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Rawhide Ranger, Ira Aten
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summary
Ira Aten (1862-1953) was the epitome of a frontier lawman. At age twenty he enrolled in Company D during the transition of the Rangers from Indian fighters to topnotch peace officers. This unit—and Aten—would have a lively time making their mark in nineteenth-century Texas. The preponderance of Texas Ranger treatments center on the outfit as an institution or spotlight the narratives of specific captains. Bob Alexander aptly demonstrated in Winchester Warriors: Texas Rangers of Company D, 1874-1901 that there is merit in probing the lives of everyday working Rangers. Aten is an ideal example. The years Ira spent as a Ranger are jam-packed with adventure, border troubles, shoot-outs, solving major crimes—a quadruple homicide—and manhunts. Aten’s role in these and epochal Texas events such as the racially insensitive Jaybird/Woodpecker Feud and the bloody Fence Cutting Wars earned Ira’s spot in the Ranger Hall of Fame. His law enforcing deeds transcend days with the Rangers. Ira served two counties as sheriff, terms spiked with excitement. Afterward, for ten years on the XIT, he was tasked with clearing the ranch’s Escarbada Division of cattle thieves. Aten’s story spins on an axis of spine-tingling Texas history. Moving to California, Ira was active in transforming the Imperial Valley from raw desert into an agricultural oasis. Unmistakably he was public spirited and committed to community betterment. Relying on primary source documents to build a platform for this meticulously researched and comprehensive biography with 1000 endnotes and 100 remarkable old-time photographs, Alexander gives us Ira Aten in the round—evenhandedly—the true story of a Ranger tough as rawhide.

Table of Contents

  1. Cover
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  1. Frontmatter
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  1. Contents
  2. p. v
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  1. Preface
  2. pp. vi-xii
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  1. Acknowledgments
  2. pp. xvi-xx
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  1. Chapter 1: “When he got a little older”
  2. pp. 1-22
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  1. Chapter 2: “We buried him on the side of a road”
  2. pp. 23-37
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  1. Chapter 3: “We’ll do the shooting”
  2. pp. 38-56
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  1. Chapter 4: “But few honest men in this town”
  2. pp. 57-70
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  1. Chapter 5: “We opened fire and they returned it”
  2. pp. 71-89
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  1. Chapter 6: “If you pull it, Jack, I’ll kill you”
  2. pp. 90-103
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  1. Chapter 7: “Curling steel tendrils”
  2. pp. 104-125
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  1. Chapter 8: “To make a killing, is why I want Aten”
  2. pp. 126-147
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  1. Chapter 9: “Wild boy among the villains”
  2. pp. 148-169
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  1. Chapter 10: “Would as soon go to a fight as a frolic”
  2. pp. 170-188
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  1. Chapter 11: “Venison is better than no meat at all”
  2. pp. 189-211
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  1. Chapter 12: “Celebrated Xmas day by killing the two Odles”
  2. pp. 212-233
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  1. Chapter 13: “He fell like a beef”
  2. pp. 234-257
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  1. Chapter 14: “I’ll break them up on lawyers’ fees”
  2. pp. 258-280
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  1. Chapter 15: “I’ll shoot you right through the middle”
  2. pp. 281-311
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  1. Chapter 16: “Never worked harder in my life”
  2. pp. 312-332
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  1. Endnotes
  2. pp. 333-421
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  1. Bibliography
  2. pp. 422-434
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  1. Index
  2. pp. 435-452
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