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215 AS HE APPROACHED THE HOUSE walking along Twelfth Street, Captain Rogers bundled his heavy coat around him a bit tighter, his tall white hat pulled down over his brow. The north wind was blustery that day, whistling down the hill as he reached the intersection and crossed to the front steps of his house. But that was not entirely the reason he kept his coat wrapped around his chest. Two of his grandchildren met him as he reached the steps with cries of “Grandaddy!” calling the others from inside as well. Soon they had gathered around the gray headed gentleman. A tiny smile grew beneath the white mustache as the captain patted each of the little ones on their head. He stepped back from the wiggling entourage and his eyes widened. The children froze in anticipation; Grandaddy always brought some prize when they visited. The old Ranger reached inside the heavy coat and retrieved the tiny puppy from under his vest. The children squealed in delight and ran inside to tell their parents what a wonderful gift had just arrived. Harriet looked from the front room window and smiled at her husband. He winked back at her, the puppy still squirming in his arms. He marched up the steps, his shoulders squared, and stepped inside. He handed the puppy to one of the grandkids, then stepped CHAPTER 16 End of the Trail Chapter Sixteen 216 ★ to the mantle in the living room. In a career-long custom, the captain unfastened his gun belt and placed the tools of his trade on the mantle shelf where they would remain until he left again for work. The children disappeared into the kitchen. It was a good day at the Rogers home. Retirement seemed to fit John Rogers just fine. He and Hattie traveled on occasion, usually to San Antonio to see Charles and Lucile and, of course, the grandchildren—little Charles Mills, not so little now, the Captain’s namesake John, Harriet, and young Blair. They welcomed Pleas on his infrequent furloughs from the army, and enjoyed his daughters Blaire and little Hattie. But mostly they stayed in Austin, enjoying the social life there, old friends, and their church. Rogers often gave the prayer now at church meetings and was in constant demand to teach the Men’s Bible Class at First Presbyterian.1 The captain was less involved in politics but still gave his opinion on campaigns when asked. In 1926 Austin changed its form of city government from the commissioner system to the city manager system . P. W. McFadden became the first mayor under the new system which included four city councilmen and city manager Adam Johnson. On the statewide scene Rogers had been pleased to vote for Pat Neff for governor in 1920 and again in his victorious reelection 1922. Neff, a fellow “dry” and big supporter of an expanded Texas Ranger force, had done well with many internal improvements for Texas but had caused a rift with Congress with his insistent reform demands. In 1924 Rogers faced a dilemma when Miriam “Ma” Ferguson ran against Klan-backed Felix Robertson, and he supported John Davis in his unsuccessful bid to unseat President Calvin Coolidge. Impressed by the young but energetic attorney general Dan Moody and his fight against Ma and Pa Ferguson’s political chicanery, Rogers was pleased to cast a winning vote for Moody as governor in 1926. Little did Rogers know that November day in 1926 what a difference that vote was going to make in his life. They called it “Booger Town” at night. One of the wildest oil boom towns in Texas’ history, Hutchinson County’s community of Borger literally exploded onto the Llano Estacado prairie in the spring of 1926 when Ace Borger and John R. Miller promoted the two-hun- End of the Trail 217 ★ dred-and-forty-acre site along the Canadian River. As the “black gold” spouted into the Texas sky, forty-five thousand wide-eyed and troubleprone men and women poured into the community from every direction . Brothels and saloons popped up like spring wildflowers; fights broke out over no more than a nod or a frown.2 The Panhandle and Santa Fe Railway came to town by the summer and Borger was officially incorporated with Miller as its first mayor. There was a post office and a school, a hotel and a jail scattered amidst the tents and lean-to’s and shacks. By the end of 1926...


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