The Men Who Wear the Star: The Story of the Texas Rangers
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In 1935, Walter Prescott Webb first told about them in his classic The Texas Rangers, but not until now do we have a modern retelling of this storied organization, based on new material and written with the encouragement of the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame.
Most narratives of this colorful story, even Webb's, leave out several important eras in the history of the Rangers--the Civil War years, for instance, simply don't exist, and there is little acknowledgment of the Reconstruction period, from 1866 to 1874. In addition, though these previous chronicles concerned themselves primarily with the Rangers since their formal organization in 1835, the earlier years, when the "Ranging" defense force was established by Stephen Austin, are significant and exciting. And while most stories about the Texas Rangers treat them uncritically and uniformly as heroes, this was not always the case, to say the least.
The Texas Ranger captured the imagination of the American public like no other individual. Here is his colorful story, told anew, by the highly praised author of A Good Year to Die.
the Texas Militia, 1868–1898.” Texas Military History, Vol. 2, no. 1 (February 1962): 1–16. Oates, Stephen B. “The Texas Rangers in the Mexican War.” Texas Military History, Vol. 3, no. 2 (Summer 1963): 65–85. Parsons, Chuck. “Gunfire at Espantosa Lake.” True West, Vol. 44, no. 10 (October 1997): 21–24. Riley, Matthew K. “Prizefight on the Border: Fitzsimmons vs. Maher, 1896.” True West, Vol. 41, no. 10 (October 1994): 38–43. Rister, Carl Coke, ed. “Documents Relating to General W. T.
COUNTRY celebrated its victories, Taylor tackled the problem of conducting a war. He desperately needed troops. Price’s Rangers had arrived from Victoria and Goliad, but so far his was the only state contingent besides Walker’s.21 Nevertheless, volunteers were coming, though not always with enthusiasm. James K. Holland, a member of a Ranger company recruited in Harrison County in east Texas, remembered the departure for the war zone on May 24. We left Elysian Field on this day about 11
five years before.28 Mustang Gray was twenty-one years old when he arrived in Texas from South Carolina in January 1835. He listed his occupation as farmer, and it is known that he fought at San Jacinto. Beyond that and general knowledge of his depredations along the Nueces Strip, his life is largely a mystery. Nevertheless, he was now in Mexico at the head of a company of Rangers who took pride in being called the Mustangers or the Mustang Grays.29 Gray found good company in John Glanton, a
It is an interesting coincidence that Lieutenant Hill dated his letter to the governor May 17, for on that day, Gen. W. T. Sherman, general-in-chief of the United States Army, arrived at Fort Richardson on a visit that would change the entire focus of federal military policy in Texas. Sherman discounted the hue and cry over Indians, believing that the Texans simply were trying to draw federal troops away from Reconstruction duty. The army had a vague western defense line of posts constructed
classic Ranger seven-and-a-half-inch barrel, Hardin shouted, “Texas, by God!” and went for his own gun, but it caught in his suspenders. Hardin himself claimed that Hutchinson and Perdue came in and said, “Surrender! Hold up your hands,” to which he shouted, “Robbers! Protect me!” and went for his gun, and a struggle ensued. Whatever the case, a melee erupted with Hardin, Hutchinson, and Perdue rolling around in the aisle, kicking, cursing, and shouting, until Armstrong came into the car and