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"I am in the process of researching a fairly well known Border character named Graham Barnett. At an early period (c. 1912-13) in his career he worked for the TO Ranch which was, I believe, about 50 miles west of Pilares. Do you have any information on the TO? There is some in the Joyce Means book and in Bosque Bonito but I was hoping for a little more. Also, photos of Graham seem to be hard to locate. Do you have any suggestions for a possible source? Thanks, Jim Coffey"

Other than the two sources you mentioned, Means and Keil, I can think of only a couple of other sources that briefly talk about the T.O. Ranch. that being J.J. Kilpatrick, aka the "King of Candelaria". Kilpatrick and his sons, who ranched and farmed in Candelaria did business with the T.O. Ranch. The T.O. Ranch in Chihuahua covered a huge expance of land streaching from a little north of Candelaria upriver almost to Juarez. From what I have been able to glean, the T.O. was owned by a number of North American cattlemen and some U.S. lawmen. At one time, about 1915, the T.O. had H.O. Robertson as foreman. See p. 456-457 of "The Texas Rangers and the Mexican Revolution: The Bloodiest Decade, 1910-1920" by Charles Harris and Louis Sadler. Robertson was a very shady character and the T.O. ran along the border making it an ideal place to smuggle cattle stolen during the Mexican Revolution into Texas. Cattle stolen by Pancho Villa's henchmen frequently brought cattle to the T.O. to be sold. Somewhere I have a file on the T.O. ranch, just can't lay my hands on it at the moment. I'll see if I can't locate it and see if there is anything about Graham Barnett. Hope this helps, Glenn Justice

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I have been asked who are the men pictured at the top of my blog. On the left, standing in his Rough Rider uniform is John (Jack) Simpson Howard. Jack Howard fought in Cuba during the Spanish American War and was later appointed to the U. S. Customs Service by President Theodore Roosevelt. Mexican bandits murdered Howard in the Big Bend in February 1913. He is the subject of one of the chapters in my forthcoming book, "More Little Known History Of The Texas Big Bend". The picture to the right of Jack is James Judson Kilpatrick aka "The King of Candelaria". Kilpatrick's story is told in "The Captain And The King of Candelaria", a chapter in my previous book, "Little Known History The Texas Big Bend". The gun packing lawmen in the next photo on the steps of the Presidio County Courthouse are, left to right, Texas Ranger Joe Sitters, Jack Howard, an unknown person. and Customs agent Luke Dowe. Anyone have an as to who the unknown man is? Finally, on horseback is the "Lion of Chihuahua", Pancho Villa. Gj

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Austin, Texas, April 3, 1928 The New York Times. "The entire southwest is watching the more or less single-handed fight which Ranger Captain Frank A. Hamer is waging on the standing reward of $5,000 offered by the Texas Banker's Association for dead bank bandits. Hamer fired his first gun this week when he appeared before a Grand Jury at Rankin, Upton County, and offered testimony supporting his claim that the reward has resulted in the organization of a "murder ring'."

"Several months ago, the Texas Banker's Association offered a reward of $5,000 for dead bandits, and the printed notices in the windows of the member banks specified that not one cent would be paid for live ones. This offer was made in an effort to stem a wave of banditry in which banks had been heavy losers."

“On the day following the announcement, Hamer, senior Ranger captain and the Southwest's most picturesque and most feared peace officer, denounced the reward asserting that it would lead to a 'frame-up' and the slaughter of innocent men."

"Within two weeks, two men were killed at the back door of a bank in Odessa, a west Texas village by four officers late at night. The officers shared a reward of $10,000. Within a few days Hamer charged that a fifth man had 'tipped' the officers and had sent the two men to their death. He pointed out that the men were not equipped for safe-breaking, were palpably amateurs with no criminal records, and he claimed they were duped into going to the bank at the hour of the killing."

"Within a fortnight, three Mexicans were shot down while standing in front of a bank at Stanton, 40 miles from Odessa. Two men, one a deputy sheriff did the shooting. Two of the Mexicans died instantly but a third lived to tell how the two assailants had brought the trio to a point near Stanton in a truck and arranged to meet them in front of the bank, having been promised employment. The two men were arrested and one confessed that they had shot down the tree men in the expectation of collecting a reward of $15,000 from the banker's association. One of these men later broke out of jail and is now at large."

"A few weeks subsequent to this, two more men were shot down at the back of a bank, this time at Rankin, near both Odessa and Stanton as Texas distances go. They were shot by a sheriff and his deputies at night and instantly killed. The officers asserted they had been warned of an attempt to rob the bank."

D. C. Waide
Special Correspondent to The New York Times

Note: Captain Frank Hamer is the famous Texas Ranger who killed Bonnie and Clyde in Louisiana a few years later. The bodies of the dead Odessa "bandits" were displayed to the public in a furniture store window in downtown Odessa. The Upton County Grand Jury returned no indictments, Ector County Sheriff Reeder Webb cashed his reward check and the killings faded into history. Gj

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"I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know of no way of judging of the future but by the past."

Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775.

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The extensive and insightful collection of former Texas Attorney General John Ben Shepperd's (1915-1990) personal papers are now available at the University Of Texas Of The Permian Basin in the J. Conrad Dunagan Library Special Collections. Shepperd was a personal friend and political advisor to President Lyndon B. Johnson as well as many other Texas political luminaries of the time. The huge 288-cubit foot collection offers anyone interested in Texas politics a wealth of information. To learn more about this outstanding resource contact Dr. Terry Shults, Head of Technical Services, at the Dunagan Library. Email Terry at Gj

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For an online history of the Circle Dug Ranch see and click on the history button at the bottom of the page. Gj

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According to Davis Mountains historian Barry Scobee, Comanche Chief Quanah Parker came to Fort Davis in 1894, as the Chief put it, in search of"the gift-of-God cactus to lighten the Red man's burden". Accompaned by Chief Rising Star and several other diginatries from the Indian Territority, Chief Quanah checked into the Hotel Limpia much to the suprise of Miss Finick who worked at the hotel. Scobee described what happened next. "Miss Finck heard a knock at the door and was somewhat startled, upon opening it, to see three heap big Indians standing there in stately silence. Mr. Fox was an Indian Agent accompanying them. He stepped forward and explained that the chief and his two lieutenants were here on a peaceful mission, simply wishing to be accomondated with bed and board while they sought, in the vicinity of Mitre Peak, for a wonderful herb which the Comanche Indians traditions taught, could never be found in any other locality. Peyote was also described as, "the devil's drug and a gift of God to the poor Indian."

Scobee didn't say if the chief found what he was looking for. Gj

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A fellow sent me an e-mail today asking about Ranger Captain John R. Hughes. In particular,"his dealings in Shafter Texas at the turn of the century when the Contreras gang was known to have been stealing massive amounts of silver." I'm familiar with Captain John R. Hughes, but I've never heard of thisepisode. Do you know anything about it? KW

You will find an account of this in Chapter 5 "Ore Thieves At Shafter" in "Border Boss: Captain John R. Hughes-Texas Ranger" by Jack Martin. Its a rare little book, I have a copy, published by The Naylor Company in 1942. Keep in mind Martin tends to sensationalize Hughes. Like a lot of these old ranger books all glory, no warts. More of a dime novel than a history and no footnotes. Hughes, however, from everything I have seen, seems to be a really straight forward, honest ranger. His reputation is never questioned. Not like a lot of the bloody Big Bend rangers that followed.


Email it to:

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The new indexed edition of Little Known History Of The Texas Big Bend is now available through Rimrock Press. In addition to a comprehensive index, the new edition has updates throughout the book including the story of Juan Flores who narrowly survived the Porvenir Massacre in January 1918. Mr. Flores was only twelve years old at the time and witnessed the killingsof the Porvenir villagers as well as the murder of his father, Longino Flores. The new edition of Little Known History Of The Texas Big Bend can be found in Big Bend bookstores or can be ordered online at

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The New Era, Marfa, Texas February 22, 1912 "News was received at Marfa, on Tuesday that on February 12th, P. S. Boyd had been shot and killed at Candelaria by J.J. Kilpatrick Jr. An examining trial was heald at Marfa last week and Mr. Kilpatrick was released upon giving a small bond. In speaking of the tragedy, Judge H.H. Kilpatrick who attended court here and who is an uncle of the defendant said: "The facts show that my nephew acted in self defense and it was either to shoot or be shot".


Presidio, Texas, November 17, 1917 El Paso Times. "Wearing his campaign costume of hip boots, high Panama hat and flannel shirt, Francisco Villa is again in the saddle in Mexico, at the head of a new revolutionary movement which he calls El Partido de la Convention. His headquarters have been in Ojinaga, opposite here, since his troops captured the town from the Federals Tuesday night. The rebel leader weas a black beard, a relic of his recent trip through Mexico to confer with his chieftains and heads of other movements , whom he asserts he has correlated under his leadership for the first time in more than a year."

"Villa today authorized the following statement for the Associated Press. Upon taking possession by force of arms of this town, which I found in the power of the so-called Constutionalists who criminally defended it for Venustiano Carranza, the traitor and despot, I think it my duty to make the following declaration in order that once more my aims and motives may be shown to the world to be patriotic and noble."

"First of all, I have no personal ambitions, but my earnest desire, which I have already expressed, is that my people my obtain unity and my country peace, and to that end bring together the principal revolutionists who, since 1910 have been striving to attain that end. Contrary to everything they have said, I will strive with valor and decision against the enemy, but will be magnanimous in victory, the proof of which was the recent occurrence here of turning over to the Carranza Counsel in Presidio, Texas the Carranza wounded who were made prisoner in Ojinaga, and also the release of prisoners taken, incorporating them in our army because they decided they were on the wrong side."

"During last July, I made a statement which appeared in the American papers, in which I invited General Francisco Murguia to personal combat on ground of his own choosing and to this day I have had no answer. I think the said General considers it beneath his dignity to accept the challenge, but the reason that guided me in my offer was to give him a chance to put an end to me as he had often boasted if he could get his hands on me. I am still waiting for the acceptance of my challenge, because he will be convinced that the outcome of this meeting will be on the side of right and justice, which are my guides."

"A force of Villa cavalry was seen to leave Ojinaga today for the southwest going in the direction of La Mula Pass. General Murguia is reported to be moving northeast to engage the Villa forces. American troops watched the north bank of the Rio Grande while Villa's cavalry patroled the river on the Mexican side in plain view of each other llast night. On the mesa above the river the camp fires of the Villa troops in the town of Ojinaga culd be seen plainly from Presidio."


Candelaria, Texas, August 18, 1919. "The airplane piloted by Lieutenants H. G. Peterson and Paul H. Davis, the two army aviators, who yesterday were being held for $15,000 ransom by Mexican bandits near Candelaria, Texas, fell on the American side of the international boundary, according to information received here last night from Porterfield, California, the home of Dr. Warren B. Davis, father of one of the captured officers."

"The following telegram, written by Lieutenant Davis in the bandit camp, was forwared by Colonel George T. Langhorne, commanding officer of the Big Bend District to the aviator's father."

"Airplane crashed in Texas while on border patrol. We are held for $15,000 ransom. It should be paid by the war department. Have wired the commanding officer at Fort Bliss and the War Department in Washington. Ransom must be paid to Dawkins Kilpatrick at Candelaria, Texas no later than August 18th. We are threatened with death but safe and uninjured. Do not worry."

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