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H. O. (sic) Robertson is the person responsible for the murder of my grandfather, Rodrigo Barragan and his friend, Febronio Calanche. Robertson was a cold blooded killer, worked the border as a river rider, was deputized as a Texas Ranger and when his friend, Joe Sitter was killed, he took revenged by killing every Mexican he came in contact with, to include the above named and also my uncle Anestacio Segura.

I pray that someday, someone will publish the real truth of who these people really were. Recently the Texas Ranger Association put a headstone on Joe Sitter's grave in Valentine, TX to "honor" his service as a Texas Ranger. This story appeared in the Marfa big Bend Sentinel, you could probably contact Marfa paper and view in their archives.

Ron Segura

You are not alone in your assessment of Texas Ranger Horace L. Robertson. Candelaria merchant and Justice of the Peace wrote the following account after investigating the murder of Barragan and Calanche in 1914.

I have always felt sure it was Robertson who shot to death Barragan and Calanche or ordered it done. Robertson as he came up the river was still boss of the T. O. Ranch and the men with him were his cowboys and under his control. Anyway if he neither did the killing himself, nor ordered it done, he sanctioned, or acquiesced in and there is no use to deny it the foul deed. The following are the known facts in the case.

Barragan and Calanche were hunting a lost bull in the dry pasture between our ranch and the river. Our ranch, at that time, was owned by Calanche."

(This ranch is today known as the Circle Dug Ranch see for more. Be sure and click on the history link.)

Kilpatrick continued,"Robertson and his men camped on the edge of this dry pasture near the trail leading to Calanche's ranch house the night of the same day the two Mexicans were hunting the lost bull. Two days later when Barragan and Calanche failed to show up, Mexican trackers went to hunt for them. Their trail was stuck and followed into Robertson's camp. From the camp there were only two trails-one made by the main body of Robertson's men going on up the river; the other made by three or four horsemen going up a small arroyo. Following this later trail the dead bodies of the two men were found. Upon the head of each were piled his saddle blanket, cartridge belt and gun.

The only possible interpretation of these facts is that Barragan and Calanche while on their way late in the evening to the latter's ranch rode into Robertson's camp when they were tied up,--the trackers declared there was evidence of this, until the next morning. After breakfast, the main body of the gang went on up the river. Two or three remained behind, took Barragan and Calanche six or seven hundred yards up the arroyo and shot them to death. The killers then-for there was their trail cut across (sic) and joined the main body.

Now, Robertson knew of Calanche, and that he did not have a spotless reputation among some of the stockmen, and he was not unaware that Calanche had once been indicted for the alleged theft of a calf. But doubtless he didn't care to remember the old Mexican came clear (sic). This is why, I believe Robertson killed him, had him killed or consented to his killing. Barragan was shot merely because he was with Calanche, the once indicted calf stealer. Here Robertson was shown up in what seemed to be his true colors. All he wanted was some accusation, suspicion or former indictment and then he would rashly proceed either to manufacture evidence or to just kill the supposed thief. Yet no investigation was ever made of this most wanton and cruel slaying of three innocent Mexican citizens: Holy Jesus! And we call this a Christian land and one of law and order where God still reigns. Forty years ago before the fundamentalist church people struck Presidio County so outrageous an affair would have received serious attention. But now with her villages and towns full of school houses, places of worship and halls of justice, would be assassins and cold blooded murders go scot free.

Kilpatrick felt very strongly about the murders and went so far as to appear before a Presidio County Grand Jury and as he put it begged for an indictment that never came.

Several years ago, members of the Calanche family from El Paso located the graves of Barragan and Calanche on the Texas side of the Rio Grande just up river a short distance from the Los Fresnos, Chihuahua crossing north of Candelaria in Presidio County.

I am at present working on a manuscript detailing these murders by Ranger Robertson. Robertson was later tried in El Paso for killing Joe Sitters son, Walter Sitters. A few years after the trial, Robertson was shot to death in the Texas Panhandle. The book will also have a chapter on Joe Sitters and his vendetta to kill Chico Cano, which ended in his own death in 1915. I share your frustration with the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame because they seem to do their best to glorify the bloody deeds of many of these old rangers.

Ron, are you also related to Leno Barragan of Candelaria? I also have found some interesting things about him and plan to include it in my forthcoming book titled, "More Little Known History Of The Texas Big Bend: Documented Chronicles Of Apaches, Comanches, Frontiersmen, Outlaws And Lawmen".


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