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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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Occasionally I run across a Texas history book that is an absolute pleasure to read and review. These exceptional books usually have in common two basic elements: first class research and good writing. "Adobe Walls: The History and Archeology of the 1874 Trading Post" ISBN 1-58544-176-7 published by Texas A & M University Press is such a book. Authors T. Lindsay Baker and Billy R. Harrison combine their considerable expertise in history and archeology in a manner that those of us involved in recording Texas past would do well to learn from.

The 413-page book is divided into two sections. Historian T. Lindsay Baker begins by telling the fascinating story of Adobe Walls from the historical perspective. The 1874 Texas Panhandle trading post and buffalo hunting camp of Adobe Walls was located just north of the Canadian River in today's Hutchinson County. Actually there were two Adobe Walls, the first being the site of an 1864 Indian battle at the abandoned location of Bent's Fort on the Canadian where the famous frontiersman Kit Carson and some four hundred men took on a large force of Comanche and Kiowa Indians. Baker and Harrison's book is not about that clash. It is about the more significant fight that took place a decade later with a cast of Texas frontier characters that puts a lot of western epics to shame. These include Bat Masterson, Billy Dixon, the mysterious Comanche prophet Isa-tai and the last great chief of the Comanche, Quanna Parker. Much like the battle of the Alamo, the history of the second battle of Adobe Walls is so interwoven with myth and conflicting accounts that most interested folks end up walking away scratching their heads as to what really happened and why. Baker does a masterful job of sorting through the various accounts; some penned many years after the battle. We learn from Baker who actually participated in the battle, what really happened and why it is important historically.

The second battle of Adobe Walls proved the last major attempt by Plains Indians to drive the hated white man from their precious buffalo hunting grounds of the Texas Panhandle. It led to the Red River War in which Native Americans of the Texas Panhandle were finally driven from their lands and placed in the Indian Territory of today's Oklahoma. Some became prisoners of war and found them selves shipped off to Florida. While Baker makes the plight of the Indians clear, he also deals effectively with the technology aided defense of the buffalo hunters. It has been said that the famous shot that hide hunter Billy Dixon made when he knocked a warrior off his horse nearly a mile away at the battle could not have been possible. Baker makes his case that Dixon probably did exactly what he claimed and that the Indians were clearly amazed at the range and power of the Sharps buffalo gun.

Billy Harrison's thorough archaeological study of the Adobe Walls site is quite detailed and interesting. In the archeological section of the book the reader will find hundreds of details about the Indians and the buffalo hunters. The Adobe Walls site is unique and Harrison gives his readers a fascinating snapshot of what life must have been like for buffalo hunters during their brief heyday.

Finally, it should be said that the old adage, don't judge a book by its cover, continues to be true. Don't let the uninspired cover or fuzzy photos not printed on photo grade paper discourage you from reading and learning from this book.

Glenn Justice

Copyright 2005
For permission to use this review contact

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Harris and Sadler's Texas Rangers: A Rimrock Press Review

Walk into any Texas bookstore carrying Texana and you may well discover more books written about Texas Rangers than you really wanted to find in the first place. Happily, however, a new Ranger book by Charles H. Harris and Louis R. Sadler stands out on the already overcrowded shelves of the genre. Published by the University of New Mexico Press, The Texas Rangers And The Mexican Revolution: The Bloodiest Decade, 1910 is a meticulously researched and well written account of the Texas Rangers during the bloody years of the Mexican revolution.

Harris and Sadler, two retired University of New Mexico history professors, made considerable use of the countless documents relating to the Rangers in the files of the Nettie Lee Benson Collection and the Barker Texas History Center and the Texas state archives in Austin. In addition, the massive 673-page book contains thousands of references from all sorts of state and federal files. Among the more revealing is Record Group 65, the now declassified "Old Mex. Files" from Records of the Bureau of Investigation (today's Federal Bureau of Investigation) held in the National Archives in Washington, D. C. These records document the numerous investigations conducted by the bureau into the lucrative arms for cattle trade that sprang up during the revolution along the border. It is an amazing fresh resource full of reports and once secret correspondence written by agents in the field.

The authors unearth a number of remarkable revelations about this particularly dark period of Ranger history. First, during those years, the state Ranger force became highly politicized especially during the governorship of James Edward Ferguson. During this decade, there were never that many regular Texas Rangers on the payroll in the entire state. Harris and Sadler point out that in 1910 there were only twenty-five regular full time Rangers. The following year, their numbers increased to forty-two. Eight years later, the Rangers still numbered only eighty-seven officers. Rangers owed their jobs to the governor of Texas and political corruption in the ranks continued unchecked. In order to protect the Texas border during the civil war in Mexico, the ranks of the Rangers swelled by the swearing in of Special Texas Rangers or Loyalty Rangers. Local Sheriffs could appoint men to be Special Rangers and these appointments led to vigilantism across the state. During World War I, the Special Rangers numbered 400 while twice that number of Loyalty Rangers added to the ranks. Loyalty Rangers came into the picture in 1918 and created to act as a secret service branch of the Rangers. Regular Rangers suffered from poor pay. The pages of the book are full of examples of drunkenness and oppression among their ranks. These Rangers intimidated Hispanic voters, murdered newspaper editors, dabbled in the stolen Mexican cattle market and generally behaved in ways that we find shocking today.

Harris and Sadler dismantle a number of Walter Prescott myths from the 1930's and long held to be gospel by more than a few Austin historians. The New Mexico professors see the Porvenir Massacre to be just that, a massacre and say so. In the Bureau of Investigation records, the authors bring to light that after being fired for taking an active part in the Porvenir massacre at least four of these same Rangers from Captain Fox's Ranger Company B held up and robbed a Carrancista paymaster near Fort D. A. Russell in Marfa in 1919. The thieves got off with a reported $22,600 in loot. The Lone Ranger and Tonto wouldn't have liked these guys.

Harris and Sadler's book is a solid contender to be the definitive history of the Rangers, at least during the Mexican revolution years. Anyone interested in Rangers or in the Big Bend will find something of interest here.

Glenn Justice

Copyright 2005
For permission to use this review contact

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