Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum: 1-35 and University Parks Drive | PO Box 2570, Waco, TX 76702-2570 | (254) 750-8631
Ranger Hall of Fame
The HALL OF FAME is the State designated memorial of the Texas Ranger service, commemorating the service and sacrifices of 30 Texas Rangers who gave their lives in the line of duty or made significant contributions to development of the service.
Reynolds Hughes was born 11 February 1855 in Illinois. The family later
moved to Kansas. At the age of fourteen Hughes left home and eventually
made his way into Indian Territory. He lived among the Choctaw and Osage
Indians for about four years and then lived with the Comanche in the
Fort Sill area. There he worked as a trader and for a short time as
a trail driver. Hughes' right arm was partially disabled during a fight,
but he quickly learned to shoot with his left hand. Hughes moved to
Texas, buying a farm near Liberty Hill where he raised horses.
In 1886 several horses were
stolen from his and neighboring ranches. Hughes trailed the men for several
months, killing some of them and capturing the rest. He returned the
stolen horses to their owners. His feat gained the attention of not
only the outlaws but also the Texas Rangers.
In July 1887, Hughes helped
Texas Ranger Ira Aten track down and kill escaped murderer Judd Roberts.
In August 1887, Hughes was persuaded to join the Texas Rangers. He had
risen to the rank of sergeant in Company D Frontier Battalion by 1893.
When their Captain, Frank Jones, was killed in June 1893, Hughes was
promoted to captain of Company D. For most of his career, Hughes served
along the border of southwest Texas.
In 1901, when the Frontier
Battalion was abolished and the State Rangers created, John Hughes was
selected as one of the four Captains of the new companies. He served
until his retirement in 1915. During the 28 years he was a Ranger, Hughes
dealt with a wide variety of cases including thefts at the Shafter silver
mines, cattle rustlers, horse thieves, murders and even the Maher-Fitzsimmons
prize fight. He was known as "the border boss."
In his book Trails and
Trials of a Texas Ranger, W. W. Sterling described Captain Hughes
in this way: "John R. Hughes had every requisite of a great captain:
initiative, courage, intelligence and judgment. He loved the Service.
One of the axioms he used in enlisting his men. . . was 'Nerve without
judgment is dangerous, and has no place in the Ranger Service.'"
John Hughes never married.
He spent his retirement years prospecting and traveling by automobile.
He was also involved in the banking industry, becoming chairman of the
board and largest stockholder of the Citizens Industrial Bank of Austin,
but he continued to live in El Paso.
In 1940 John R. Hughes received
the Certificate of Valor, an award commemorating the the bravery of
peace officers. He moved to Austin to live with a niece, and on 3 June
1947, after living through the end of the frontier and two world wars
he committed suicide at the age of 92. He was buried in the State Cemetery
in Austin, Texas.
Suggestions for further reading:
Jack Martin, Border Boss, San Antonio:
W. W. Sterling, Trails and Trials of a
Texas Ranger, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1959
Bill O'Neal, Encyclopedia of Western Gunfighters,
Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1979
Frederick Wilkins, The Law Comes to Texas,
Austin: State House Press, 1999
Walter Prescott Webb, The Texas Rangers,
Austin: University Of Texas Press, 1935
Vertical files, Center for American History,
University of Texas, Austin, Texas
Vertical files, Texas Ranger Research Center,
Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, Waco, Texas