Texas Rangers

A couple of Rangers

Sorry the post is late–don’t know why it didn’t post at midnight.  Rita 

    Texas Ranger history dates the first rangers to 1823, when Stephen F. Austin employed ten men to act as rangers to protect 600 to 700 newly settled families who arrived in Texas. The Texas Rangers were formally constituted in 1835.  Robert McAlpin Williamson was appointed the first Major of the Texas Rangers. Within two years the Rangers comprised more than 300 men. Following the creation of the Republic of Texas, newly elected president Mirabeau B. Lamar raised a force of 56 Rangers to fight the Cherokee and the Comanche. The size of the Rangers was increased to 150 by Sam Houston, President of the Republic, in 1841.

     The Rangers continued to participate in skirmishes with Indians through 1846.  When Texas was annexed within the United States, several companies of Rangers mustered into federal service. They played important roles at various battles of the Mexican-American War, acting as guides and participating in guerrilla warfare, soon establishing a fearsome reputation with the Mexicans and Americans.  Following the end of the war in 1848, Rangers participated in campaigns against the Comanche and other tribes, whose raids against the settlers and their properties had become common.

     The success of a series of campaigns in the 1860s marked a turning point in Rangers’ history. The U.S. Army could provide only limited and thinly stretched protection in the enormous territory of Texas. In contrast, the Rangers’ effectiveness when dealing with these threats convinced both the people of the state and the political leaders that a well-funded and organized local Ranger force was essential.

     After the secession of Texas from the United States in 1861 during the American Civil War, many Rangers enlisted to fight for the Confederacy.   After the War, the Rangers were temporarily replaced by the Union-controlled version by the Texas State Police which lasted only three years.  

The Original Rangers

    In 1873, the Rangers were recommissioned and the myth was born. The Rangers were surrounded with the mystique of the Old West, due in part to the work of sensationalistic writers and the contemporary press, who glorified and embellished their deeds in an idealized manner.  In fact, the Rangers were a collective force that, in exercise of the authority granted by the government, protected Texas against threats considered extremely evil at the time.

Tomorrow:    Niagara Falls               Rita Bay

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Texas Rangers

  1. Great post! The rangers do create a special image of the old west and it’s no wonder
    authors universally like to glorify these guys. They are just great material for a western novel.

    • Thanks, Allison. I agree–good idea for a novel. Didn’t know a lot about them but thought they would be interesting in the West Week. Turns out they weren’t saints but certainly were a valuable asset to law and order in Texas. Rita Bay

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