The Texas Rangers are the oldest state law enforcement agency in North America. They began in 1823 when Texas was still a part of Mexico. Stephen F. Austin, considered to be the father of Texas, obtained permission from the Mexican government to employ ten men to act as rangers for the defense of the new Texas frontier. The Rangers primary job was to protect against hostile Indians, outlaws, and Mexican bandits. To survive, Rangers adapted to the Indian ways, especially when it came to horsemanship. Early Rangers had to provide their own horse and equipment, often carrying multiple pistols, rifles, and knives. Anglos, Hispanics and American Indians all served, in ranks from private to captain. Many also came from Ireland, Germany, Scotland and England. Early Rangers shot Spanish pistols, Tennessee and Kentucky rifles, carried Bowie knives made in Sheffield, England and rode fast Mexican ponies.
The term “Texas Ranger” didn’t officially appear in legislation until 1874. The Rangers were one of the earliest customers of the Colt Revolver, which allowed repetitive shooting without reloading. This was especially useful against Indians shooting arrows. Rangers dealt with bloody feuds, miniature wars, lynch mobs, cattle thieves, barbed wire fence cutters, killers and other bad men, and they usually prevailed. The Rangers still exist today, headquartered out of Austin and with over 100 commissioned members.
Read Kristy's first book in her Wings of the West Series, THE WREN, which features Texas Ranger Matt Ryan as he reunites with Molly Hart, thought long dead at the hands of the Comanche Indians.
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