Texas Almanac, 1964-1965 Page: 49
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HISTORY OF TEXAS 49
Young Territory in North Texas. (See previous dis-
cussion, "State Indian Reservations.")
The conflict between the North and the South in
1860 had withdrawn military protection. Many mur-
derous raids had been made by the Indians during
the war years and the confusion attending Recon-
In 1868 General Sheridan concentrated Comanches,
Kiowas and Apaches at Fort Sill reservation in In-
dian Territory (now Oklahoma), but the Indians con-
tinued to make raids into Texas. In 1871, Gen. Wil-
liam Tecumseh Sherman visited Texas, marching
with a small detachment from San Antonio along the
line of western posts to Fort Belknap. He ordered an
investigation at Fort Sill and Satank, Satanta and Big
Tree, chieftains, were arrested, charged with a wag-
on-train raid and ordered to Jacksboro, Texas, fpr
civil trial. Satank was killed en route trying to es-
cape, but Satanta and Big Tree were given the
death penalty, later commuted by Governor Davis to
life imprisonment. The Indians were confined at
Huntsville penitentiary. They were released in 1873
conditioned on good behavior. Subsequently Satanta
was rearrested and returned to the penitentiary,
where he killed himself in 1876.
The two Battles of Adobe Walls, Nov. 26, 1864,
and June 27, 1874, did much to weaken Indian power
in Northwest Texas. They were fought near the ruins
of an 1843 fort 'in Hutchinson County a short distance
north of the Canadian River. Another Panhandle
battle of this period was the Buffalo Wallow Fight,
Sept. 12, 1874, in Wheeler County.
Gen. R. S. Mackenzie of the U.S. Army was com-
missioned to round up the Indians of Northwest Tex-
as and return them to the Indian Territory reserva-
tions. This he did in an aggressive campaign which
ended when Mackenzie's forces trapped the main
body of the Comanches and Kiowas near the junction
of the Tule and Palo Duro Canyong after their horses
had been stampeded by a surprise night attack. This
campaign, which ended in 1874, first year of Coke's
administration, marked the end of Indian hostilities
in Texas except for minor incidents. \
Throughout the early troubled years the *Texas
Rangers played an effective, valiant role. The Rang-
er force varied in organization and policy under vary-
ing conditions, demands for service and political ad-
ministrations, and it has not been of entirely unbrok-
en continuity. However, it has existed almost con-
tinuously from the era of colonization to the present.
*This summary of the Texas Ranger Force is
from "The Texas Rangers" by the late Walter Pres-
cott Webb, University of Texas, published by the
Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston, 1935.
Stephen F. Austin employed a small body of Rang-
ers as early as 1823 to protect the frontier colonies.
On Oct. 17, 1835, on the eve of the Texas War of In-
dependence, the council of the revolutionists formally
authorized the employment of a corps of Rangers to
guard the frontiers. The Rangers protected the settle-
ments against the incursions of Indians while Sam
Houston and his ragged army defeated the troops of
During the Republic, the Ranger organization was
enlarged and used to patrol the frontier and guard
against Indian raiders, freebooters on the Rio Grande
and threats of invasion by Mexican troops.
When Texas was annexed, the United States Gov-
ernment assumed responsibility for protecting the
frontier and the Ranger organization virtually was
dropped. However, the federal troops, largely in-
fantry, were so unaccustomed to the border and In-
dian warfare that the Rangers were reorganized. In
the Mexican War, Texas Rangers served as scouts
for the invading American armies and took part in the
The period between the Mexican War and the War
Between the States was marked by a number of
bloody conflicts with Indians. Rangers were required
also to end the depredations of outlaws along the Rio
The most formidable band of raiders was led by
Juan N. Cortinas. Many South Texas ranchers suf-
fered from the depredations of Cortinas and his men
in the early part of 1860. In 1859, he and 100 of his
men had taken possession of Brownsville for a short
time, terrorizing the citizens and killing three Ameri-
cans. Texas Rangers invaded Mexican soil and put
the Cortinas band to flight.
During the War Between the States, the Ranger
organization was neglected. Many enlisted in Terry's
Texas Rangers, which made an admirable record in
the Confederate Army. In the Reconstruction period,
the Rangers were reorganized as the State Police
during the administration of Gov. E. J. Davis, and
were used to enforce carpetbagger laws, many of
which were unpopular with Texas citizens. The State
Police was abandoned with the overthrow of the Re-
In 1874, there were two organizations of Rangers.
One, known as the Special Force of Rangers, put
down banditry on the Rio Grande. A larger body, of-
ficially called for some time the Frontier Battalion,
was made up of mobile companies used wherever
In 1877, the Rangers restored order in the western-
most part of Texas after the Salt War-resulting from
a dispute over the removal of salt from salt lakes
near the Guadalupe Mountains-had led to the killing
of a number of citizens. One celebrated exploit of the
Rangers came the following year, with the killing of
Sam Bass and several members of his robber band
at Round Rock.
Passing of Frontier
As the frontier disappeared, Ranger activities
were redirected toward law enforcement among the
settlers. This reduced the popularity of the force
among some of its members and some Texans, as did
enforcement of liquor prohibition after World War I.
The Ranger force was allowed to dwindle and often
was tampered with by politics. In 1935, however, the
Rangers were reorganized and, with the State High-
way Patrol, were placed under a new Department
of Public -Safety. Provision was made for the adop-
tion of modern methods of detecting crime.
Texas Rangers today are a division of the State
Department of Public Safety. Their duties include en-
forcement of the law in instances of major crimes,
mob violence, and occasionally in assisting local of-
ficers when they are unable to enforce the law.
Richard B. Hubbard, Lieutenant Governor, be-
came Governor (Dec. 1, 1876-Jan. 21, 1879), when
Coke resigned to become U.S. Senator. Strengthened
border defense, reorganization of the penal system,
suppression of land frauds and further reduction of
the state debt were achievements of his administra-
Governor Oran M. Roberts (Jan. 21, 1879-Jan. 16.
1883), inaugurated his pay-as-you-go policy to end a
state government deficit. His two terms were dis-
tinguished also for educational legislation. An act
was passed providing for a University of Texas in
compliance with constitutional mandate, and the Sam
Houston and Prairie View normal schools for white
and Negro students, respectively, were established.
After his retirement as Governor, Roberts joined
the law school faculty at the University of Texas
where he was known as the Old Alcalde.
The administration of Gov. John Ireland (Jan. 16,
1883-Jan. 18, 1887), was characterized by continued
improvement of the educational system. In 1883 the
University of Texas was opened at Austin.
Fence-cutting in West Texas brought a threat of
civil war. Barbed wire, invented in 1873, was first
used in Texas about 1879 and spread throughout the
range by 1883. Conflict arose between cattlemen who
continued to depend on the open range and those who
were buying and fencing land, also between the big
rancher and the little farmer who sometimes found
his holdings fenced within a big ranch. Strife arose
also among big ranchers.
Fence-cutting became general. Millions of dollars
of damage was done. A special session of Legislature,
called by Governor Ireland in 1884, enacted a law
making fence-cutting a felony but requiring that sates
be placed every three miles and making it a felony
to fence unowned land. This act. together with the
efforts of the Rangers and local officers, ended the
Cattle raising entered a new era with the fencing
of the range. Cattle breeding and ranch improve-
ment became practicable. The search for under-
ground water was increased. The windmill came into
Texas' first antitrust law was passed during the
administration of Gov. L. S. Ross (Jan. 18, 1887-Jan.
20, 1891). It came from popular reaction to the grow-
ing industrialization of state and nation. There had
been an increasing agitation against "foreign corpo-
rations," 'that is, corporations with headquarters in
It was accompanied by the rise of the People's
(Populist) Party which was active in Texas politics
during the last thirty years of the century.
The eleemosynary institutions were improved.
Taxes were reduced, largely through a payment of
$1,000,000 by the federal government to Texas in re-
turn for state expenditures for border protection. The
disastrous drouth of 1887 and dedication of the pres-
ent State Capitol in May, 1888, were other events
of Ross' administration.
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Texas Almanac, 1964-1965, book, 1963; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth113807/m1/51/: accessed December 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.