The Official Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco, Texas
Texas Ranger History: Timeline - Defending the Law

1837

US Texas FlagMarch - U.S. recognizes Texas as an Independent Republic.

 



1837-39

RifleNumerous Ranger skirmishes with Indians and Mexican forces.

 

 

 

 

 

1839

Lamar
Mirabeau
Buonaparte Lamar

Two companies of American Indian Texas Rangers, one under a German immigrant Captain and one under a Lipan Apache Captain, fight the Comanche Nation on behalf of the Republic of Texas.

Throughout the Republic, both Hispanic and Indian Texans serve as Texas Rangers against the forces of Mexico, border guerillas and hostile Indians.

July - Pres. Mirabeau Lamar, completely ignoring the service of Indians friendly to the Republic, vows to rid Texas of Indians. He initiates a campaign to drive Cherokees from Texas.

 

1840

Indian RaidMarch - The Council House Fight erupts during peace negotiations when Comanche leaders fail to turn over white hostages. A fight erupts, and 35 Comanches and 8 settlers are killed.

March to August - Comanche raids spread throughout Texas in response to the Council House Fight. A virtual state of war exists between the Republic of Texas and the Comanche.

August 12 - A Comanche raiding party estimated -- at 600 to 1,000 -- reaches the towns of Linnville and Victoria on the coast, sack and burn them, then head back towards Comancheria. They are intercepted by Texas Rangers and Texas Cavalry at Plum Creek and suffer sizable losses. This ends the great Comanche raids in Texas.

1842

image

Hays
Capt. Jack Hays in Later Life

March - A Mexican force of 500 under Gen. Rafael Vasquez raids San Antonio, Victoria and Goliad.


September - A Mexican force of 1,400 under Gen. Adrian Woll occupies San Antonio and brashly declares Texas reconquered by Mexico.

A combined force of 600 Texas Rangers, volunteers and Texas Army soldiers under Capt. Jack Hays lure the Mexican Army into the Battle of Salado Creek (outside San Antonio) forcing Woll's return to Mexico.

 

 

1844

PatersonTexas Rangers under Capt. Jack Hays first use the five-shot Colt revolver (Paterson model) against the Comanche at the Battle of Walker Creek.

 

 

 


1845

star
28-Star U.S. Flag

Texas is annexed by U.S. and becomes the 28th state.

 

 

 

 

1846-48

Graphic Newspaper Soon after Mexican War begins, Texas Rangers muster out of the Ranger service and into the U.S. Army. They provide invaluable service as scouts and guerrillas and become sensations in the U.S. newspapers.

 

 

 



1848

imageThe Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo fixes the southern boundary of the U.S. and Mexico at the Rio Grande.

 

 

 

 

 

1849

Three Ranger companies (later 6) are formed to patrol and protect the frontier.

1858

RipIronjacketJohn "RIP" Ford is appointed to head the Texas Rangers. His nickname came from the many letters of condolences he wrote using the phrase "Rest In Peace" informing families of the deaths of Texas soldiers during the Mexican War. Texas Rangers kill Comanche medicine chief Iron Jacket and 78 warriors after their raids on northern Texas settlements. Iron Jacket was named for an ancient Spanish coat-of-chain-mail or breastplate that he wore. He believed would make him invulnerable to the white man's bullets -- It didn't work.



1859-60

Cortina Juan Nepomuceno Cortina

Juan Cortina and his supporters occupy Brownsville and proclaim the Republic of the Rio Grande. Cortina sought the restoration of all former Mexican land between the Nueces and Rio Grande. Cortina initially defeats a force of Texas Rangers and local authorities, but when they are reinforced by army troops, he retreats into Mexico where he wages a guerilla war for another ten years.

 

 



1861

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Confederate Flag of State

February - Texas secedes from the Union and joins the Confederacy. Sam Houston falls from popularity after opposing the secession of Texas. Many Confederate Units use the term "Ranger" (such as Terry's Texas Rangers) in their names, but are CSA, not Texas Ranger units.

 

1861-63

imageDefying orders from the Confederacy that all able bodied men serve in the Confederate forces, the Governor of Texas authorizes the creation of the Frontier Regiment to provide defense against Indians and criminals. The Comanche use the disorder and shortage of men caused by the war to push the line of settlement back a hundred miles. Men in the Frontier Regiment are exempt from the Confederate draft until they are mustered en masse into Confederate service at the end of 1863 and sent to the coast.

1864-65

Cabin IllustrationAfter losing the Frontier Regiment to the Confederate Army, the Governor authorizes the formation of the Frontier Organization to replace the Frontier Regiment on the frontier.

 

 

 



1866-69

MilitiaImmediately following the war, ranging duties are performed by "Minute Men" companies formed in the frontier counties. They serve at irregular intervals into the late 1870s.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1870

starMarch - Texas is readmitted to the Union. The Frontier Forces are organized to range the frontier in addition to the Minute Men companies.

 

 

 

The Official Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco, Texas