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March 2020 Blues Vol 36 No 3

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  • Helm
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  • Continued
  • Ramos
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The BLUES Police Magazine, March 2020 Blues Vol 36 No 3


THE TEXAS FIRST RANGERS TEXAS RANGERS The history of the Texas Rangers is as complicated as Texas history itself The history of the Texas Rangers spans nearly 200 years. Thousands of Rangers patrolled the frontier, fought in military battles, and arrested cattle rustlers. Their story contains heroic acts of bravery, but also moments that challenge our idea of the Rangers as noble lawmen. They protected settlers and enforced laws, but also sometimes executed thieves without a trial, drove Native American tribes from their homelands, and some Rangers even lynched Mexicans and Mexican Americans along the Texas-Mexico border. This month we go back to the early 1900’s. Bandit Raids 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” under the “Hobby Loyalty Act” to serve as a secret service for the State. Loyalty Rangers were to brief the Adjutant General on Mexican revolutionary activities outside Panic spread in 1915 when Texas also responded, as it authorities in McAllen, Texas, arrested had so many times in its his- Basilio Ramos, Jr. Ramos tory, by raising the number was carrying a copy of the Plan of Ranger companies. At the an attack against Laredo was American deaths; an estimated of San Diego, a revolutionary time the Texas Ranger Force considered with a combined 300 Mexicans or Tejanos may manifesto supposedly written was very small, and incapable force of “San Diego raiders” and have been killed in South Texas and signed at the South Texas of maintaining law and regular Mexican Army soldiers. by the actions of Rangers, vigi- town of San Diego. It called for order along the border. The A state of war was narrowly lantes and citizens. Some sources the formation of a “Liberating Texas Legislature by authorizing averted when US and Mexican place the death toll as high as Army of Races and Peoples,” mass inductions and officials agreed to a peaceful 300 and 3,000. of Mexican Americans, African the “overnight” creation of settlement. In January of 1919, Representative Americans, and Japanese, to new Ranger companies. The fragile peace was threatened José T. Canales of Browns- “free” the states of Texas, New Hispanic, as well as Anglo, again in 1917 when a ville demanded a legislative in- Mexico, Arizona, California, and Texans served in these units. World War I telegram sent to vestigation of the conduct of the Colorado from the United States. The Ranger force grew to its Mexico by the German Secretary various Ranger forces during the Versions of the plan called for largest level, but the lack of of State Zimmerman be- period 1915-1917 and the reorga- the murder of all white citizens training and controls were came public “. . . we propose an nization of the force. The Texas over 16 years of age. The goal evident. Some of the new alliance on the following basis Legislature investigated nineteen was an independent republic, companies upheld with Mexico: That we shall charges made against the Texas which might later seek annexation the law while others func- make war together and togeth- Ranger forces in the aftermath to Mexico. tioned as vigilante groups in- if they invade the State let them er make peace. We shall give of the Plan of San Diego and the Raids from both sides of the censed by raids from Mexico. understand they do so at the risk general financial support, and War. border quickly escalated into These Rangers were given of their lives.” it is understood that Mexico is The investigation resulted in the guerilla warfare. Francisco orders and wide powers to keep The vigilante nature, and poor of San Antonio and in the border to reconquer the lost territory in reduction of the Ranger force to (Pancho) Villa’s raid on Columbus, the hostilities in Mexico from command structure on the new counties in Mexico and Texas. New Mexico, Texas, and Arizona. four companies of 17 men each. New Mexico, in March 1916, washing across the river into Ranger units led to incidents un- In response to Pershing’s US The details are left to you for A tightening of qualifications for caused more panic, and the United Texas. Gov. O.B. Colquitt wrote acceptable to “regular” Rangers. troops on Mexican soil, President settlement....” Nothing materi- the Texas Ranger service led to States responded by sending Ranger Capt. John R. Hughes: Serious crimes were commit- Carranza demanded the withalized, but it served to further its initial professionalization. a large military force under Gen. “I instruct you and your men to ted that led to the 1919 Canales drawal of US forces, which was alarm the public. John J. Pershing in pursuit of keep them (Mexican raiders) off Investigation. After one retaliatory summarily rejected. As a result, Mexican raids into Texas in Villa. of Texas territory if possible, and Ranger raid into Mexico, an Mexican raiding intensified and 1915-16 caused an estimated 21 38 The BLUES POLICE MAGAZINE The BLUES POLICE MAGAZINE 39

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