Old West Book Review: The Ranger Ideal, Texas Rangers in the Hall of Fame

The Ranger Ideal; Texas RangersThe Ranger Ideal, Texas Rangers in the Hall of Fame, Volume 1, Darren L. Ivey, University of North Texas press $39.95, Cloth. 672 p.p., Photos, Notes, Bibliography, Index.

For anyone interested in the history of the Texas Rangers, this book is a must read.  It is the first of a three-book series telling about the lives of the most important men involved with the founding of the Texas Rangers.  The time period it covers is from 1823 – 1861, and includes Stephen F. Austin, John C. Hays, William A. A. “Big Foot” Wallace, Samuel H. Walker, John S. Ford, and Lawrence S. Ross.  All of these men have been inducted into the Hall of Fame and Museum at Waco, Texas.

The author points out in his Preface that several of these men are well-known, but the others have been mostly overlooked and do not have biographies or even extensive coverage in history books.  All of these men are honored in the Texas Ranger Museum at Fort Fisher located near the Texas city of Waco. Visitors to the museum find Ranger displays including guns, clothing, saddles, equipment and artwork.  The museum opened to the public in 1968, and continues its work educating the public about the important contributions Rangers made to Texas.

Readers find a timeline of Ranger history to help us better understand the enormous upheavals Texas went through beginning in 1821 when Americans established a colony on land that originally belonged to Mexico.  Political changes are explained as Texas went from Mexican control to annexation to the United States in 1845.

Each of the seven men featured here were vastly patriotic, and did not hesitate to join in any and all of the fights, shoot-outs, military campaigns, long marches, sometimes capture and imprisonment in Mexico, and including every hardship imaginable.  By the 1860s, two Rangers featured here joined the Confederate Army when civil war was declared and Texas went with the South.  The battle records of these men are shown here, their adventures and derring-do included a multitude of battles and skirmishes reminiscent of Bruce Catton’s Civil War books where readers follow the amazing courage these soldiers displayed under the most difficult circumstances.

In 1860 Ranger John Ford was involved in the recovery of the highly publicized white woman Cynthia Ann Parker who, when still a child, was taken captive by Comanches.  By the time she was rescued years later, she had mostly forgotten her white way of live, and even how to speak English.

Of the seven Rangers featured in the book, only three ever married while the others seem to have dedicated their lives to Texas.  Two of these men died fighting.

The author has done an impressive job of researching for truths related to this material. Anyone looking for information about the Texas Rangers will find this tome invaluable.

Darren L. Ivey is to be commended for his good writing and careful research into an important topic about the American West.  In addition to The Ranger Ideal, Texas Rangers in the Hall of Fame his writing includes a previously published book on this subject titled The Texas Rangers; A Registry and History.

Thus far, thirty-one individuals have been honored in the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame. If you are a Texas Ranger fan, you will want this one for your Old West library, and will look forward to reading the next two books in the series.

Editor’s Note: The reviewer Phyllis Morreale-de la Garza is the author of many books including Death For Dinner; The Benders of (Old) Kansas, published by Silk Label Books, P.O. Box 700, Unionville, New York, 10988-0700. Ph. (845) 726-3434. www.silklabelbooks.com

*Courtesy of Chronicle of the Old West newspaper, for more click HERE.

Christmas Day 1890

Christmas Day 1890. How the Various Churches Will Observe the Festival.
There will be Services Appropriate to the Season and in Most of the Churches Special Music.

Christmas Day 1890December 24, 1890, Daily, Woodland, California – In all of the churches of this city Christmas day will be fittingly observed. The sermons and in most of the churches there will be special musical service.

At St. Luke’s Church the quartette choir of St. Luke’s will give a full musical service appropriate to Christmas day, tomorrow morning at 11 o’clock. The choir is composed of Della Prior-Pierce, Minnie Prior, Wilbur Blair and C. W. Bush; Maggie Ellis, organist. Mrs. Pierce will sing the solo to the beautiful anthem of Williams’. “There Were Shepherds Abiding in the Fields,” and Adolf Adams’ famous “Noel” for the offertory.

Dudley Buck’s festival Te Deum will be a feature of the service.

All are cordially invited to be present. Sunday school at 10 o’clock.

There will be special services in the Congregational Church both morning and evening. Rev. Joel Martin will preach at 11 o’clock. Mr. Martin is well known in the East as an earnest, logical and attractive speaker. Since coming to this coast he has held very successful meetings in Oakland, where large audiences have greeted him in the several churches where he has spoken. At 7 p.m. there will be special children’s Christmas concert service in which the children will take an active part and Mr. Martin will speak. Special music has been prepared. On the afternoons and evenings of Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday Mr. Martin will also hold services in the church. A cordial invitation is extended to all to attend these services.

The services at the Christian Church tonight will be an old-fashioned Christmas tree. A short program will be given by the Sunday school at 7:30 o’clock. The tree will be beautifully decorated, as the young ladies of the church are sparing no pains to make it the most attractive and interesting that they have ever given. The service tomorrow will be of a special nature. Miss Mary Browning will sing “The New Born King” at the morning service. Special music by the choir in the evening. Subject of the morning sermon at the Baptist Church tomorrow, but there will be a meeting of the young people and Sunday school at the usual hours. The Sunday school children will give an entertainment this evening, after which a Christmas tree will be utilized to distribute the favors of good Santa Claus.

At the Church of the Holy Rosary the first mass will be celebrated at 8 o’clock and the second mass at half past 10. The pupils of Holy Rosary Academy will render appropriate Christmas hymns and carols.

At the M. E. Church Rev. J. A. Van Anda will preach Christmas sermons at 11 o’clock in the morning and 7:30 p.m. The music will be of an appropriate character. This evening there will be a Christmas tree in the church to which all friends are invited.
The pastor, Rev. C. O. Steele, will preach a Christmas sermon at the M. E. Church south at 11 a.m. There will also be other appropriate services. The Sabbath school will begin at 10 a.m. At 6:15 the league will meet.

The Second Christian Church will hold Christmas tree exercises next Monday evening.

At the German Church there will be a musical and literary program and a Christmas tree, and tomorrow Rev. J. Endter will preach a Christmas sermon and there will be special music.

Train – Oxcart Race

The coming of the railroad was considered one of the greatest things to happen in the Old West. It made possible the transportation of goods and people from the industrialized east to the frontier west. The train also was able to cut that travel time down considerably. But, there was one occasion on December 1, 1880 that a lowly oxcart beat a train in a race that quite possible only the oxcart occupants were aware. 
Oxcart
               
Just as the eastbound fast mail train was steaming out of town a hack containing three eager gentlemen drove up to the depot, only to be told the train they wanted had just rounded the bend. The hack they had rented had left the station, and the only transportation was a wagon and four-ox team.
 
The men sternly walked up to the owner of the rig. “Five dollars if you take us up the rail thirty miles,” said one man. “Another five if you get us there before 8 o’clock,” said the second. “Five dollars more if you get us there ahead of the train,” said the third man.
 
The driver looked at the team, thought really hard about the fifteen dollars to be made in two and a half hours, and said “I’m your man.”
 
The wagon road lay alongside the tracks. The first mile was slow, but soon the oxen warmed up. In an hour they had caught up with the train. In the darkness of the evening they could see the trains red light and fire from the smoke stack in the distance behind them.
 
The men finally arrived at their destination safely. After they had domiciled at the hotel, one of the men said, “Boys, we have beaten the train by twenty minutes; let us go to the depot and see it creep in.”

Women’s Suffrage

Although women had been instrumental the development of our country, as 1869 came to a close, they didn’t have the right to hold a political office, or even vote. But that changed on December 10, 1869 as the first state gave women the right to vote and hold political office. One would expect that it would be an eastern state. But that wasn’t so. It was one of the most frontier areas of that time… Wyoming. So, why were the men in the Wyoming Territory so progressive when it came to women’s suffrage?
women’s suffrage
               
One middle-aged territorial legislator by the name of William Bright backed the bill because his wife convinced him that “denying women the vote was a gross injustice.” Incidentally, his wife just happened to be about half his age. Then there was Edward Lee, the territorial secretary, who argued that if a black man can vote, why couldn’t his dear sweet mother. But most people supported the bill for another reason.
 
At the time the Wyoming territory had a population of about 6,000 men and only about 1,000 women. And most of the 6,000 men were lonely for a woman’s companionship. It was thought that if Wyoming gave women the right to vote, the territory would get national publicity, and in turn single women would come to this rugged, isolated area.
 
When Governor John Campbell signed the women’s suffrage bill one lawmaker gave the toast, “To the lovely ladies, once our superiors, now our equals.”
 
Did it work? Well, if you visit Wyoming today you’ll meet some of the handsomest, most strong-minded women, and happiest men.
An interesting side note: In ancient Athens, often cited as the birthplace of democracy, only adult, male citizens who owned land were permitted to vote. Through subsequent centuries, Europe was generally ruled by monarchs, though various forms of parliament arose at different times. The high rank ascribed to abbesses within the Catholic Church permitted some women the right to sit and vote at national assemblies – as with various high-ranking abbesses in Medieval Germany, who were ranked among the independent princes of the empire. Their Protestant successors enjoyed the same privilege almost into modern times.

Chuckwagon: Cowboy Catsup

Cowboy CatsupTo make Cowboy Catsup take one gallon skinned tomatoes, three heaping tablespoonfuls of salt, some black pepper, two of allspice, three of ground mustard, half dozen pods of red pepper and add to a large pot.

Stew all slowly together in a quart of vinegar for three hours.  Strain liquid, and simmer down to half gallon.  Bottle hot and cork tight.

*Courtesy of Chronicle of the Old West newspaper, for more click HERE.

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