The Official Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco, Texas
Women and the Rangers: Mothers, Wives, & Daughters - Part 2

Women and the Rangers:
Mothers, Wives, Sweethearts & Daughters
Part 2


Her Weapon of Choice

Captain Sam McMurry’s Ranger Company "B", Thurber, Texas, 1888.
Gift of Capt. and Mrs. Manuel T. Gonzaullas / P.80.397.
©2003, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.

Left to right: Uncle Jess, Arthur Terrell, Phil Best, Tom Mahan, Ed S. Brittain, John Bracken, Sam M. Platt, Mrs. Sam M. Platt, Tom Hickman, Rad Platt, W. H. John L. Sullivan, Sterling Prince, Lon Lewis, “Haggard.”

The following verses are from a poem titled, The Battle of San Bennidito, written by S. J. Adams, a member of Captain L. H. McNelly’s Ranger Company. The poem describes a fight between the Rangers and a woman with a broom in September 1876.

When all of a sudden, Our Dutchman so bold,
Slipt around to the rear, and he seemed to be cold,
His teeth knocked together, His hair stood upright,
As he said, “There’s the place where you’ll all have to fight”.

“Right there in that Mexican Jacal,” said he,
“Is a woman as fierce as a woman can be,
And let me advise you, before you begin,
To load up your guns, and take all of your men.”

“I’ll tell you she’s armed to the teeth, I expect,
And will fight like a tigress, her young to protect.”
“Draw your pistols,” cried Orrell, “Right front into line,
We’ll teach her a lesson, Dress up there Devine.”

The orders obeyed, and with pistol in hand,
Our bold hardy Rangers fell in to a man.
Of course, they were pale, but the bravest of men are,
When about to encounter the perrills of war.

“Charge,” and the boys dashed on with a yell,
Detirmined like heroes to fight though they fell.
The house was surrounded as quick as a thought,
The Tigress was hemmed, but, hardly yet caught.

For a Mexican woman, quite forty years old,
With the air of a soldier, defiant and bold,
Prepaired for a struggle, stood up in the room,
In her hand was her weapon, a long handled broom.

“Surrender,” cried Orrell, as he sprang through the door,
When a sweep of the broom laid him out on the floor.
The boys rushed in to their officer’s aid,
But were quickly repulsed by the sweeps that she made.

Old Deggs, and Devine, were upset in the strife,
And I fear that our Watson’s a cripple for life,
Linton Wright had a terrible bump on his head,
And they say she knocked Durham clear under her bed.

Though the boys were quickly whipped out of the room,
They had something to boast of, They’d captured the broom.



T. H. Robinson served in the Frontier Battalion Company
"E" in the early 1890s. Museum Collections / P.79.75.
©2003, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.





Imogen and Ira Aten,
Museum Collections, P97.57.
©2003, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.

Imogen and Ira Aten

Before agreeing to marry Texas Ranger Ira Aten, Imogen made him promise not to hold public office or to accept an appointment as a law enforcement officer. She stated “I’m not going to trail a gun for the rest of my life – nor try to make a home behind a gun.” Aten agreed to her terms, resigning from the Texas Rangers to follow his heart.

Ira Aten and Imogen Boyce were married February 3, 1892 at the Central Christian Church in Austin. Following the ceremony they moved to the Panhandle and set up housekeeping in Ira’s bachelor dugout.

In 1893 Ira accepted the position of sheriff of Castro County. After intervention of both the Aten and Boyce families, Imogen agreed not to leave Ira over this breach of promise. It is reported that after Imogen returned home, this “daughter of a cultured family buckled on two six-shooters around her waist to begin serving as county jailer.”

The Atens had three sons and two daughters.

Ira Aten took great joy in domestic life. His memoirs recall that kitchen smoke trailing from his chimney meant more to him than all the gunsmoke spouted from Ranger carbines. And “one hug from my good woman,” he wrote wistfully, “[means] more than all the citations ever handed me by Ranger captains.”

Austin Aten, A Methodist minister, was called in to pray with outlaw Sam Bass as he lay dying following the shoot-out at Round Rock, Texas in 1878. Hi son, Ira, witnessed the scene through a window and decided at that moment he would someday be a Texas Ranger.

Katherine and Austin Aten. Gift of Tim Dickson / P.97.54. ©2003, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.

Katherine and Austin were the parents of Texas Rangers Cal, Ed, and Ira Aten.






The Austin Aten family, 1886, P97.56.
©2003, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.

Left to right front row: Calvin Grant, Austin, Katherine and Eddie Aten. Left to right back row: Ira, Clara, Tommie, Angie and Frank Aten. Three of the Aten boys, Cal, Ed and Ira, served in the Frontier Battalion.




W. J. L. Sullivan

Texas Ranger Sergeant W. J. L. Sullivan.Museum Collections / P.6.237.©2003, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum

John L. Sullivan first joined the Rangers in 1888, serving in Company B until he left the Rangers in 1900.

In the back of his book, Twelve Years in the Saddle, Sgt. Sullivan includes a selection of poetry. One poem/song found there is "The Dying Ranger". Below are a few stanzas from tthe poem:



The Dying Ranger

Way back in Northwest Texas,
That good old Lone Star state,
There is one that for my coming
With a weary heart will wait.

A fair young girl, my sister,
My only joy, my pride,
She was my friend from boyhood,
I had no one left beside.

I have loved her as a brother,
And with a father’s care
I have strove from grief and sorrow
Her gentle heart to spare.

My mother, she lies sleeping
Beneath the church-yard sod,
And many a day has passed away
Since her spirit flew to God.
My father, he lies sleeping
Beneath the deep blue sea,
I have no other kindred,
There are none but Nell and me.
But our country was invaded
And they called for volunteers;
She threw her arms around me,
Then burst into tears,
Saying, ‘Go, my darling brother,
Drive those traitors from our shore,
My heart may need your presence,
But our country needs you more.’

Comrades, gather closer
And listen to my dying prayer.
Who will be to her as a brother,
And shield her with a brother’s care?
Up spake the noble rangers,
They answered one and all,
“We will be to her as brothers
Till the last one does fall.”


Ira and Ida Crocker

Ira and Ida Crocker family, 1910. Gift of Charles D. Pickens, Jr. /P.97.1.2.©2003, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.

This photo-postcard was sent to Ranger W. J. L. Sullivan. The message on the back reads: “Buffalo Gap / 2-13-1910 / Dear Uncle Will / We send you some cards / will write you a letter soon / were glad to hear from you / but sorry your health is still bad.”

Letter from H. G. Dubose, 1st Lt. Texas Rangers
Company “A”, to Miss Ella Gillespie,
December 5, 1900.

My darling Girl:

I will leave this morning and will not get back to the Railroad before the 14th. Mrs F. never had anything to say to me this time – only thanked me for the letters. Hall came back to Del Rio yesterday, suppose he will stay there permanently now.

Horace and Miss Rosie have had a “big row” Horace has not been out there for several days and declares he never will go to see her again, but is very anxious to take her to Uvalde with him, but is afraid she will not go with him.

I intended writing your mother this morning, but did not know her initials so when you write – tell me what they are. Excuse this letter – am in a hurry. Take good care of yourself. Good – bye.

Yours, H. G. Dubose.

Captain Rogers’ Company of Rangers, ca. 1888. Gift of James Manford / P.97.69.©2003, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.

Back row: left to right: A. Y. Old, C. L. Rogers, T. Kingsbury, F. Townsley.
Middle row: left to right: T. Bruwster, Capt. J. H. Rogers, T. Harris, M. Beldoeshuiler.
Front row: left to right: J. M. McMurry, H. G. Dubose, F. McMahon.




C. L. “Kid” Rogers

C. L. “Kid” Rogers served in the Texas Rangers from 1886 to 1898, and from 1899 - 1901.

He married Bettie DeHand Chessher on May 1, 1894. They were the parents of two daughters and a son. Following is a poem Rogers sent to his wife Bettie:

The gay and hardy Ranger,
His blanket on the ground,
Lies by the blazing camp fire,
While songs and tales go round.
If one, for once, is silent
And fails to hear the jest,
They know his thoughts are absent
With her who loves him best.

C. L. “Kid” and J. H. Rogers, ca. 1880.
Gift of James Manford /P.97.81
©2003, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.





Capt. J. H. Rogers

Obtaining a leave of absence from his Ranger service, John Harris Rogers married Harriet Randolph Burwell on October 10, 1892 in Cotulla, Texas. Their children were Lucille, Pleasant and Lapsley. J. H. Rogers first joined the Rangers in 1882 and continued to serve, rising to the rank

Capt. J. H. Rogers and family, ca. 1902. Gift of Brig. Gen. (Ret.) P. B. Rogers / P.79.7. ©2003, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.



Future Texas Ranger Lee C. Bills

Lee C. Bills joined the Texas Rangers in 1915 in Harlingen, Texas, serving in both Company C and Company D. He left the Rangers in 1919.

Adolescent Lee C. Bills with his mother and sister. Gift of Bettie A. Wyatt / P.97.26. ©2003, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.




Go to Part 3


The Official Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco, Texas