Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum: 1-35 and University Parks Drive | PO Box 2570, Waco, TX 76702-2570 | (254) 750-8631
Texas Ranger History: Timeline - Order Out of Chaos
Legislature authorizes the formation of four (4) Ranger companies
consisting of a total of 20 men. Their mission is to "protect
the frontier against marauding or thieving parties and for the suppression
of lawlessness and crime throughout the state."
Spindletop Oil field is discovered, beginning an oil boom in Texas
that lasts into the middle of the century. Many Texas Rangers,
notably M.T. "Lonewolf" Gonzaullas in the 1930s, work
against crime in the boomtowns and oil fields through the 1940s.
Revolution causes increased disorder on both sides of the border.
spreads in 1915 when authorities in McAllen, Texas, arrest Basilio
Ramos, Jr. Ramos is carrying a copy of the Plan of San Diego, a
revolutionary manifesto supposedly written and signed at the South
Texas town of San Diego. It calls for the formation of a "Liberating
Army of Races and Peoples," of Mexican Americans, African Americans,
and Japanese, to "free" the states of Texas, New Mexico,
Arizona, California, and Colorado from United States. Versions of
the plan call for the murder of all white citizens over 16 years
of age. The goal is an independent republic, which might later seek
annexation to Mexico.
from both side the the border quickly escalate into guerilla warfare
and the United States responds by sending a large military force
under Gen. John J. Pershing in pursuit of Villa. Texas
responds by raising Ranger companies. At the time, the Ranger Force
is very small, and incapable of maintaining law and order.
Texas Legislature authorizes mass inductions and the "overnight"
creation of new Ranger companies. The Ranger force grew
to its largest level, but the lack of training and controls were
evident. Some of the new companies uphold the law while
others functioned as vigilante groups incensed by raids from Mexico.
Hispanic, as well as Anglo, Texans served in these units. These Rangers are given orders "... to keep them (Mexican raiders)
off of Texas territory if possible, and if they invade the State
let them understand they do so at the risk of their lives."
vigilante nature, and poor command structure led to incidents unacceptable
to "regular" Rangers. After one retaliatory
Ranger raid into Mexico, an entire company was dismissed. In one battle in 1917, as many as 20 Mexicans may have been killed
by Rangers who crossed into Mexico.
35th legislature also created a "Loyalty Ranger Force",
a secret service for the State. Loyalty Rangers were to brief the
Adjutant General on Mexican revolutionary activities outside of
San Antonio and in the border counties in Mexico and Texas.
response to US troops on Mexican soil, President Carranza demands
the withdrawal of US forces, which was summarily rejected. As a
result, Mexican raiding intensifies and an attack against Laredo
is considered with a combined force of "San Diego raiders"
and regular Mexican Army soldiers. A state of war is narrowly averted
when US and Mexican officials agree to a peaceful settlement.
Mexican raids into Texas in 1915-16 cause an estimated 21 American
deaths; an estimated 300 Mexicans or Tejanos may have been killed
in South Texas by the actions of Rangers, vigilantes and citizens.
Some sources claim death tolls as high as 300 and 3,000.
fragile peace on the Border was again threatened again in 1917 when
a World War I telegram sent to Mexico by the German Secretary of
public ". . . we
propose an alliance on the following basis with Mexico: That we
shall make war together and together make peace. We shall give general
financial support, and it is understood that Mexico is to reconquer
the lost territory in New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona. The details
are left to you for settlement...." Nothing
materialized, but it served to further alarm the public.
January of 1919 Representative José T. Canales of Brownsville
demands a legislative investigation of the conduct of the various
Ranger forces during the period 1915-1917 and the reorganization
of the force. The Texas Legislature investigates nineteen charges
made against the Texas Ranger forces in the aftermath of the Plan
of San Diego and the War.
investigation results in the reduction of the Ranger force to four
companies of 17 men each. A tightening of qualifications for the
Texas Ranger service leads to its initial professionalization.
Prohibition becomes law. Rangers work closely with Federal agents
to confiscate illegal alcohol smuggled from Mexico and destroy stills.
They shut down liquor distribution networks, illegal gambling parlors
"Ma" Ferguson is elected governor of Texas for the second
time. In protest over political patronage and corruption, 40 Rangers
quit the force and the remainder are fired. Political appointees
an investigation of corruption in the Ferguson administration, a
panel recommends the formation of the Texas Department of Public
Safety headed by an independent Public Safety Commission. Newly
elected Governor Allred revokes the commissions of all Texas Rangers
appointed by the Ferguson administration.
Clyde Barrow & Bonnie Parker
Texas Rangers Frank Hamer and Manny Gault (who left service when
the Ferguson Administration gained power) are commissioned as special
investigators to end the crime spree of notorious outlaws Clyde
Barrow and Bonnie Parker.
criminal duo broke into the Texas State prison in Huntsville to
rescue a gang member, and shot their way out of two previous attempted
arrests. Hamer and Gault decide to take no chances. They set up
an ambush on a rural Louisiana road and pour a hail of bullets into
the car. The shooting ends the lives of Bonnie & Clyde, but
gives birth to a legend.
movie starring Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, will resurrect the
groundless legend of Bonnie & Clyde, part "Romeo &
Juliet" and part "Robin Hood", soft-pedalling the
fact that they killed at least 13 police officers and citizens.
In one incredibly inaccurate scene, the movie depicts the pair capturing
Frank Hamer -- an event that never occurred.