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133 ON AN OCTOBER AFTERNOON IN 1905 a young cowboy sat alone in the main house of the Carr Ranch out near Fort Stockton. His boss was away in El Paso on business and the trustworthy young man had been left nominally in charge while he was away. A telephone sat on the desk nearby and the young man picked up to listen casually, not maliciously, to a conversation on the party line. Sheriff Dud Barker was speaking to his former deputy Charlie Witcher about a horse thief who had been spotted near Fort Stockton. Witcher was declining to go on the trail at Baker’s request when the young cowboy interrupted the phone call. “I’ll go get him, sheriff!” he exclaimed with excitement in his voice. “Who the hell are you?” asked the sheriff, obviously disturbed that his conversation had been eavesdropped upon. “I’m Frank Hamer,” replied the cowboy. Getting over his anger the sheriff agreed to let Hamer go on the trail. Within twenty-four hours the thief had been captured by Hamer and turned over to Sheriff Baker. “You did a mighty fine job of catchin’ this man, Frank,” said Barker, who then added, “How’d you like to be a Texas Ranger?” A new era was born in that moment, a next generation of RangCHAPTER 10 “The Lord Giveth; the Lord Taketh Away” Chapter Ten 134 ★ ers who would continue on well into the 1930s and carry on the vast and deep tradition that would be handed to them by the Four Captains . On February 23, 1906, Sheriff Barker wrote the adjutant general’s office recommending the young cowboy for service. Captain John Rogers arranged for the interview in Sheffield two months later and on April 21Frank Hamer enlisted as a private in Company C. He was twenty-two years old and a strapping six foot, three inches tall.1 In April John Rogers lost his mother Mary Harris Rogers Crier. He took a leave absence from April 5 to 13 to make arrangements and attend her funeral in Del Rio, where she had moved some years earlier to be closer to her son and his family. She was sixty-one when she died and had outlived two husbands and a son.2 Captain Rogers kept busy in the months that followed with activities in El Paso for most of the month of May and again in September. Several of the arrests he made there were smugglers moving horses Rogers (seated center) and Frank Hamer (standing to his right). Courtesy Charlie, Lauren, and Carley Reeves, San Antonio “The Lord Giveth; the Lord Taketh Away” 135 ★ and contraband across the border. A team made up of Rangers, federal customs inspectors, and New Mexico sheriffs worked together to make the arrests. One arrest proved at least interesting when Jerome Fisher was picked up for harassing the local ranchers. Rogers described Fisher as “a crazy man” in his report. When customs inspector Frank Chapman was murdered on September 23, Rogers took Will Howell, John Dibrell, and W. M. Hudson on the trail of Dick Riggs and caught him two days later. Chapman and Riggs had engaged in a bitter fight over a young woman at a Mexican fandango resulting in Chapman’s death. Fourteen Tejanos were also detained as accessories when they refused to give Riggs’ name to the authorities. Late in October Rogers traveled to Del Rio to “quell a hot political fight” that was brewing there the week before election day. He sent Private C. J. Roundtree to Hempstead in November to shut down a gambling ring; Roundtree arrested twenty-three gamblers and nine other “rowdies” in a three-day period. Rogers himself remained along the Rio Bravo where he arrested three Hispanics for murder on October 22, and two Anglos for another homicide just five days later. W. M. Hudson and Frank Hamer assisted in the Del Rio arrests.3 On November 15 Rogers learned over the telephone that John A. Brooks, one of the four famed captains of that day and a friend of Rogers, had announced his retirement from the force. The first of the four legendary officers had bowed out. Brooks had already purchased land near Falfurrias, where he moved and went on to spend an illustrious career on the bench in district court. Brooks County was later named after him.4 In the Shelby County seat of Center, Texas, a Black preacher named Dick Garrett had been accused of breaking...


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