Riding Lucifer's Line
Ranger Deaths along the Texas-Mexico Border
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of North Texas Press
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Title Page, Copyrigth Page
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Foreword by Byron A. Johnson, Executive Director Texas Ranger Hall of Fame & Museum
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Across three centuries now the history of Texas Rangers has been interwoven with the history of the U.S.-Mexican Border. Th e Border is a convention, a state of mind, not an unalterable physical reality, but a line on the map that aff ects people’s lives at many levels and in many ways. Whenever the Border has been redefi ned or described it ...
Preface & Acknowledgments
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Th e Texas-Mexico border is trouble. Like a Black Widow seductress the borderland is at the same time alluring, deceitful—and heartless. Haphazardly splashing across the meandering Rio Grande into Mex-ico is—or at least can be—risky business, hazardous to one’s health and well-being. On the border nonchalant inattention to geographi-...
Introduction to Part I - The Frontier Battalion Era, 1874–1901
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Setting the chronological and geographical stage seems but obliga-tory before tackling the challenge of recounting true-life Texas Ranger stories within an anthology. By and large it is acknowl-edged that birth of the Texas Rangers—as a legit law enforcement agency—can be traced to 1874 when the Frontier Battalion and Spe-...
Part I - Photo Gallery Texas Ranger Hall of Fame & Museum
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Chapter 1. Sonny Smith, 1875
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Sonny Smith’s death earned him distinction. It was not a highly sought-for spot in the Lone Star State’s overall history, but neverthe-less a unique spot. Th e seventeen-year-old Ranger was the youngest Texas peace offi cer to forfeit his life in the line of duty—by gunfi re.1And not surprisingly the tragedy took place while the teenager was ...
Chapter 2. John E. McBride and Conrad E. Mortimer,1877
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Th e earthly life of Texas Ranger Sonny Smith had been snuff ed out near one end of Lucifer’s Line. For this narrative the geographical setting moves upstream to an arena just as wild and woolly, but much farther removed from the Texas seat of government. As the story unfolds in El Paso County it will not go unnoticed that this isola-...
Chapter 3. Samuel “Sam” Frazier, 1878
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Twenty-four-year-old Sam Frazier, a North Carolinian from Ran-dolph County by birth, was one of those privates in John B. Tays’ detachment of Texas Rangers, having enlisted on November 21, 1877. Swearing his oath at San Elizario, Frazier tendered his horse for the required neutral appraisal. It must not have been a hot-blooded thor-...
Chapter 4. George R. “Red” Bingham, 1880
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Bad news would break from the border country. Reverberations scorched across Texas in a heartbeat, well, in the pulsations of a telegrapher’s fast-tapping fi nger. Outlaws were on the loose in far already a Trans-Pecos county sheriff was hollering for help.1 Heavily armed bands of highjackers and cow thieves were rampantly gain-...
Chapter 5. Frank Sieker, 1885
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For genealogical lineage few families come near matching the con-tributions to Texas Ranger history as do the Siekers. Four of Dr. Edward Armon Sieker’s sons would—at one time or another—enlist in the Frontier Battalion’s memorable Company D, a frontline unit with more than its fair share of ultimate sacrifi ces. Th e oldest of the ...
Chapter 6. Charles H. V. Fusselman, 1890
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John Wayne and Jeff Bridges playing the part of Deputy U.S. Mar-shal Rooster Cogburn undeniably owned a plateful of true grit—on the Silver Screen. For a catchy stage moniker the subject of this six-shooter vignette may have very well been outnamed, but not out-gunned. Charles Henry Vanvalkenburg “Charley” Fusselman was the ...
Chapter 7. John F. Gravis, 1890
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Downstream from its fl ow through gigantic Presidio County the Rio Grande makes its most prominent dip—the big bend—in the extreme southern section of Brewster County. Both counties mutu-ally share geographical designation: Th e Big Bend Country. Th e seat of government for Presidio County is Marfa, sixty miles due north ...
Chapter 8. Robert E. Doaty, 1892
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Coincidence is astonishing on the one hand, perplexing on the other. At this late date with names already hand-carved into marble mark-ers memorializing fallen peace offi cers, this rundown will accept writ-ten tradition and use the name Doaty as it appears in certain Texas Ranger records, though his real birth name was Robert E. Doughty.1...
Chapter 9. Frank Jones, 1893
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Th e maelstrom of calls to establish a Texas Ranger presence in El Paso County was mounting as the third year of the 1890s opened. Sitting members of the El Paso County grand jury had submitted their peti-tion to the governor on the last day of January requesting protec-tion from “the depredations of criminal characters who fl it across ...
Chapter 10. Joseph McKidrict, 1894
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New Year’s Day of 1894 opened with an ear-splitting bang for some Company D Rangers stationed in West Texas. Handling fi rearms, an everyday task for career lawmen, is best carried out with due cau-tion. Private Alonzo “Lon” Van Oden carelessly mishandled his Colt’s six-shooter that fi rst day of January. He “accidently shot him self in ...
Chapter 11. Ernest St. Leon, 1898
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Looks can be deceiving. In police work it is smart not to be fooled by appearance; the wolf may be wearing a sheep’s clothing. Harmless-ness or dangerousness cannot be accurately registered with a glance. Baby-faced Ernest St. Leon is paradigm. He would carry the childlike look of innocence into adulthood, but rest assured, throughout the ...
Introduction to Part II - The Ranger Force Era, 1901–1935
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From time to time citing random facts can prove thought-provoking. Markedly, such is the case within the framework of Riding Lucifer’s Line. As noted in closing the preceding chapter, Ernest “Diamond Dick” St. Leon was the last nineteenth-century Texas Ranger killed in action. His passing did not, however, register as the last Texas ...
Part II - Photo Gallery Texas Ranger Hall of Fame & Museum
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Chapter 12. W. Emmett Robuck, 1902
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Emmett Robuck’s family tree was fashioned from sturdy oak. Service in the Confederacy had claimed the life of his paternal grandfather. Emmett’s father Elias A. “Berry” Robuck was a fi rst-rate stockman, having early on gathered and trailed cattle into the faraway Rocky Mountain country while but a lad of sixteen years. Of this particular ...
Chapter 13. Thomas Jefferson Goff, 1905
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Although he would become a genuine Lone Star State cowboy, Th omas Jeff erson “Tom” Goff could not lay claim to Texas as his birthplace. Tom Goff came into the world at Keetsville, Barry County, Missouri. Keetsville no longer registers on the roadmap. Th e quiet little Ozark Mountain town in the southwestern quadrant of the state, just north ...
Chapter 14. Quirl Bailey Carnes, 1910
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Texas history of the family Carnes can be written in blood. Th eir epic story of Lone Star adventures is punctuated with bullets. Th e oldest of three law-enforcing brothers, Alfred Burton Carnes, held twenty-year tenure as the elected sheriff in Wilson County, south-eastern neighbor of the Alamo City in Bexar County.1 Herff Alexan-...
Chapter 15. Grover Scott Russell, 1913
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Seesawing back to the other end of the Texas/Mexican border is where another sad story will in due course play out. Stephenville, Erath County, Texas, was the birthplace of Grover Scott Russell, pop-ularly known as Scott, but he would earn Ranger pay in faraway West Texas, primarily scouting along Lucifer’s Line in El Paso County....
Chapter 16. Eugene B. Hulen, 1915
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Th e native Texan warranting a spot in this coverage of bloodshed along the Rio Grande was product of a border county—just not a Mexican border county. Eugene B. Hulen had been born in Cooke County (Gainesville) adjacent to the Red River, the dividing line sep-arating Texas and Oklahoma. Eugene’s parents, Harvey and Frances ...
Chapter 17. Robert Lee Burdett, 1915
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Hardly had two weeks passed since the murders of Ranger Hulen and Inspector Sitter when more appalling news would break along the river. And it, too, would bear sad tidings for the Texas Rangers of Company B, the unit captained by James Monroe Fox headquartered at Marfa. Yes, the Grim Reaper works his timetable, not the Texas ...
Chapter 18. William P. Stillwell, 1918
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More so than any other, 1918 would prove to be the deadliest year for Rangers scouting the Texas-Mexico border. Adhering to the ear-lier pledge that this volume would focus on Rangers dying with their boots on, there will not be chapter-length digressions focusing on three who passed plagued with coughs, fever, wheezing, or sprints to ...
Chapter 19. Joe Robert Shaw, 1918
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Th e day after Independence Day 1918 twenty-eight-year-old Joe Robert Shaw laid aside his leggings and catch-rope, intent on shift-ing career gears from cowboy to cop: A Texas Ranger. What his wife thought about the switch would be but guesswork, but there’s little doubt she, as the mother of two, vacillated between pride and appre-...
Chapter 20. Lenn T. Sadler, 1918
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...“Lenn” Sadler, geographical product of Pearsall, Frio County, Texas and genealogical issue of James Kaine Sadler and his wife Mary.1Lenn Saddler’s arrival on July 23, 1884, was welcomed not only by delighted parents but also by George Sadler, his two-year-old brother, the couple’s fi rstborn.2 Just as James and Mary would claim ...
Chapter 21. Delbert “Tim” Timberlake, 1918
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Wilson County, as has been noted, produced more than her fair share of Texas Rangers. Edgar Timberlake was one. Delbert “Tim” Timberlake, Edgar’s younger brother, was another. Born on the twelfth day of September 1884 Tim Timberlake aspired to the life of a South Texas cowboy. And so he was. At age twenty-one, for what-...
Chapter 22. T. E. Paul Perkins, 1918
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Jessie and Nannie Perkins were the proud parents of two sons: James Clark, the youngest, and T. E. Paul, more aff ectionately known as Ell-zey. Th e boys could claim status as native Texans, born not along the international border but in Milam County, not too terribly far south of Waco in Central Texas. Both boys would become Texas Rangers.1...
Chapter 23. William M. Alsobrook, 1919
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Historically tracking outlaws commonly opens wide the doorways to unanswered questions. Poking around in Ranger fi les pertaining to William M. Alsobrook likewise conjures up more room for query than James Garland “Jim” Alsobrook and Frances Fern “Fannie” White were equally proud of their birthplace, Manchester (Red River ...
Chapter 24. Joseph B. Buchanan, 1921
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Joseph Benjamin Buchanan was a Bosque County boy of sorts, trac-ing his earliest roots to the tiny community of Iredell, northwest of the county seat at Meridian, Texas.1 His parents and several older siblings had made the migration from Virginia to Central Texas trav-eling fi rst by train, then with two wagons and a buggy. Joe Ben was ...
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Fortunately, in a bizarre fashion, the killing of Joe Ben Buchanan was—at least to date—the last Texas Ranger death on the line. der continues to this day. Why is such a statistic so heavily weighted against the Texas Rangers for years, and then radically tapers off ? Th e answer is not elusive. And it damn sure is not due to peaceful-...
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Page Count: 464
Illustrations: 60 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2013
Series Title: Frances B. Vick Series