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


Major John B. JonesMajor John B. Jonesfeud graphic

The Frontier Battalion, composed of six companies of 75 men each - later reduced to 40 men each - is created to range the frontier and uphold the laws and peace of Texas.

John B. Jones is appointed Major in charge of the Frontier Battalion and later becomes the Texas Adjutant General.

The Special Force is created to augment the Frontier Battalion and proved protection in the Nueces Strip. Leander McNelly is appointed Captain over the Force.

Texas Rangers intercede in the Sutton-Taylor Feud in DeWitt and Clinton counties.







Texas longhorn
Capt. Leander McNelly
Capt. Leander McNelly

Texas Rangers intercede in the Mason County War, a disagreement between pro-Union German-Americans and former Confederates over cattle theft.

Capt. Leander McNelly and 30 Rangers illegally cross the Mexican border in pursuit of rustlers led by General Juan Cortina. After attacking the wrong ranch, McNelly and 30 men are surrounded by rustlers and Mexican troops. Defying U.S. government orders to return to Texas, McNelly demands the return of 75 head of stolen cattle and the surrender of his adversaries. The cattle are returned and McNelly leaves for Texas after provoking an international incident.










Salt Mine

Capt. Leander McNelly dies from tuberculosis. The State of Texas released him from service due to the cost of his medical bills and incapacity. The Special Force will continue its service until merged with Company F of the Frontier Battalion in 1881.

Disputes over the control of salt deposits near El Paso leads to the El Paso Salt War. Men from the El Paso area are quickly enlisted as Texas Rangers to maintain order until experienced Rangers can arrive.

The novice Rangers are attacked and surrounded. They surrender a prisoner who is later killed. The Texas Rangers are eventually able to restore order and end the "Salt War." After this incident "never surrender" becomes part of the Ranger creed.

Texas Rangers intercede in the Horrell-Higgins Feud in Lampasas and Burnet counties. Frontier Battalion Major John B. Jones ends the fighting by forcing a signed peace agreement.

John B. Armstrong captures outlaw John Wesley Hardin after a shoot-out in passenger train car in Pensacola, Florida.

The U.S. Army ends the Comanche threat at Palo Duro Canyon when they destroy a large portion of the Comanche horse heard.





Sam BassOutlaw Sam Bass

Nearly every law officer in Texas is placed on lookout for the notorious outlaw Sam Bass. Rangers eventually track Bass to Round Rock where he and his men are killed while attempting to rob the Round Rock bank.







Texas graphicCapt. G.W. Arrington and Texas Rangers Company C explore the Texas Panhandle in search of Indians stealing horses from the Slaughter Ranch. They locate water holes and supply reliable information that makes expanded settlement of the Panhandle possible.





Stagecoach graphicApache Indians attack a stagecoach near the Diablo Mountains in West Texas. Captain George Baylor's Company A, with Pueblo Indian scouts, attack their camp. This incident marks the end of the Indian Wars in Texas.





graphicFree Range advocates and rustlers wage war on farmers and ranchers using barbed wire fence, resorting to threats, intimidation and murder to advance their cause. Rangers are called in to stop fence cutting and protect people and property.





prize fighter graphicAll Texas Rangers are summoned to El Paso to prevent the illegal Maher-Fitzsimmons heavyweight prize fight.

Ironically, this may be the event that spawned the "One Riot, One Ranger" phrase -- although virtually every Ranger in Texas was on hand. The fight was moved to an "island" in the middle of the Rio Grande river between the U.S. and Mexico.





graphicThe Galveston hurricane proves to be the most destructive in U.S. history to that date. Texas Rangers are called in to maintain peace and uphold the law in the disaster area.




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