I recently came upon a very distinguished looking gentleman while banking at Guaranty Bond Bank. He stood out in a crowd but for the life of me I didn't know why. When I asked who he was, I was informed that it was Mr. Brantley Foster, a retired Texas Ranger. I had heard stories about him but I had never met him. Since then the Texas Rangers have been an interest of mine. What started in 1823 as ten frontiersmen hired by Stephen F. Austin to control Indian raids has today turned into a well oiled law enforcement agency known as the "Texas Rangers." Names like "Big Foot" Wallace, Sam Walker, and "Jack" Hays leap from the history book pages, movie screens, and novels. Probably more famous are the men they apprehended. Outlaws like Sam Bass, John Wesley Hardin, "Machine Gun" Kelly and Bonnie and Clyde were brought to justice by these brave men. The early Rangers had to provide their own horses, weapons, and ammunition. They were paid meagerly and shot at regularly. By 1894, they scouted one hundred seventy-three thousand, three hundred eighty-one miles; made six hundred seventy-six arrests; returned two thousand eight hundred fifty six head of stolen livestock; assisted civil authorities one hundred sixty-two times; and guarded jails on thirteen occasions. They were exceptional men whose humor was as well known as their ruthlessness. Because of their outstanding ferocity in war, they became known as "los diablos Tejanos" or "The Texas Devils".
On August 5, 1823, Stephen F. Austin wrote, ".employ ten men.to act as rangers for the common defense". These men "ranged", protecting early settlers from Indian raids. It was not until November 24, 1835 that Texas lawmakers created a "Corps of Rangers". They were authorized to recruit 24 Rangers . In 1849 they increased to three companies of 56 men each. In 1874, the Texas legislature sought to restore order by forming two groups of Rangers: the Special Force of Rangers and the Frontier Battalion.