The Official Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum in Waco, Texas
Women and the Rangers: Mothers, Wives, & Daughters - Part 3 (Final)

Women and the Rangers: Mothers, Wives, Sweethearts & Daughters
Part 3 (Final)

Rhoda and Bill McDonald

“Bill Jess if you leave here on account of a thing like that, I’ll leave you.”

In 1896 Company" "B" spent time in San Saba trying to disband the Buzzard’s Water Hole Gang.

The men, including Captain Bill McDonald received many threatening letters. Mrs. McDonald was spending the winter in camp with the Company when the Captain received a letter telling him to leave the area or be killed. The Captain informed his wife that he must leave camp and let her read the letter through.

She replied: “Bill Jess if you leave here on account of a thing like that, I’ll leave you.”

“Well,” said Captain Bill, sorrowfully, “I seem to be in a mighty bad fix. If I stay, I’ll be filled with bullets, and if I go, I’ll lose my wife. I s’pose I’ll have to stay.”

Story taken from Albert Bigelow Paine, Captain Bill McDonald Texas Ranger.

Texas Rangers Company “B”, San Saba, Texas, 1896
Gift of Capt. and Mrs. Manual T. Gonzaullas / P.80.409; P.80.410
©2003, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum

These two photographs show the Company “B” camp at San Saba during the
Buzzard’s Water Hole mob trouble. The men, along with Rhoda McDonald,
were camped here for several months. The men shown include Tom Johnson,
Allen Maddox, Edgar Neal, Dudley Barker, and John L. Sullivan

Deathbed Letter of Rhoda McDonald

Rhoda McDonald wrote this touching letter to her husband while he was in the field:

“My Dear husband:

When your eyes look on these lines I will have crossed the Great Divide, and these wishes of mine I am sure you will fulfil. . . I want you to keep my Bible and read it, because you will derive more comfort from it than all else besides.

My prayers for you have always been mingled with those for myself, and I hope they have not been in vain. Please see that my grave has plenty of trees so that the birds may build their nests in them. . .

I am sorry for every cross word or look that I ever gave you, but feel sure you will not hold them against me. With lots of love

– Good-by. Rhoda”

Story taken from Albert Bigelow Paine, Captain Bill McDonald Texas Ranger.

John R. Hughes

Following a month-long scout, Rangers John R. Hughes and Ira Aten found rest and more at an isolated ranch house south of Realitos. Introduced to three young sisters who were visiting from Corpus Christi, Hughes soon found himself smitten with the middle sister, a spirited brunette of twenty. In the following weeks, he managed several trips to the ranch to continue a courtship that would lead to a proposal of marriage.

Hughes planned to leave the Ranger service prior to his wedding but before he could resign he was called to investigate a multiple murder that would take him away from his bride-to-be for several weeks. He returned to Realitos as soon as he was able, only to be given the tragic news that his beloved had taken ill and died during his absence. The family tried but was unable to get word to him. Disregarding the expiration of his leave of absence, Hughes made his way to the coast to visit the secluded graveyard and the grave of his intended bride. It was a pilgrimage he would make many times during the remainder of his life.

Captain Hughes never married. He claimed that a man living the dangerous and uncertain life of a Ranger had no right to marry. His close friend, Ira Aten, claimed the reason was the death of Hughes’ love. In later years Hughes, with a smile on his face, liked to blame women for the troubles of world – but he had a sharp eye for the charms of pretty girls, and thoroughly enjoyed their company.

Captain John R. Hughes and friend, Yselta, Texas.
Gift of Capt. and Mrs. Manual T. Gonzaullas / P.80.337. ©2003,
Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.

Ranger Captain Manuel T. Gonzaullas identified this woman as a Miss Weurtschmidt, but there has been some question as to whether this identification is correct.

John R. Hughes joined the Texas Rangers in August 1887. He had risen to the rank of sergeant in Company D Frontier Battalion by 1893. When their captain, Frank Jones, was killed in June 1893, Hughes was promoted to captain of Company D. For most of his career, Hughes served along the border of southwest Texas. In 1901, when the Frontier Battalion was abolished and the State Rangers created, John Hughes was selected as one of the four captains of the new companies. He served until retirement in 1915.


Lee Trimble

Special Ranger Hoyt and Ranger Lee Trimble with two friends, Smithville, Texas, 1922. Gift of Ranger and Mrs. Lee Trimble / P.85.44. ©2003, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum

The two women are unidentified but obviously are close enough friends to be trusted with the Ranger’s guns and badges.




Rangers Jeff Vaughn, Lee Trimble and Charlie Miller with 9 unidentified people, Big Bend area, ca. 1920.
Gift of Ranger and Mrs. Lee Trimble / P.85.16.
©2003, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum

Vaughn and Trimble are the first two men on the front row, left. Charlie Miller is wearing the bowtie.


Visiting Company B Headquarters,
Dallas Fair Park, 1936. Museum Collections / MS34 Dub Naylor Photograph Album.
©2003, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.

During the Texas Centennial celebration many  people visited the Rangers headquarters building and exhibit. Among the visitors were friends and family always ready to have a photograph taken with a Texas Ranger or two.


Ranger Doney E. Covington and daughter Fay, Presidio, Texas, 1923. Gift of Brenda Stroud / P.97.65. ©2003, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.

On the back of this photograph is written: “The house you see in this picture is one of our nearest neighbors about 30 yds from us. This house is made of cotton wood sticks and mud. The Lone Wolf and his baby girl Fay taken while in the Ranger service at Presidio, Texas.”


D. E. Covington served several enlistments in the Rangers in the 1920s and 1930s. On the back of this photograph is written: “The Ranger you see here has the name of being the meanest man on the force (his Capt. Has told many people he had killed 45 men and would as soon kill that many more as not). That he was half Indian and the other half German and was not afraind of the D____ [Devil].” These two photographs show he was also an attentive father to his young daughter, Fay.


Viola & Johnny Klevenhagen

Captain Johnny and Viola Klevenhagen, 1957. Gift of Ed Gooding / P.33.50, MS33 Ed Gooding Collection. ©2003, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.

Johnny and Viola met in 1933. he was working with the District Attorney’s office and was taking a coffee break at the refreshment stand in the Bexar County Courthouse. She was a telephone operator and also on coffee break. They struck up a conversation and soon a romance developed. The two were married in may 7, 1935.

Twenty-three years later, Viola was at her husband’s side when he died on November 26, 1958. She said, “He knew he was going. He kept telling me goodbye.”


Captain and Mrs. Frank J. Probst

Captain and Mrs. Frank J. Probst. Museum Collections / P.80775 . ©2003, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.

Capt. Frank Probst began law enforcement service as a deputy sheriff in Live Oak County, Texas. He joined the Texas Highway Patrol in 1941 and was commissioned a Texas Ranger in 1945. He was made Captain of Company “E” in 1958 and Captain of Company “C” in 1967.

Frank J. Probst and Glaydes B. Bryan were married June 26, 1948, in Amarillo, Texas. They were the parents of two daughters.


Rangers and wives, ca. 1960. Gift of Max Westermann / P.38.16. ©2003, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.

It has been a long standing tradition in the Rangers to gather together for good food and good company. This photograph was taken at one such gathering.

Left to right: Zeno Russell Preiss, Ranger and Mrs. J. H. Preiss, Ranger and Mrs. W. A. Russell, Ranger and Mrs. Jack Van Cleve, Captain and Mrs. A. Y. Allee, Ranger and Mrs. Levi Duncan, Ranger and Mrs. Q. J. Lowman, Colonel and Mrs. Homer Garrison, and Ms. Barbara Atkin.

Ranger George Roach retirement party, September 1973. Gift of George Roach / P.6.124. ©2003, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.

Left to right: Michael Watkins, Ruth Roach, George Roach. George Roach served in the Texas Rangers from June 1948 until Spetember 1973.

George Roach and Ruth Layfield, his high school sweetheart, eloped to Marietta, Oklahoma in January 1932 while she was teaching school.

Company “D” Captains’ Wives, 1982. Gift of Jack Dean / P.28.24 . ©2003, Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum.

Three “generations” of Company “D” Captains’ wives: Pearl Allee, wife of A. Y. Allee; Jewel Wood, wife of John Wood; and, Janie Dean, wife of Jack Dean.




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