Texas Rangers

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Texas Rangers

Postby NefariousNed on Thu Jul 20, 2017 12:47 pm

This is as good a way as any to get a "Texas Rangers" thread staretd. An article in today's San Antonio Express News about Jack Coffee Hays.

AlamoExpressNewsJackHayes07-20-17.jpg
AlamoExpressNewsJackHayes07-20-17.jpg (82.09 KiB) Viewed 439 times

John Coffee “Jack” Hays was in many ways the original Texas Ranger, the one everybody wanted to follow and emulate after he came to San
Antonio in 1838.

Until he led men in pitched battles armed with the Colt revolving pistol, the Comanche Indians had ruled the southern Plains, routinely butchering
settlers who had pushed too far west.

Comanches had easily outrun punitive expeditions that had chased them since a group of Spaniards came to a river they called the Rio San
Antonio in 1691. But the fearless, resourceful Hays, who stood 5 feet 8 inches or so and had a medium build, auburn hair and a boyish look in his
youth, turned the tables on the continent’s greatest warriors.

“He was probably the Ranger who made the Ranger name,” said retired Texas Ranger Joe Davis, who noted that Hays earned respect by living
with his men and sharing their privations. “He was like a natural-born leader. He would be the captain to say, ‘Follow me.’ ”

A book detailing the Comanches, “Empire of the Summer Moon,” calls Hays the “über-Ranger” who was “the first great Indian fighter on the
plains frontier” and “the legend that spawned a thousands other legends, dime novels, and Hollywood movies.” A synopsis of his life provided
by Davis’ Former Texas Ranger Foundation in Fredericksburg describes Hays as “the greatest Indian fighter in Texas history.”

Hays, who earned widespread fame because of his exploits, was born in Cedar Lick, Tennessee — 99 years after the founding of San Antonio in
1718 — and came to Texas after Sam Houston’s victory at San Jacinto. S.C. Gwynne, author of “Empire of the Summer Moon,” describes him as
one of many adventurous men who came to San Antonio, in those days a land of wonders and a hunter’s paradise rich in deer, antelope, wild
turkey, buffalo and bears.

“The crystal clear limestone rivers like the Llano, the Guadalupe, the Pedernales, and the San Marcos were jumping with fish,” he wrote.

A Texas Department of Public Safety history says the Rangers have been around the Lone Star State almost continuously from the year of
colonization to the present. They existed even before Hays arrived to fight in the 1836 revolution, in time to bury the victims of the Goliad
massacre, according to the Texas State Historical Association’s Handbook of Texas Online.

Stephen F. Austin, who led a group of 300 settlers to Texas when Spain ruled in 1821, organized a group he called Rangers two years later. They
got the name because they rode or ranged over large swaths of Texas. A corps of Texas Rangers was created before Thanksgiving 1835 complete
with officers and one-year enlistments. Privates earned $1.25 a day.

They became known for fighting Indians after the Texas Revolution and continued in that role until the Civil War, fighting with the Confederate
Army, but went by the name “State Police” during Reconstruction and became the object of widespread resentment because of their enforcement
of “carpetbagger” laws.

The Rangers were reborn after Reconstruction ended in 1873. Six companies of 75 Rangers each were formed the next year to combat Indian
raids on the Texas frontier, but something else important occurred: They were given the status of law-enforcement officers, setting the stage
for the organization’s evolution.

By the late 19th century, the Rangers were doing detective work, combat-ting cattle and horse thieves, and fence cutters. These days they’re
within the DPS, investigating major crimes, unsolved cases, serial killings, public corruption and public integrity cases, officer-involved shootings
and border-security operations.

Hays became the prototypical Ranger thanks to Houston, who told him to serve with a group of Rangers led by Erastus “Deaf” Smith. As they
worked from San Antonio to the Rio Grande, Hays rose to sergeant and fought against Mexican cavalry before settling here as a surveyor.

That job meant fighting Indians, and Hays was a quick study. He became known for his skill at defeating them and keeping his own men alive.

His gift for leadership didn’t go unnoticed. A deputy surveyor of Bexar County, he was appointed captain of the Rangers at just 23.

Hays learned to fight as the Comanches did — from a horse — and taught those who rode with him how to use the Colt revolving pistol as they
galloped into a fight. He wrote a critical history of the American West after adopting the Colt Paterson, a five-shot,.36-caliber weapon. The
Comanches and Mexicans he fought called him “Capitan Yak,” and Gwynne wrote that he soon rode into battle with a price on his head.

Neither that, nor the odds, mattered.

In 1844, Hays and 15 Rangers took on a group of Comanches that was five times larger. It was the first time the Rangers used the Colt Paterson,
named for the New Jersey city, and they won the day at the Battle of Walker’s Creek, near Sisterdale between Boerne and Fredericksburg.

“It was said, in one of the books, it was like they had found the atomic bomb, referring to those pistols,” said Davis.

The weapon couldn’t be easily loaded while riders sat in their saddles, but it was a major improvement over single-shot pistols and rifles.
Moreover, it wasn’t just the gun that unnerved those who rode against Hays’ Rangers.

“Empire of the Summer Moon” details how he turned the tables on the Comanche, whose skill in fighting from their horses was unmatched by
anyone. Hays learned the way of the Comanche, imitating how they rode, tracked, made camp and fought. It seems to have been an original
idea, at least to the Anglos. Tejanos, who served with Hays along with Indians from various tribes, had fought like the Comanches for decades.

Hays and his men traveled by moonlight as they fought during the early 1840s. They used rivers or the stars to navigate. Gwynne said they lived
in “cold camps,” built no fires and even ate the same food as the Indians — honey, wild game, corn mixed with sugar, and unleavened bread cut
up into wafers called hardtack. They slept in their clothes.

Gwynne said learning to do battle on horseback “represented an enormous advance in anti-Indian warfare.” But the thing that cinched it for the
Rangers was the Colt.

The revolving pistol, invented by Samuel Colt, went into production in 1836 in Paterson, New Jersey. It initially featured a five-shot chamber firing
.28-caliber rounds, but Colt increased it to a .36-caliber weapon the following year. Once Hays and the Rangers began using the .36-caliber handgun
with a long barrel, first on the Texas prairie and later during the Mexican War, they shared ideas on improving it with Colt.

Their use of the gun and subsequent collaboration transformed the West. The Army adopted the Dragoon revolver, a six-shot, .45-caliber version
of the Colt, in 1848, after seeing Hays and his Rangers employ the Paterson during war in Mexico. John Manguso, a retired director of the Fort
Sam Houston Museum, said it had an immediate impact.

“Previously, all they had were single-shot muzzle loaders, which doesn’t leave you much after your first shot, especially when the Indians are riding
around with a quiver full of arrows and you’ve shot your pistol and your carbine,” he explained.

Hays found a simple way to compensate for the Colt’s shortcomings — attack Comanches at night, as they slept. It’s just what the Comanches did
to their enemies.

That kind of war led to brutal endings. As Gwynne and many other historians note, Comanches didn’t spare their foes and neither did Hay’s Rangers.

When he led the 2nd Regiment of Texas Volunteers during the Mexican War, the unit’s history was written in blood, terror and defiance of U.S.
military authority. In one instance, Hays refused to ride with the U.S. Army commander, Gen. Zachary Taylor, en route to Monterrey. He took
another route to track down a bitter enemy, according to the book “Zachary Taylor: The American Presidents Series: The 12th President, 1849-50.”

The Army’s West Point veterans also looked askance at the Rangers, seeing them as rough, uncultured and ruthless. Davis said the Rangers, still
seething over the loss of their friends in the revolution — particularly during Gen. Antonio López de Santa Anna’s massacres at the Alamo and Goliad —
left corpses in the streets after one of their own had been shot down. The Mexicans called them Los Diablos Tejanos — the Texas Devils.

A 1969 Texas Monthly story details the reason the Rangers so badly wanted revenge. A group of them was captured in Mexico after joining an
expedition in 1842 and Rangers were forced to draw from a pot of white and black beans. Those collecting black beans were executed.

Reluctant at first to embrace the Rangers, Taylor came to admire their fighting skills and ordered them to occupy nearby hills during the Battle of
Monterrey, where he was outnumbered and his advance had ground to a halt. The Rangers fired artillery into the city in a bid to turn the battle in
Taylor’s favor, a tactic that worked.

The postwar years took Hays west. He joined a wagon train and followed the 1849 gold rush to California, where histories say he became the first
sheriff of San Francisco County the next year. Hays had six children, founded the city of Oakland and built a small fortune in real estate and ranching.
On April 21, 1883 — San Jacinto Day — he died.

Many thought Hays was fearless to the end, perhaps because of what a Lipan Apache chief, Flacco, is reported to have said of his old comrade.

“Me and Red Wing aren’t afraid to go to hell together,” the tale goes. “Captain Jack, he’s too mucho bravo. He’s not afraid to go to hell all by
himself.”

sigc@express-news.net
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Re: Texas Rangers

Postby Seguin on Fri Jul 21, 2017 2:39 am

Great article on Hays and the Rangers!
Recuerden El Alamo!
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Re: Texas Rangers

Postby warren on Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:07 pm

A great story. This is one area I want to get more involved in historically. I collect everything (yes, a true, degenerate hoarder) and Ranger items are about to be on the list.

If you're ever in Texas, the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco, Texas (between Austin and Dallas) is not to be missed.
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Re: Texas Rangers

Postby warren on Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:37 pm

Be careful of what you wish for. On my Yahoo homepage, on the left side with the news stories and "Sponsored" Ads, this just popped-up:

"Looking for a Texas Ranger? Buy a texas ranger at amazon.com!".

Amazing how they track everything you scribe on the internet.
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Re: Texas Rangers

Postby warren on Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:17 pm

The following is just a test (see above):

I think I'll start collecting really hot blondes.

The above has just been a test. Carry on.
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Re: Texas Rangers

Postby cc nolen on Wed Aug 02, 2017 2:28 pm

Take my wife! :o .............just kidding :shock:
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