Thomas R. Hickman

Photograph of Thomas R. Hickman

1886 - 1962

Thomas R. Hickman was born in Cooke County Texas in February 1886. He graduated from Gainesville Business College in 1907. For a short time he was a member of the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch Show. He also served as a deputy constable in Gainesville and a deputy sheriff in Cooke County.

Hickman was appointed a private in the Texas Rangers in 1919. He soon rose to the rank of sergeant and at the end of 1920 was appointed Captain of Emergency Company #2. In 1922 he became Captain of Company B. During the 1920s and 1930s much of Hickman’s time was spent in trying to maintain law and order in the North Texas oil-boom towns. He was also worked the Oklahoma boundary dispute and many bank robberies, including the Santa Claus Bank Robbery in Cisco, Texas in 1927. Hickman left the Rangers in 1935 following a dispute with Governor James Allred.

In addition to his job as a Texas Ranger, Hickman remained involved in rodeo. He judged the first American rodeo in England in 1924 and the first rodeo held in Madison Square Garden in 1926. In 1936 he returned to being a deputy in Gainesville. In 1942 he received a Special Ranger commission and worked for the Gulf Oil Corporation in that capacity until his appointment to the Public Safety Commission in 1957. On February 17, 1961 he became chairman of the Commission, serving in that capacity until his death on January 29, 1962.

Suggestions for further reading:

  • The New Handbook of Texas, Austin: The Texas State Historical Association, 1996 – entries for Hickman, Thomas R. and Boundaries
  • A. C. Greene, The Santa Claus Bank Robbery, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1972
  • Vertical files at the Texas Ranger Research Center, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, Waco, Texas
  • Vertical files at the Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas