3 years ago

January 2020 Blues Vol 36 No 1

The BLUES Police Newspaper celebrates 35yrs. of service to Law Enforcement


CORPUS CHRISTI POLICE HISTORY MUSEUM THE FIRST TEXAS RANGERS A small militia force protecting settlers in the then Mexican province of Tejas. Though photos from back in 1823 are rare and hard to find, this classic photo was taken either before or after the famous 1892 shoot-out in Shafter, Texas, where the Texas Rangers had been sent to protect a silver mine. (Standing, from left) Robert “Bob” Speaks and Jim Putman. (Seated, from left) Alonzo Van “Lon” Oden and John R. Hughes. Ira Aten had recommended Hughes to the Texas Rangers after Hughes ably assisted him in the 1886 pursuit of murderer Wes Colliers. Patrolman Eric “Joker” Harlan , retired in 1959 after 33 years of service with Corpus Christi PD and passed away a month later. Patrolman Eric “Joker” Harlan’s thirty-year career was the longest continuing service in the Corpus Christi Police Department at the time of his death in 1959. In honor of his service, the department posted a two-man honor guard near his coffin around the clock from his death on Monday until his burial on the following Saturday. Harlan was a barber from Alabama. His poor eyesight and a deficient arm kept him from military service, but he patrolled downtown Corpus Christi on the overnight shift from 1929 until heart surgery forced his retirement in January 1959. He said there were seventeen officers in the force when he joined. Harlan claimed he never lost a fight and that he would be happy as long as he had a plug of tobacco. Once Harlan and other officers helped a baby and his stranded family by feeding them and providing clothing, food, and transportation home. The first car alarm he encountered scared Harlan “to death,” he said, and he didn’t think to disconnect the car’s battery, leaving the alarm sounding in the silence of an early morning until the tow truck arrived. Harlan died on March 30, 1959, one month after retiring from the Corpus Christi Police Department. We thank him for his long service. FIRST JAILS IN TEXAS The Texas Ranger on the left is Thomas Byrd (buried in Quanah, Texas): on the right is Texas Ranger Haynes (given names believed to be John James- buried in the Confederate Cemetery in City Cemetery #4 in San Antonio. The first jailhouse in Port Arthur, Texas, as seen in 1930. It was built in 1897. I can imagine that day after day in this place ---- no air conditioning but approximately 6-7 billion mosquitoes (give or take a billion) ---- was no fun. Probably make a body think twice about breaking the law and going back! --Traces of Texas Facebook-- 34 The BLUES POLICE MAGAZINE The BLUES POLICE MAGAZINE 35

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