Marvin “Red” Burton


Marvin “Red” Burton
1885 – 1970

“Red” Burton, Texas Ranger

Marvin (Red) Burton was born in 1885 in McLennan County. He never wanted to be a policeman, but he served as Waco’s chief of police for more than four years.

He began his career as a Ranger with his appointment by Governor Pat Neff in 1922. He was instrumental in cleaning up the professional whiskey makers and other major crimes of the troubled oil-boom town of Borger.

In February, 1922, a series of ax murders and rapes began in McLennan County. Two men were convicted of the crimes, but Burton did not believe they were guilty, and even testified in their defense. Later the real murderer was arrested. Burton helped to control the crowd of 5000 at his hanging – the last legal hanging in Texas, in 1923.

Burton’s service as a law officer included police chief, deputy sheriff, Special Ranger, and Texas Ranger. He died in 1970.

Suggestions for further reading:

  • Vertical files, Texas Ranger Research Center, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, Waco, TX.