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ix John Harris Rogers stood motionless at the window of his new office, his hands clasped behind his back, his head bowed. He opened his eyes when a twinge of pain in his right shoulder interrupted his silent prayer. He turned and walked around to the large chair that sat behind his desk. A blank piece of paper still lay on the desktop, a pen resting beside it. Rogers finally sat down, picked up the pen and began to write. “After giving due credit to all loyal friends who stood by me so nobly and endorsed me so unqualifiedly,” he wrote in long sweeping strokes, “I nevertheless attribute my success to Almighty God, whose I am and whom I serve and to whom I solemnly pledged if He would favor me for said position, I would use the office for His glory, which pledge I now ratify, relying upon Him for His help and guidance .” It was a spring day in 1913, and the April colors outside Rogers’ Waco office were resplendent like the rainbow that arched near the horizon. The forty-nine-year-old lawman pondered the beginnings of his new career as United States Marshal for the Western District of Texas. He had retired from the Texas Rangers after twenty-eight remarkable years, then put in these last two years as a deputy marshal out in El Paso. Now this new office. Some of his new responsibilities would be as familiar as the days when he rode the Ranger trail after desperadoes of every sort and kind. Some of the paperwork would be familiar as well, he sighed to himself. That came with it. INTRODUCTION Introduction x ★ But transcending all of the vagaries of this or any job in law enforcement was the firm resolution of the Master who continued to call on John Rogers for his service. “The Captain,” as everyone called him for thirty-seven years, believed without question that his career, his life, was in good hands. “It is my desire that what additional influence I might have by reason of my office,” Rogers wrote in conclusion, “shall be used for Him.”1 The life and times of Texas Ranger John H. Rogers represent some of the most exciting years in the history of Texas, ranging from the Civil War to the Great Depression. Rogers was born of strong Tennessee farming stock in Guadalupe County, Texas, even as the Civil War reached its climax. His father and uncles served with distinction in that war. Eager to be more than a planter, the young adult Rogers headed after the railroads as they moved west, where he encountered his own future with the Texas Rangers. After a decade as a private, Rogers’ obvious leadership qualities moved him upward to a captaincy by 1893, a command where he served the state of Texas for the next eighteen years. After ten years in the marshal’s office and a stint as a police chief, the venerable captain returned to the Rangers for the last three years of his life. John Rogers was one of the first Ranger captains of his generation , along with compatriot Bill McDonald, to serve as a United States Marshal, and the only Ranger captain to serve eighteen years and then return to his company’s command after a sixteen-year absence. Along the trail as a lawman John Rogers witnessed some of the most legendary incidents in the history of the Rangers, from the Conner Fight along the Sabine to the El Paso Prizefight of 1896, and from the confrontations in a quarantined Laredo to his capture of Gregorio Cortez, one of the most elusive and famous fugitives ever hunted in the American Southwest. Along the way he brushed up against fabled characters such as John Wesley Hardin, Bat Masterson, Pancho Villa, and the notorious John Barber, and escorted two presidents—American and Mexican—to a vitally important conference along the border. Rogers was wounded three times during his illustrious career, twice seriously—both times his wife was incorrectly informed that he had been killed in action, and Introduction xi ★ came closest to being killed when the infamous Hill Loftis got the drop on him. His escape from that moment he evermore credited to his strong faith. And it was that faith, along with the strict adherence to the law and a self-discipline unsurpassed in Ranger history, that set Rogers apart from his peers. Convicted as a teenager to the tenets of the Christian...


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MARC Record
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