Timeline


Timeline

The following is a timeline of memorable dates in the six eras of Texas Ranger history in a year-by-year format.

* This timeline is formatted for a widescreen monitor. Please click here to view a PDF if experiencing issues. *

The Ranging Tradition (1821-1836)

Mexican Independence to the Texas Revolution

1821 - Mexican Independence from Spain

Moses Austin is commissioned an empresario by the Mexican government and authorized to bring settlers from the U.S. and Europe to the Mexican territory of Tejas (Texas).

Settlers are offered land in Tejas if they will become naturalized Mexican citizens, adopt the Catholic faith and learn Spanish. After an untimely death, Stephen F. Austin, (Moses Austin's son) assumes the commission.

American and European immigrants stream into the Tejas territory between 1821 and 1829.

Comanche Warrior
Comanche Warrior

1823 - Founding of the Texas Rangers

The Mexican government, wracked by political and economic turmoil following Independence, cannot protect its northern territories from attack by hostile Indians.

The pressure of Indian raids, two companies of "men . . . to act as rangers for the common defense" are formed under Stephen F. Austin's authority as empresario. These men are commonly regarded as the first Texas Rangers.

1824

Mexico enacts a Constitution, based on the U.S. Constitution, establishing a republican government. However, it fails to define the rights of states within the Republic, which will become an issue leading to the Texas Revolution.  

1824-25

Ranger companies engage in skirmishes with bands of Comanche, Karankawa, Waco, Tehuacani and Tonkawa Indians.The lack of central authority among the various bands of Indians makes distinguishing hostile from peaceful bands difficult.

1829

Mexico refuses an American offer to buy Tejas for $5 million.

1830

Mexico imposes strict limits on immigration to Texas from the United States. The Central Government fears that runaway immigration will result in Tejas becoming a de facto U.S. Territory.

Although immigration restrictions are later relaxed, this creates a schism between the naturalized Texas settlers and the Mexican Central Government.

Between 1823 and 1836 an estimated 50,000 settlers will arrive in Texas from the United States and Europe.

1832-33

June 26, 1832 - The Battle of Velasco is the first conflict between Mexican soldiers and Texas settlers. Mexican commander Domingo de Ugartechea surrenders after running out of ammunition.

Settlers propose recognition of Texas as a Mexican state. The Mexican Central Government rejects their request and Texas remains part of the state of Tejas y Coahuila.

Flag of Tejas y Coahuila
Flag of Tejas y Coahuila
The Alt Text
Stephen F. Austin

Settlers hold the first of two conventions to protest Mexican Central Government treatment of the Texas settlers.

1833

Stephen F. Austin journeys to Mexico City to petition for states' rights. The Vice-president, Gomez Farias, refuses to meet with him because President Santa Anna is never available. After many bureaucratic delays, Austin gives up and leaves for Texas.

On the long return trip, Austin is overtaken by Mexican troops and arrested for inciting revolution. He will be imprisoned without due process until September of 1835. After having pleaded with the Tejas settlers for moderation, he now becomes a fervent believer in the Texas Independence movement.

Samuel Colt patents his design for a revolving pistol, designed as a gentleman's pocket pistol. Although the Texas Rangers will use it with great success in the 1840s, initial sales are lackluster and Colt eventually goes bankrupt.

1834

In a remarkable coup, President Santa Anna deposes his Vice-president, declares himself Dictator of Mexico, and ultimately suspends the democratic Mexican Constitution of 1824.

The settlers in Tejas view the new dictator, the suspension of the Constitution of 1824, the denial of states rights for Texas, and the imprisonment of Austin as ample justifications for a revolution and Independence.

1835

September - In a conciliatory gesture, Santa Anna releases Stephen F. Austin from prison.

Antonio López de Santa 
 Anna Pérez de Lebrón
Antonio López de Santa Anna Pérez de Lebrón

October 2 - A division of Mexican cavalry is sent to Gonzales to confiscate a cannon originally given to the local settlers for defense against raiding Indians. 51 settlers repulse the Mexican force under a banner bearing the words "Come and Take It." This marks the beginning of the Texas Revolution.

The Gonzales Flag
The Gonzales Flag
The Texas Flag of 1835
The Texas Flag of 1835

October 9 - Volunteers under George Collingsworth and Ben Milam capture the Mexican presidio (fort) of Goliad, near San Antonio and its supply depot. Volunteers under the command of Stephen F. Austin, camp near San Antonio and begin the Siege of San Antonio de Bexar.

November 3 - A provisional Texas government is established by the "Consultation of 1835."

The Consultation authorizes recruiting of 25 Rangers, this is later increased to three companies of 56 men each.

In the coming fighting, loose organization makes it difficult to determine who fought as a member of the "Texian Army" and who served as a Ranger. Ranger and Army units often fight together with the same command structure.

December 9 - Mexican General Cos surrenders San Antonio to the Texian Army

1836 - Battle of the Alamo

January - Santa Anna leads the Mexican Army, arguably the best trained and equipped military force in the world, north to put down the rebellion.

February - Col. William B. Travis is sent to San Antonio, just ahead of a large force of Mexican troops, to remove artillery, destroy or remove supplies and perhaps raze the Alamo. His orders are to deny the former mission, and anything of value in it, to the Mexican Army. Finding little of value after the siege of San Antonio, Travis elects to ignore his orders and defend the crumbling walls of the Alamo to buy time for the organization of Texas troops.

HISTORY_Alamo1

James Fanin and his troops ignore orders from President Sam Houston to withdraw from the Presidio of Goliad. Like Travis' forces at the Alamo, they elect to stay and defend the post.

San Jacinto Battle Flag
Courtesy Star of the Republic Museum

San Jacinto Battle Flag

Courtesy Star of the Republic Museum

March 1- The Gonzales Ranging Company of Mounted Volunteers is the only group to answer Col. Travis' call for assistance in defending the Alamo. This party of Texas Rangers dies alongside the other defenders of the Alamo.

March - A Texas Ranger detachment rescues a child of Sarah Hibbons kidnapped by Comanches.

March 2 - The Texas Declaration of Independence is signed and the Republic of Texas born.

March 6 - After a two-week siege, a Mexican force estimated at 5,000 overwhelms the estimated 190 defenders of the Alamo. All of the defenders perish -- including the Gonzales ranging company and Hispanic citizens opposing Santa Anna's coup.

March 19 - After receiving news of the fall of the Alamo, some 300 Texians at Goliad under Fannin, including Rangers, soldiers and noncombatants, begin a retreat. Unfortunately, it is too late -- Santa Anna catches them on the open prairie and accepts their surrender after a small skirmish.

March 27 - On Palm Sunday, Fannin's entire command is marched into the fields near Goliad and executed at Gen. Santa Anna's order. An estimated 350 are slaughtered, a few escape. The massacres of 540 defenders at the Alamo and Goliad becomes a battle cry for the Texians "Remember the Alamo, Remember Goliad."

From February, until the battle at San Jacinto, the Tumlinson Rangers fight a rearguard action protecting colonists and the fragmented Texian Army retreating in front of the Mexican Army in the "Runaway Scrape."

April 21 - After a long strategic retreat to wear down the Mexican Army and stretch its supply lines, forces under Sam Houston surprise and defeat the Mexican Army at the Battle of San Jacinto in southeast Texas, ensuring Texas Independence.

May 14 - Santa Anna signs two treaties at Velasco. The first, a public document, declares that all hostilities are ended, that the Mexican army will immediately withdraw from Texas, and that all Texian prisoners will be released. The second agreement, a secret treaty, agrees to recognize Texas Independence in exchange for sparing and freeing Santa Anna.

The Treaty of Velasco. Image courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
The Treaty of Velasco. Image courtesy of Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Santa Anna soon repudiates both agreements after his return to Mexico. However, he is removed from power and exiled. Mexican troops and Texans fight a series of intermittent border clashes for the next 10 years.

December 27 - Stephen F. Austin, the "Father of Texas," dies after serving two months as Secretary of State for the new Republic. Ironically, Sam Houston, not Austin, had been elected as the first President of the Republic.

Defending the Frontier (1837-1870)

from the Republic of Texas through the Civil War and readmission to the Union

1837

March - U.S. recognizes Texas as an Independent Republic.

1837-39

Numerous Ranger skirmishes with Indians and Mexican forces.

1839

Seal of the Republic of Texas
Seal of the Republic of Texas
Mirabeau Buonaparte 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 - President Mirabeau B. 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

March - 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

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.

Jack Hays, Texas Ranger
Jack Hays, Texas Ranger

1844 - Colt Paterson

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

1845

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

1846-48

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

The 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.

28-Star U.S. Flag
28-Star U.S. Flag
HISTORY_texas1848
Texas Ranger Rip Ford
Texas Ranger Rip Ford
Juan Nepomuceno Cortina
Juan Nepomuceno Cortina

1858

John "RIP" Ford is appointed to head the Texas Rangers. His nickname came from the many letters of condolences he wrote using the phrase "Rest IPeace" 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

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 - Secession

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.

Confederate States of America
Confederate States of America

1861-63

Defying 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

After 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

Immediately 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

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

HISTORY_1870map

Enforcing the Law (1874-1900)

Creation of the Frontier Battalion to the beginning of a new Century

John B. Jones, Texas Ranger
John B. Jones, Texas Ranger

1874

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.

1875

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.

1877

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.

Leander McNelly, Texas Ranger, circa 1875.
Leander McNelly, Texas Ranger, circa 1875.

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.

 

El Paso Salt Flats courtesy NPS
El Paso Salt Flats courtesy NPS
Outlaw Sam Bass
Outlaw Sam Bass

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.

1878

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.

1880

Capt. 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.

HISTORY_stagecoach

1881

Apache 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.

1883-88 - Fence Cutting Wars

Free 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.

HISTORY_barbedwire
HISTORY_Boxing

1896 - One Riot, One Ranger

All 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.

1900

The Great Galveston Hurricane was a Category 4 storm, with winds of up to 145 mph (233 km/h), which made landfall on September 8, 1900, in Galveston, leaving about 6,000 to 12,000 dead. It was the deadliest hurricane in US history. Texas Rangers are called in to maintain peace and uphold the law in the disaster area.

Order Out of Chaos (1901-1934)

An era of oil discoveries, Prohibition and the rise of motorized gangsters

1901

The 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."

The 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.

1910

Mexican Revolution causes increased disorder on both sides of the border.

Lucas gusher at Spindletop, January 10, 1901
Lucas gusher at Spindletop, January 10, 1901

1915-18 - Plan de San Diego

Panic spreads in 1915 when authorities in McAllen, Texas, arrest Basilio Ramos, Jr. Ramos is carrying a copy of the Plan de San Diego, a revolutionary manifesto supposedly written and signed at the South Texas town of San Diego.

HISTORY_plan
President Venustiano Carranza
President Venustiano Carranza

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.

Raids 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.

The 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."

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.

The 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.

The 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.

In response to US troops on Mexican soil, President Venustiano 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.

1917-19

The 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 State Zimmerman became 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.

Portrait of José T. Canales with his wife.
Portrait of José T. Canales with his wife.

In 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.

The 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. 

 

1920-33 - Prohibition

National 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 and speakeasies.

1932

Miriam "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 replace them.

Miriam A. "Ma" Ferguson
Miriam A. "Ma" Ferguson
DPS_logo

1934

Following 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.

Former 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.

The 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.

A 1960s movie starring Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty, will resurrect the groundless legend of Bonnie & Clyde, part "Romeo & Juliet" and part "Robin Hood", soft-pedaling 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.

Captain Frank Hamer on Horseback
Captain Frank Hamer on Horseback
Clyde Barrow & Bonnie Parker
Clyde Barrow & Bonnie Parker

Special Investigations (1935-2009)

Serving under the newly formed Department of Public Safety as lead investigators for the State of Texas. 2000-01 began the third century in which the Texas Rangers will serve begins with the Rangers at an authorized strength of 107.

Thomas Hickman, Texas Ranger
Thomas Hickman, Texas Ranger

1935

August - The Department of Public Safety begins operation with Tom Hickman commissioned as Senior Ranger Captain. Capt. Hickman will later serve as a member of the Public Safety Commission.

1936

Texas celebrates its Centennial at Fair Park in Dallas.

A centerpiece of the fair is the Company B Texas Rangers headquarters building and the world premiere of King Vidor's movie The Texas Rangers.

Texas Ranger Dub Naylor and child in front of Co. B Headquarters in Fair Park, Dallas
Texas Ranger Dub Naylor and child in front of Co. B Headquarters in Fair Park, Dallas

1939

September - Despite U.S. neutrality, Capt. Frank Hamer and 49 retired Texas Rangers offer their services to the King of England to defend their shores against Nazi invasion. The U.S. State Department is not amused. The King thanks Capt. Hamer and the retired Rangers for their offer.

During the war, rumors that "Rangers" will infiltrate Nazi Germany causes concern in the Reich. The rumors were based on tales of U.S. Army Ranger commandos, but so famous are the Texas Rangers that the Gestapo and Ministry of Propaganda assume that they will face Texas Rangers.

1941-45

During World War II, Army Criminal Intelligence Division officers train with the Texas Rangers at the DPS headquarters in Austin.

HISTORY_GreatBritain
"Lonewolf" Gonzaullas, Texas Ranger
"Lonewolf" Gonzaullas, Texas Ranger

1946

The "Phantom Killer" murders five and wounds three young people in Texarkana, Texas. 

After the third murder, Texas Ranger Captain Manuel T. "Lonewolf" Gonzaullas is called in to head the investigation. Although he will follow hundreds of leads, no arrest is made. The case is still open, although the prime suspect dies in a rest home many years later.

1949

The Texas Department of Public Safety builds a new campus in Austin including administrative offices and training facilities. The Texas Rangers acquire their first airplane.

HISTORY_airplane
"Bob" Crowder, Texas Ranger
"Bob" Crowder, Texas Ranger

1955

Texas Ranger Capt. Bob Crowder peacefully resolves a hostage situation at the Rusk Hospital for the Criminally Insane. 

1960s

During the turmoil of the 1960s, Texas Rangers are ordered to investigate and police strikes at the Lone Star Steel Plant and to control labor unrest among migrant workers in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Following civil rights lawsuits, policy is changed so that Texas Rangers are employed in criminal investigations, not sent to police labor disputes.

1968

The Col. Homer Garrison Texas Ranger Museum is opened in Waco as the official Texas Department of Public Safety museum for the Texas Rangers. Entertainer Danny Thomas and Gunsmoke star James Arness attend the opening.

SLIDER_Building

1974

Fred Carrasco and two other prisoners take over the library and educational facility at the Walls Unit at the state prison in Huntsville. Ranger Captains Rogers and Burks lead an assault to free the hostages.

TEXAS_logo

1976

In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Rangers in 1973, the State Legislature creates the Texas Ranger Commemorative Commission with goal of raising funds to build a Texas Ranger Hall of Fame at the Texas Ranger museum in Waco. 

The facility is dedicated in 1976 and as the Official Texas State Hall of Fame for the Texas Rangers and renamed The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.

1978

Texas Ranger Bobby Doherty is killed during a drug raid in Denton, Texas. He is later inducted into the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame. Doherty was the first Texas Ranger in 47 years to die in the line of duty.

1987

Texas Ranger Sgt. Stan Guffey is killed while saving the life of a child during a kidnapping. He is later inducted into the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame.

HISTORY_halloffamerangers

1993

Texas Rangers begin an investigation into the deaths of four ATF agents following the attempted execution of a search warrant at the Branch Davidian Compound at Elk, Texas, near Waco.

Texas Rangers will later conduct a follow-up investigation at the request of the assistant U.S. Attorney in Waco. Investigations and trials related to the tragedy will extend into 2000.

Capt. Barry Caver, Ret.
Capt. Barry Caver, Ret.

1997

Texas Rangers commanded by Capt. Barry Caver conduct hostage negotiations with the Republic of Texas, a militant political organization which claims Texas is still an independent nation. Texas Rangers are able to secure the release of all hostages and negotiate the surrender of most of those involved.

The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum is named the Official State Repository for Texas Ranger memorabilia by the state legislature.

1998

The 175th anniversary of the Texas Ranger Service is commemorated by the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum. The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum celebrates its 30th anniversary.

1999

A nationwide manhunt for accused serial murderer Angel Maturino Resendez is launched by the FBI. An investigation by Ranger Sergeants Drew Carter and Brian Taylor of Company A result in Resendez' surrender in El Paso.

Texas Ranger Sgt. Matt Cawthon of Company F, U.S. Postal Inspector R.C. "Bob" Adams and Bellmead, Texas Detective Thomas Noble end a widespread child pornography ring and receive Officer of the Year awards from Congress, the Department of Justice and the Fraternal Order of Police, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

PEOPLE_Resendez
HISTORY_Spaceshuttle

2000-01

The third century in which the Texas Rangers will serve begins with the Rangers at an authorized strength of 107 and Senior Captain Bruce Casteel in command.

2002

Col. Paul Lockhart, pilot of Space Shuttle mission STS-111, takes a Texas Ranger badge into orbit in honor of the upcoming 180th anniversary of the Texas Rangers (in 2003).

2004

Chief Earl R. Pearson becomes the first modern African-American Texas Ranger Chief. He serves as chief from May 2004 to August 2005.

2008

Chief Antonio "Tony" Leal becomes the first modern Hispanic Texas Ranger Chief. He serves as chief from December 2008 to March 2011.

Chief Earl Pearson, Ret.
Chief Earl Pearson, Ret.
Chief Tony Leal, Ret.
Chief Tony Leal, Ret.

The Modern Era (2010 - )

New expansion of Texas Ranger roles and responsibilities begins what many historians believe is a new modern era for the Texas Rangers.

2010

August 6, 2010 - The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) celebrates its 75th anniversary with a festival at DPS Headquarters in Austin.

Interdiction for the Protection of Children (IPC) Program is founded.

2011

August - Following a raid of the Yearning for Zion Ranch (YFZ Ranch), and investigation into the polygemy practices of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (FLDS Church) that began in April 2008 by the Texas Rangers, Warren Steed

LOGO_DPS75logo

Jeffs, the President of the FLDS Church, is convicted of two felony counts of child sexual assault. He is currently serving a sentence of life plus 20 years.

October - The Special Operations Group (SOG) is created by Director McCraw to address the growing escalation in illegal narcotics trafficking, human smuggling and escalation of violence in the Texas Border region.

Lt. Wende Wakeman
Lt. Wende Wakeman

2014

Texas Ranger Wende Wakeman is promoted to the rank of lieutenant, making her the highest-ranking female in Texas Ranger history. The promotion is effective August 1.

September - The Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum celebrates its 50th Anniversary. Over 4.5 million people have come through the museum since its opening.

2015

84th Texas Legislative Session passes 3 bills affecting the Texas Rangers: House Bill 11, House Bill 2053 and House Bill 1690. Please click here to read an explanation of the Bills and changes by Chief Randy Prince.

...

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2023

Bicentennial of the Texas Rangers - The 200th Anniversary of the Texas Rangers will be an event of national significance.