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Pidge, Texas Ranger

Chuck Parsons

Publication Year: 2013

Thomas C. (Pidge) Robinson came to Texas from Virginia at the age of 27, fleeing a feud with a neighbor who opposed Robinson’s amorous intentions toward the neighbor’s sister. He joined the Texas Rangers in 1874, serving with legendary Capt. Leander H. McNelly’s Washington County Volunteer Militia Company A. He earned the rank of first lieutenant in this Texas Ranger company. Two years later he returned to Virginia to avenge his honor and claim the woman he loved.

A learned and witty writer who sent back letters, poems, and reports for publication in Austin newspapers, Pidge also wrote most of Captain McNelly’s reports. From the newspaper submissions, backed by extensive research to document details and explain allusions, western writer Chuck Parsons has fashioned an annotated compendium of primary materials that give insight into not only the life and actions of the famous Texas Rangers but also the popular culture of post–Civil War Texas.

Robinson rode with McNelly as the Rangers subdued the clashes between the Suttons and the Taylors in DeWitt County. He served on the Rio Grande frontier in actions against Juan Cortina, including the famous battle on Palo Alto Prairie. He was with a party of Rangers who invaded Mexico to recover cattle stolen from Texas ranchers. Pidge’s lively, literate, and often humorous letters give first-person accounts of these and other actions that provide a unique picture of Ranger service in the field.

This Texas A&M University Press edition, incorporating newly discovered materials, also features rare period photographs, illustrations, and other helpful maps and images.

Published by: Texas A&M University Press

Cover

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p. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-5

Contents

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pp. 6-7

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-11

I am very appreciative of the many individuals who were more than willing to help me in this endeavor to learn about “Pidge,” his life, and especially his experiences as a Texas Ranger. Naming them, I hope, provides at least a token recognition of the debt I owe to U. G. Bailey, Alison Beck, ...

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Introduction

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pp. 3-10

I first became acquainted with the newspaper correspondentranger “Pidge” while reading C. L. Sonnichsen’s I’ll Die before I’ll Run: The Story of the Great Feuds of Texas. In his chapter devoted to the Sutton- Taylor Feud—Texas’ most famous and longest blood feud, in which Pidge acted as one of the peace ...

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The Austin Letters

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pp. 11-27

he letters T. C. Robinson wrote in Austin, prior to joining up with the Texas Rangers, reveal his sense of humor, dry wit, and self- effacement as well as his extensive knowledge of language and literature. There are more poems among the pieces written for the Daily Democratic Statesman while in Austin, some original and some paraphrased, than in his later work. ...

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Pidge and the DeWitt County Feud

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pp. 28-73

Young T. C. Robinson, known as “T. Chanders” to most if not all of his acquaintances in Austin, quickly became dissatisfied with his situation in the capital city. No doubt he considered joining a company of Texas Rangers as it would provide regular pay and an outlet for his adventurous spirit. And if he were allowed to continue his newspaper correspondence, his creative powers ...

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Pidge and the Rio Grande Frontier

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pp. 74-115

The concluding paragraph of Pidge’s last letter from DeWitt County ended on a note of optimism. Why his writing then ceased to appear in the Statesman is unknown; no additional contributions appeared there. There was no farewell from Pidge announcing his departure, as there had been when T. Chanders left Austin with other Rangers for the “seat of war” in DeWitt County. ...

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The Last Gunfight

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pp. 116-130

Lieutenant Robinson wrote his last letter to Gazette editor Elliott on March 16, 1876, in the Ranger camp at Laguna de las Flores. Signing off “In haste,” he added a postscript containing a rare personal comment: “I am going home to spend my pay, shall leave on next steamer, will write you from New Orleans.” ...

Notes

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pp. 131-187

Bibliography

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pp. 189-193

Index

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pp. 195-200

Back Cover

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p. 210-210


E-ISBN-13: 9781603449977
E-ISBN-10: 1603449973
Print-ISBN-13: 9781603449748

Page Count: 224
Illustrations: 18 b&w photos. 3 line art. 2 maps. Bib. Index.
Publication Year: 2013