I read your post about the passing of the last witness to the Porvenir massacre with great interest. My own life was touched in a small way by those tragic and desperate times. I was a border patrolman for a short time (1966-67) stationed in Presidio. I got to know an old Texas Ranger named Nate Fuller. It was not easy to get him to talk, but when he did it was always interesting. I remember once he told me about being questioned in regard to an incident that happened up the river one time,but cannot recall that he ever referred to it as "Porvenir ",but it was a long time ago. In reading all your posts I know that that was what he was talking about. It must have been the Canales Investigation that led to his being interviewed about the deaths of those men that night. I very distinctly remember that old Nate got somewhat agitated when talking about it and recall pretty much what he said. As I recall, he related it this way, and at times seemed to be reliving it: He said he was running a saloon at Shafter(evidently out of the Rangers) when someone pulled up in front in a model-t and got out with a typewriter. He said he was with the government and was there to find out what Nate knew about the incident of those men being shot that night. Nate said at first"I don't know nothing about it!" Then the investigator replied that he already knew full well that Nate was up there that night along with several other members of Company "B", along with some ranchers and soldiers. At that point Nate replied (and this stuck in my memory 40 years)"Well all I know is that some lead got to flying around that night, and those boys got in front of some of it!" Nate was 80 when I knew him, but he was still quick as a bird. I later learned that he died in '69 of complications following prostate surgery. There is a picture of Company "B" on page 33 of "Chronicles of the Big Bend".Nate is 4th from the right astride a black and white mount, wearing a bandolier and a Colt Peacemaker that appears to be nickel plated with a ivory grip. He looks to be someone you would do well not to get cross-threaded with too seriously. Even at 80 we could tell he wasn't someone to trifle with. I haven't any access to the Canales Report, and don't want to download 1600 pages on my computer. I was wondering if you might have any further knowledge the you could share concerning whether, and what, old Nate's actual history in regards to this might be. Nate Fuller is one of the most unforgettable characters ever to touch my life, and my brief personal experience in the Big Bend country was one of the formative events of all. I was drafted into the VietNam war, and subsequent events precluded my getting to live there anymore. I have come to the conclusion that there is a magic chemical in the earth in that land which, once ingested, forever transforms your innermost being and never lets go. It has haunted me all these years. I plan to go back in October of this year and revisit it all again. Regards, G. Owen

G. Owen,
Thanks for your comments. First I have seen about Ranger Fuller being present at Porvenir. In June 1918, Texas Governor Hobby disbanded Company B and fired A. C. Barker, Max Herman, Bud Weaver, Allen Cole and Boone Oliphant. Captain Fox resigned claiming he had been discharged for political reasons. None of the rangers faced criminal charges for the killings. If you haven't read it, see my chapter on the massacre in "Little Known History Of The Texas Big Bend." Also, Harris and Sadler write about the massacre in "The Texas Rangers And The Mexican Revolution." They mention Ranger Fuller on page 489. Also be sure and see Robert M. Utley's "Lone Star Lawmen" for more on the massacre.


Gary M.Owen 
In my comments on the photo in"Chronicles of the Big Bend",I referred to it as Company "B"in 1918,and it is so identified in the caption.I believe this to be an error,as I have the same photo from the Moody Texas ranger library identifying it as a photo of company "A"in 1918.They are all identified with Jerry Gray(Capt.)second from the left and Nathan Fuller fourth from the right.None of the other names are the same as those discharged by the Governor.This is evidently taken after the disbanding of Company "B"in June of that year. I have some enlistment records for N.N.Fuller indicating that he joined the Ranger service in on May 15,1916 in Company "B",J.M.fox,Captain.He was listed as being 27 years and 3 mos.of age.His next period of enlistment began on twe1th of July in 1918,and still in Company "B",but there is no signature on the form for the Captain or any other designation of the company.Next,there is a form signed by James A.Harley,Adjutant General,State of Texas commissioning Nathan N.Fuller as a private in the Texas Ranger Force,dated Sept.10,1918.The next enlistment record is dated June the 20th,1919 and signed Jerry Grey,CaptainCo."A".Captain Gray's remarks were that he was a good ranger.The final record is dated Aug.22,1922also signed by Jerry Grey,Capt;Co."A".I also have some payroll records dated sept.1917 which list Co."B" as consisting of:Captain J.M.Fox,Sgt.H.c.Trollinger,Pvts.A.G.Beard,N.N.Fuller,H.G.Holden,Boon Oliphant,and A.H.woelber.Barker,Herman Weaver and Cole must have become members between Sept 1917 and Jan. of 1918,as Oliphant was the only one listed as present then. It is evient that the fact was that Nate Fuller was not actually present during the Porvenir matter,and I have wrongly remembered his comment that the investigator insisted that he was .It is more likely that he insisted that Nate would have known who was given that C."B" was so small during that period.I suspect that his comment to the investigator was a reflection of his usual reticence,and desire not to implicate anyone in matters not personally known to him.I remember one conversation I had with him in which he remarked that he was several times contacted by magazine people(True West,Frontier Times,etc.) to get him to tell his story.He said he always refused,as he knew very well that he wouldn't recognize what actually got printed. The fact that he reenlisted in what was still being referred to as Co."B" in July of 1918,but with no Captain's signature evidently reflects the turmoil following the Porvenir massacre and the Govenor's actions in response.

Add Comment
Comments are not available for this entry.