Provisional government of Texas authorizes Texas Rangers

November 24th, 1835

On this day in 1835, Texas lawmakers instituted a special force known as the Texas Rangers. Stephen F. Austin had hired ten experienced frontiersmen as "rangers" as early as 1823, but the 1835 legislation formalized the organization. The importance of the rangers has waxed and waned several times over the ensuing century and a half. They participated in many notable battles with various Indian tribes and fought ably in the Mexican War; they also were dispatched to restore order during various feuds, border disturbances, and civic upheavals. In the early twentieth century, however, numerous acts of brutality and debauchery committed by rangers, especially against Hispanics, were brought to light, in large part through the efforts of J. T. Canales, and in 1933 governor Miriam A. Ferguson fired all forty-four rangers for their partisan support of her opponent Ross Sterling. When the Texas Department of Public Safety was founded in 1935, it assumed responsibility for a greatly reduced force. In subsequent decades, however, the rangers have once again come to be recognized as the elite of Texas law enforcement. Legendary rangers are honored in the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco.

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Provisional government of Texas authorizes Texas Rangers

November 24th, 1835

On this day in 1835, Texas lawmakers instituted a special force known as the Texas Rangers. Stephen F. Austin had hired ten experienced frontiersmen as "rangers" as early as 1823, but the 1835 legislation formalized the organization. The importance of the rangers has waxed and waned several times over the ensuing century and a half. They participated in many notable battles with various Indian tribes and fought ably in the Mexican War; they also were dispatched to restore order during various feuds, border disturbances, and civic upheavals. In the early twentieth century, however, numerous acts of brutality and debauchery committed by rangers, especially against Hispanics, were brought to light, in large part through the efforts of J. T. Canales, and in 1933 governor Miriam A. Ferguson fired all forty-four rangers for their partisan support of her opponent Ross Sterling. When the Texas Department of Public Safety was founded in 1935, it assumed responsibility for a greatly reduced force. In subsequent decades, however, the rangers have once again come to be recognized as the elite of Texas law enforcement. Legendary rangers are honored in the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco.

«   Previous Next   »

Related Handbook of Texas Articles

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With more than 27,000 articles about Texas history, the Texas State Historical Association's Handbook of Texas is the largest online encyclopedia about all things Texas. Now you can celebrate the history of Texas every day by activating your free subscription to Texas Day by Day. Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles. It's one of the best ways to learn more about Texas history — in only 15 minutes a day!

Activate your free subscription to Texas Day by Day and you can:

  • Explore Texas history each day in bite-sized pieces conveniently delivered to your inbox each morning
  • Astound your friends with your Texas history prowess
  • Get in-depth looks at some of the overlooked events and landmarks in Texas history
  • Discover new places to explore in the Lone Star State
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