Today in the Old West May 21 Rangers Ride Again

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Scaramouche, May 21, 2019.

  1. Scaramouche

    Scaramouche Student of the Columbian Exchange Supporting Addict

    Sep 15, 2015
    Although a regiment of Rangers offered some protection on the Texas frontier during the Civil War, most of the Rangers were part of the Confederate army and did what they could to scout for Indians, deserters, and Yankee sympathizers. After the war, the legislature authorized new companies of Texas Rangers, but the funding failed. During much of the Reconstruction era, a highly controversial and unpopular state police force, including former slaves, handled Texas law enforcement. That federally controlled force was disbanded in 1873.

    Jim Hawkins, plank owner, Company D, Texas Rangers
    1874 - 1876

    The next year, however, seventy-five thousand dollars was appropriated to organize six companies of seventy-five Rangers each. This allowed newly elected Governor Richard Coke and state lawmakers to recommission the Rangers, ushering in a new era for the relentless force of men still called "Los Diablos Tejanos" by many Hispanics.

    Private Wood Saunders, left, Cpl J. Walter Durbin on right, Company D, Texas Rangers

    The reestablished Texas Rangers were divided into two commands - the Special Forces under Captain Leander McNelly and the Frontier Battalion led by Major John B. Jones.

    Captain Leander McNelly, Special Forces, Texas Rangers

    Major John B. Jones, Frontier Battalion, Texas Rangers

    The Special Forces were sent to the Mexican border to pursue cattle thieves and bandits and deal with white vigilantes committing outrages against the innocent Hispanic citizens of Texas. Meanwhile, the Frontier Battalion stayed on the move from the Big Bend country to deep into the heart of the state.

    Company D, the most high-profile of the half dozen companies under Major Jones's command, had the distinction of losing more Rangers than any other outfit during the twenty five year lifespan of the Frontier Battalion. At a time when the racial divide was vast, the whites-only Rangers clashed with the Buffalo Soldiers, black troopers posted throughout West Texas. There were also allegations that the Company D boys tended to kill any armed Indian they encountered, including the "friendlies". Still, they fought a large number of "hostiles", especially Comanches and Kiowas. One such action was described in the 1874 Austin Daily Statesman; "The boys brought some fresh scalps with them and they report that Scott Cooley, who was fired at and run into camp, not only cut a wounded Indian's throat, but stripped a large piece of skin from his back, saying he would make a quirt out of it."

    Not long after Cooley collected these bloody souvenirs, he quit Company D and turned outlaw. For two years, his Ranger friends reluctantly chased him until Cooley died of brain fever in 1876.

    Scott Cooley, a cohort of Johnny Ringo after the Rangers. I often wondered if that character in Lonesome Dove, Jake Spoon, was modeled after him.
  2. Usp45ct

    Usp45ct Well-Known Member

    Aug 24, 2012
    RLTW...err, different type of Ranger, but still leading the way.

    Nice read though...thanks.
    Scaramouche likes this.

  3. isialk

    isialk Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Jan 7, 2017
    Really interesting post scaramouche. Good pictures too. Seems like back then you’d better choose sides carefully! Lots of shape shifting going on.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Scaramouche likes this.
  4. 41 Charlie

    41 Charlie Get off my lawn...

    Feb 4, 2014
    Great piece of history! Thanks for sharing it with us heathens!!
    Scaramouche likes this.
  5. KS95B40

    KS95B40 Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Aug 16, 2017
    Very interesting. Thanks!’

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