the 1840s, hundreds of histories, biographies, autobiographies and works
of fiction have been written about the Texas Rangers. The following
selected bibliography is recommended as a starting point for people
interested in in-depth information on the history and legends of the
Texas Rangers. It is sometimes hard to separate fact from fiction, the
reality from the legend. Serious students of the Texas Rangers need
to be detectives – reading a wide range of books and articles,
looking for corroborating evidence of accounts, and bearing in mind
the biases and methodologies of the authors.
As new books on
the Rangers appear we will update and revise this list. Readers seeking
even more information are urged to use the bibliographies found these
works and to consult primary and secondary source materials such as
unpublished manuscripts, memoirs, newspaper files, and archive and phtograph
collections at the Texas State Archives in Austin, the Center for American
History in Austin and the Texas Ranger Research Center at the Texas
Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.
Some of these items
are out of print but should be available through your local public or
academic library. Books still in print may be available through our
Museum Store (1-877-750-8631 toll free US and Canada 9am to 4pm every
Cox, Mike. Texas
Ranger Tales: Stories That Need Telling. Plano, TX: Republic of
Texas Press, 1997.
A collection of
interesting and often amusing stories about the Rangers not usually
found in books on Ranger history. Mike Cox is currently the Chief Public
Information Officer for the Texas Department of Public Safety. A second
volume of Texas Ranger Tales is due out soon.
Ford, John Salmon. Rip Ford’s Texas. Austin: University of Texas Press,
Edited by Stephen
B. Oates. Ford’s account of his life in Texas and important events
in the state’s history. He served as a Ranger in the 1840s and
1850s, continued in military service through the Civil War, and also
held political office, in addition to being a doctor, lawyer, and surveyor.
B. Six Years with the Texas Rangers, 1875 to 1881. Lincoln,
NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1987.
Edited by M. M.
Quaife. Gillett’s account of his years of service with the Rangers
during the early years of the Frontier Battalion. He served in Company
D under Capt. Dan W. Roberts and participated in a number of famous
incidents, including being an eyewitness to the killing of outlaw Sam
Gooding, Ed. Ed Gooding: Soldier,
Texas Ranger. Ranger Publishing, 35
Circle Drive, Longview, Texas 75602-4840. xii + 269 pages, profusely
illustrated. Index. ISBN 0-9673319-1-9.
Not only was Ed Gooding was one
of the finest Texas Rangers of his era, but he was truly one of America’s
Greer, James Kimmins. Colonel Jack Hays: Texas Frontier Leader and California Builder. New York: E. P. Dutton & Company, Inc., 1952.
John Coffee Hays,
one of the most famous of the early Rangers, served during the 1830s
and 1840s. He was a distinguished leader during the Mexican War in which
he led the Ranger companies. After the war, he headed to California
where he helped to found the city Oakland and served as Surveyor General
for the state.
Hardin, Stephen. The Texas Rangers. London: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 1991.
This volume is
part of Osprey’s Military Elite Series written for juveniles.
It presents a concise history of the Rangers up to the 1990s. It is
heavily illustrated with both photographs and drawings. This is a good
beginning book for both children and adults.
H., III and Louis R. Sadler. The Texas Rangers and the Mexican Revolution:
The bloodiest Decade, 1910 – 1920. Albuquerque: University
of New Mexico Press, 2004.
and unbiased examination of the instability along the Texas-Mexico border
during the period of the Mexican Revolution. It is one of the first
studies to extensively use archives from the Mexican Government and
declassified FBI and other Federal records on the Mexican Revolution
and the Plan of San Diego. Although lacking in in-depth analyses and
interpretation, the book does a good job of attempting to verify or
debunk the many legends regarding the role of the Texas Rangers along
the border in the years 1910 – 1920. I so doing it both corrects
and adds to what is known of the era.
Jenkins, John H.
and H. Gordon Frost. “I’m Frank Hamer” The Life
of a Texas Peace Officer. Austin: State House Press, 1993.
The story of the
famous Ranger, Frank Hamer, who tracked down Bonnie and Clyde. Hamer,
known as a gunfighter, served on and off as a Ranger throughout the
early 1900s, in addition to other law enforcement duties. The book includes
a detailed account of the lives and deaths of the Bonnie and Clyde.
W. They Rode for the Lone Star: The Saga of the Texas Rangers. Dallas:
Taylor Publishing Company, 1999.
history of the Texas Rangers from the birth of Texas to the Civil War.
Many of the illustrations and photographs used in this book have never
been published before.
Malsch, Brownson. “Lone Wolf” Gonzaullas, Texas Ranger. Norman, OK:
University of Oklahoma Press, 1998.
Biography of Captain
M. T. “Lone Wolf” Gonzaullas, the famed Ranger who joined
the force in 1920. Gonzaullas played a pivotal role in the modernization
of Texas law enforcement by setting up the state’s first crime
lab and was a model example of a modern Ranger captain.
Martinez, Ray. They Call Me Ranger Ray, From the UT Tower Sniper
To Corruption In South Texas. New Braunfels, TX: Rio Bravo Publishing,
2004. ISBN 0-9769162-0-6.
One of the deadliest days in American school history was Charles Whitman
murderous rampage at the University of Texas tower. Get the real story
from the man who stopped him, plus many other important case stories
from this memoir of a dedicated Texas Ranger.
L. Savage Frontier: Volumes I & II 1835 – 1837; Rangers,
Riflemen, and Indian Wars in Texas. Plano, TX: Republic of Texas
These books offer
a comprehensive treatment of the Rangers during the first years of the
Republic of Texas. In addition to being a good history of these three
years, Moore also includes numerous rosters that could be of interest
to family historians looking for that elusive Ranger relative.
Paine, Albert Bigelow. Captain Bill McDonald, Texas Ranger. Austin: State House Press,
Biography of Capt.
William J. McDonald who served as captain of Company B during the 1890s
and early 1900s. He also served in other areas of law enforcement including
sheriff and U.S. Marshal.
and Marianne E. Hall Little. Captain L. H. McNelly – Texas
Ranger – The Life and Times of a Fighting Man. Austin: State
House Press, 2001.
biography of this often controversial figure of Texas Ranger history.
Proctor, Ben. Just
one riot: episodes of Texas Rangers in the 20th century. Austin:
Eakin Press, 1991.
This work covers
some of the more famous incidents of Ranger history in the 20th century
that illustrate the adage of “one riot, one Ranger.” Starting
with Bill McDonald’s handling of the Brownsville riot in 1906,
the book conclude with the “Huntsville Siege” of 1974.
Dan W. Roberts. Rangers and Sovereignty. Austin: State House Press,
account of Ranger life in the 1870s and 1880s. He served as captain
of Company D. The book also includes a book written by Roberts’
wife who recounts her life in the Ranger camp.
Smith, David Paul. Frontier
Defense in the Civil War: Texas Rangers and Rebels. College
Station, TX: Texas A&M University Press,
This book analyzes
the defense of the Texas Frontier against Indian raiders and army deserters
by the varied groups established during the turbulent years of the Civil
War. The author makes a good job of distinguishing between those men
on the frontier in the hired by the State to do ranging duty and those
who were stationed there as soldiers of the Confederate States Army.
N. Captain John H. Rogers, Texas Ranger. Denton, TX: University
of North Texas Press, 2003.
and readable biography of one of the “four great” Ranger
captains, Rogers began serving in the Rangers in the late nineteenth
century and made the transition into the Rangers of the twentieth century.
Warren. Trails and Trials of a Texas Ranger. Norman, OK: University
of Oklahoma Press, 1968.
a Ranger in the early 1900s and rose through the ranks to become
the adjutant general of Texas in the 1930s. This book chronicles
his life and experiences as a Ranger as well as presenting short
biographical sketches of some of the Rangers Sterling admired.
Utley, Robert M. Lone Star Justice. New York: Oxford University Press, 2002.
Webb, Walter Prescott. The Texas Rangers: A Century of Frontier Defense. Austin: University
of Texas Press, 1985.
in 1935, this well-known history of the Rangers covers the first years
of the force up to 1935 when the Rangers became a part of the Texas
Department of Public Safety. Webb spent many years writing this book
and even rode with the Rangers, experiences which he includes in the
book. This work is not as readable as some of Webb’s other histories
and tends to look at Ranger history through rose-colored glasses.
Wilkins, Frederick. Defending the borders: the Texas Rangers 1848-1861. Austin:
State House Press, 2001.
Covers the years
from the end of the Mexican War to the beginning of the American Civil
War. With this work, Wilkins helps to clarify an often confusing period
in Ranger history. With the publication of this work, Wilkins finished
a four volume set that give an in-depth treatment of the nineteenth
Wilkins, Frederick. The Highly Irregular Irregulars: Texas Rangers on the Mexican War. Austin: Eakin Press, 1990.
The history of
the Rangers during the Mexican War, a time when the Rangers were effective
and respected fighters, although often undisciplined and “highly
Wilkins, Frederick. The Law Comes to Texas: The Texas Rangers 1870-1901. Austin:
State House Press, 1999.
the Frontier Battalion era and the important transition of the Rangers
from fighting Indians to chasing outlaws. The book includes accounts
of famous outlaws Sam Bass and John Wesley Hardin and their captures
by the Rangers.
Wilkins, Frederick. The Legend Begins: The Texas Rangers, 1823-1845. Austin: State
House Press, 1996.
years of the Texas Rangers. In addition to details on battles, Wilkins
also gives good information on the weapons and accoutrements of the
early Rangers. A very reader friendly history book.
In the 1980s and
1990s several biographies and autobiographies of “modern”
Rangers have been published. Some of the men covered in these books
and Robert Nieman. Glenn Elliott: A Ranger's Ranger. Self Published, 1999. and Elliott,
Glenn and Robert Nieman. Glenn Elliott: Still A Ranger's
Ranger. Self Published, 2003.
Albers, E.G. Life
and Reflections of a Texas Ranger.
E. G. “Butch”
Albers, served 1961-1974
E. J. “Jay” Banks, served 1947-1960
Glenn Elliott, served 1961-1987 (2 volumes)
Joaquin Jackson, served 1957 – 1993
Jim Peters, served 1968-1987
Lewis Rigler, served 1947-1977
John M. Wood, served 1949-1978