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Research Center: Organization of the Ranger Force 1901
Laws and Regulations Pertaining to the Organization of the Texas Rangers
of the Ranger Force
In 1901 the Ranger Force faced a crisis requiring new
legislation. Due to a defect in the 1874 legislation (Section 28 of
An Act to Provide for the Protection of the Frontier, 1874),
only officers had the authority to arrest suspects. Ranger
privates had no authority to make arrests serve warrants or execute
other duties. It was rumored that some defendants were released after
their attorneys proved to the court that the Ranger privates arresting
them had no authority.
Other changes related to the organization of the Rangers.
By 1901 the Comanche threat was long gone. The cattle industry had
moved from open range to feed lots after a series of open range blizzards
that devastated the herds and closed many large ranches. And for a
time the Mexican border was relatively quiet.
With a lessened need for for an armed force the The
Rangers were downsized to a maximum of four companies of 22 men and
became a State Police force. All provisions for allowing for county-based
Ranger companies, Minute men and special Battalions were dropped.
Organization of the Ranger Force
House Bill No. 52
An Act to provide for the organization of a “Ranger
Force" for the protection of the frontier against marauding and
thieving parties, and for the suppression of lawlessness and crime
throughout the State; to prescribe the duties and powers of members
of such force, and to regulate their compensation.
Section 1. Be it enacted by the Legislature of the
State of Texas: That the Governor be and is hereby authorized to organize
a force to be known as the “Ranger Force,” for the purpose
of protecting the frontier against marauding or thieving partIes, and
for the suppression of lawlessness and crime throughout the State.
Sec. 2. The “Ranger Force” shall consist
of not to exceed four separate companies of mounted men, each company
to consist of not to exceed one captain, one first sergeant and twenty
privates, and one quartermaster for the entire force. The captains of
companies and the quartermaster shall be appointed by the Governor,
and shall be removed at his pleasure; unless sooner so removed by the
Governor, they shall serve for two years and until their successors
are appointed and qualified.
Sec. 3. The pay of officers and men shall be as follows:
Captains, one hundred ($100) dollars each, ~er month: sergeants, fifty
($50) dollars each, per month; and privates forty ($40) dollars each,
per month. The payments shall be made at such times and in such manner
as the Adjutant General of the State may prescribe.
Sec. 4. The Governor shall appoint a quartermaster
for this force, who shall discharge the duties of quartermaster, commissary
and paymaster, and shall rank and receive the pay of a captain.
Sec. 5. That this force shall always be under the
command of the Governor, to be operated by his direction in such manner,
in such detachments and in such localities as the Governor may direct.
Sec. 6. The Governor is hereby authorized to keep
this force, or so much thereof as he may deem necessary, in the field
as long as in his judgment, there may be necessity for such a force;
and men who may volunteer in such service shall do so for such term
not to exceed two years, subject to disbandment in whole or in part
at any time, and reassemblage or reorganization of the whole force,
or such portion thereof as may be deemed necessary by order of the Governor.
Sec. 7. That the quartermaster, or if so directed
by the Adjutant General, company commanders shall purchase all supplies
hereinafter provided for, and shall make a certificate on the voucher
of the party or parties from whom the supplies and (sic) purchased,
to the effect that “the account is correct and just, and the articles
purchased were at the lowest market prices.”
Sec. 8. Each officer, non-commissioned officer and
private of said force shall furnish himself with a suitable horse, horse
equipment, clothing, etc.; provided, that if his horse is killed in
action it shall be paid for by the State at a fair market value at the
time when killed.
Sec. 9. That the State shall furnish each member of
said force with one improved carbine and pistol at cost, the price of
which shall be deducted from the first money due such officer or man,
and shall furnish said force with rations of subsistence, camp equipage
and ammunitiOn for the officers and men, and also forage for horses.
Sec. 10. The amount of rations and forage shall not
exceed the following, to wit: For each man’s daily allowance,
twelve ounces bacon or twenty ounces beef, twenty ounces of flour or
corn meal, two and two-fifths ounces of beans or peas, one and three-fifths
ounces of rice, three and one-fifth ounces of coffee, three and one-fifth
ounces of sugar, one-sixth gill of vinegar or pickles, one-sixth ounce
candles, one-thIrd ounce of soap, two-thirds of an ounce of salt, one-twenty-fourth
of an ounce of pepper, four and four-fifths ounces of potatoes, sixteen
twenty-fifths of an ounce of baking powder. The forage for each horse
shall not exceed twelve pounds of corn or oats, and fourteen pounds
of hay per day, and two ounces of salt per week; provided, that when
in case of emergency the members of said force are employed in such
duty that it Is impracticable to furnish the rations herein provided
for, each member of said force so employed shall be allowed for his
necessary actual expenses for such subsistence not to exceed one dollar
and fifty cents ($1.50) per day; and provided further, that when it
becomes necessary to move the members of said force from one place to
another by railroad, the actual necessary expenses of such transportation
shall be paid.
Sec. 11. The officers, non-commissioned officers and
privates of this force shall be clothed with all the powers of peace
officers, and shall aid the regular civil authorities In the execution
of the laws. They shall have authority to make arrests, and to execute
process in criminal cases, and in such cases they shall be governed
by law regulating and defining the powers and duties of sheriffs when
in discharge of similar duties; except that they shall have the power,
and shall be authorized to make arrests and to execute all process in
criminal cases in any county in the State. They shall, before entering
on the discharge of these duties, take an oath before some authority
legally authorized to administer the same, that each of them will faithfully
perform his duties in accordance with law. In order to arrest and bring
to justice men who have banded top’ether for the purpose of committing
robbery or other felonies, and to prevent the execution of the laws,
the officers, noncommissioned officers and privates of said force may
accept the services of such citizens as shall volunteer to aid them,
but while so engaged such citizen shall not receive pay from the State
for such services.
Sec. 12. When said force, or any member or members
thereof, shall arrest any person charged with the commission of a criminal
offense, they shall forthwith convey said person to the county where
he or they stand charged with the commissiOn of an offense, and shall
deliver him or them to the proper officer, taking his receipt. therefor,
and all necessary expenses thus incurred will ho paid by the State.
Sec. 13. The Governor and Adjutant General shall cause
to be made such regulations for the government and control of the organization
herein provided for, and for the enlistment and employment of non-commissioned
officers and privates, as they may doom necessary, to the end that the
force so provided shall be as effective as possible.
Sec. 14. All laws and parts of laws, both general
and special, in conflict with the provisions of this act, are hereby
Sec. 15. The fact that the Revised Statutes are indefinite;
and that a defect exists, in that the privates of said force have no
authority to execute criminal process, creates an emergency and an imperative
public necessity that the constitutional rule requiring bills to be
read on three several days be suspended, and that this act take effect
and be in force from and after its passage, and it is so enacted.
Approved March 29, 1901. Takes effect 90 days after adjournment.