the development of the service.

  1. Armstrong, John
  2. Aten, Ira
  3. Austin, Stephen F.
  4. Baylor, George
  5. Brooks, J. Abijah
  6. Burton, Marvin
  7. Crowder, Robert A.
  8. Doherty, Bobby Paul
  9. Ford, John S.
  10. Gillett, James B.
  11. Gonzaullas, Manuel T.
  12. Guffey, Stanley Keith
  13. Hall, Jesse Lee
  14. Hamer, Francis A.
  15. Hays, John Coffee
  16. Hickman, Thomas R.
  17. Hughes, John R.
  18. Jones, John B.
  19. Klevenhagen, John J.
  20. Marsh, Bryan
  21. Miller, Charles E.
  22. McCulloch, Benjamin
  23. McDonald, William J.
  24. McNelly, Leander
  25. Peoples, Clinton T.
  26. Riddles, James E.
  27. Rogers, John H.
  28. Ross, Lawrence S.
  29. Walker, Samuel H.
  30. Wallace, William
  31. Wright, William L.

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