Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum: 1-35 and University Parks Drive | PO Box 2570, Waco, TX 76702-2570 | (254) 750-8631
Ranger Hall of Fame
The HALL OF FAME is the State designated memorial of the Texas Ranger service, commemorating the service and sacrifices of 30 Texas Rangers who gave their lives in the line of duty or made significant contributions to development of the service.
1855 - 1944
J. A. Brooks was born in Bourbon County, Kentucky on November 20, 1855.
He moved to Collin County Texas about 1876 where he operated a farm and
a ranch. Brooks joined the Rangers in 1883, serving in Company F under
Captain Shely. Broo ks played a prominent role in the fence-cutting wars
and tracking down the Conner gang in the early 1880s.
In a shoot-out
with the Conners, one Ranger was killed and three Rangers, including
Brooks, were wounded. Brooks lost several fingers on his left hand
as a results of his wounds. He quickly moved up the Ranger ranks. In
March 1888, J. A. Brooks was promoted to Lieutenant in charge of Company
F, becoming Captain of the company in March 1889. Company F was kept
busy with livestock thefts, fights, and murders.
The company was also
involved in combating the crime caused by individuals like Catarino
Garza and the Reese-Townsend feud at Columbus. Captain Brooks' company
was also on hand to put a stop to the Maher-Fitzsimmons prizefight
in El Paso in 1896. With reorganization of the Ranger force, Brooks
became Captain of Company A. Brooks was known as one of the "Four Great
Captains," along with John H. Rogers, John R. Hughes, and William J.
The early 1900s saw the Rangers adding the policing of the
oil-boom towns to their list of duties. After a long career with the
Rangers, Brooks resigned in November 1906. Brooks moved to Falfurrias
where he became active in local and state politics, serving in the
31st and 32nd legislatures. In 1911, he helped
to organize Brooks County, which was named in his honor. He became
the county's first judge in 1911, serving in that capacity until 1939.
J. A. Brooks died on January 15, 1944. He was buried in Falfurrias.
is some confusion as to his first name—most records records simply
list him as "J. A." while others list him as "John"
Suggestions for further reading:
Frederick Wilkins, The Law Comes to Texas,
Austin: State House Press, 1999.
Walter Prescott Webb, The Texas Rangers,
William W. Sterling, Trails and Trials
of a Texas Rangers, Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1968.
Texas Adjutant General's Papers, Texas State
Archives, Austin, Texas.