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106 NEARING HIS SEVENTIETH BIRTHDAY, ALEXANDER Gilmer stood with his hands on his hips, fists clenching, as he watched the fire consume his sawmill. The Irish born shipbuilder turned Texas lumber magnate stared in anger and disbelief at this, the fourth time his Orange County-based mill had gone up in flames. The other three times it had been accidental; this time it was deliberate. No more building here, he thought to himself. His next sawmill would be in Lemonville a few miles away. The Texas Rangers had arrived in Orange County a few days earlier when the race riots were determined to be beyond the control of the local authorities. In fact, it was roundly thought that local law enforcement was behind the violence. Roving gangs had controlled the countryside all summer, running off the Black families, beating up a number of them. In early August a mob had opened fire on a house, killing one of its residents and wounding several others. Some of Company E arrived in Orange on August 18. Two days later Captain Rogers, in his first activity since the Laredo shootout and accompanied by Augie Old, arrested Jack Morris, Doug Harris, and Frank Weatherford for disturbing the peace and suspicion of involvement in the recent killing. The Rangers stayed in Orange CHAPTER 8 Getting Gregorio Getting Gregorio 107 ★ County into September. The three men arrested were released and on September 16, 1899, Frank Weatherford was causing trouble again. Rogers faced him in the streets of the little east Texas town and the two men wrestled on the ground until the Ranger got the upper hand. Weatherford landed in jail once more, this time to stay. But Rogers had re-injured his arm in the scuffle, the wound opened and bleeding. The tough Texan chose to stay at his post and supervise the return of order along the lower Sabine until he and his company were eventually replaced by Bill McDonald’s men. But by early October, his company briefly stationed in Comstock, Rogers could barely function, his arm for all practical purposes useless at his side. In fact over the years that followed the photographs of Rogers show quite clearly his holding his right arm very gingerly. In his November report Rogers listed six months of medicine he had been taking since the Laredo fight.1 Midway through the year Rogers inventoried the weaponry of his company and it is an interesting list: “4 Winchester carbines Model 1873, .44 caliber; 2 Marlin rifles Model 1893, .30-30 cal; 1 Marlin rifle in .38-42 caliber and another .32-40; and two Winchester shotguns, a 10 and a 12-gauge.” He noted that every man wore a .45 Colt pistol on his hip. In October he reported that the company wagon was “playing out” as was the packsaddle, and that in September a stray bullet during target practice had killed the company’s mule. He implored the adjutant general “not to send any more smokeless pistol cartridges. They don’t penetrate,” Rogers wrote after recording that the spent bullets had been found no deeper than the outer layer of the tree bark they had targeted. The mule had indeed been unlucky. In November, with his captain recuperating at home in Cotulla, Sergeant Harry DuBose took two privates with him to track three men wanted for robbery in Sonora, Sutton County. On November 8 they confronted the fugitives in an old abandoned farmhouse. A shootout ensued and one of the fugitives was killed, the other two arrested. Captain Rogers recovered enough by December to be back on the job, helped by the transfer of his company from Comstock back to Cotulla. On December 8 there was a murder in the streets of Cotulla, Chapter Eight 108 ★ possibly a marital disturbance turned tragic. The captain investigated and Clara Centoya was arrested and put on trial for the murder. The new century dawned in Cotulla with Company E split between camps there and west in Del Rio. Augie Old was recalled to Orange where he spent much of the spring. The Rangers were dispersed over thousands of square miles over the first months of the new year, from Houston to Millett in northern La Salle County, where Rogers tracked down a thief, and to Langtry where new recruit Private Ed DuBose, Harry’s older brother, made an arrest in April.2 On January 10, 1900, Rogers filled out a questionnaire from the adjutant general’s office in which...


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