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.
1856 - 1937
James B. Gillett
was born in Austin, Texas on November 4, 1856. By 1872 the family had
moved to Lampasas. Gillett soon started working at the local ranches.
In 1875, he went to Menard and joined the Texas Rangers.
His first service was with Captain D. W. Roberts
Company D. He later served with Captain N. O. Reynolds and G. W. Baylor.
Gillett served mainly in the counties of Kimble, Mason, Menard, Kerr,
San Saba, Llano, Lampasas, Burnet, and El Paso counties. In addition
to fights with the Kiowa, Comanche and Apache Indians, Gillett also
dealt with cattle thieves and outlaws. In January of 1881 Gillett, as
part of a company led by G. W. Baylor, participated in what is called
the last fight between Texas Rangers and Indians. After a pursuit of
Apache Indians who had attacked a stagecoach, the Rangers surprised
the Indian camp, killing six, including women and children, capturing
a woman and two children and scattering the rest of the band into the
In December of 1881, after six years service,
Gillett resigned from the Rangers. He was appointed assistant city marshal
of El Paso. In June of 1882 he became Marshall of El Paso. Gillett had
a reputation as a man without fear. He left the Marshall's office in
April 1885, becoming the manager of the Estado Land and Cattle Company.
He held this position for six years, resigning to begin ranching for
Gillett ranched south of Alpine until 1904 when
he moved his family to Roswell, New Mexico. The family moved back to
Texas in 1907. He bought the Barrell Spring Ranch and began building
a premium herd of registered Herefords. Gillett retired from ranching
in 1923, leased his ranch and sold his cattle to his son Milton. Moving
to Marfa he became very active in service clubs and helped to organize
the West Texas Historical Association.
In 1921, Gillett wrote and published his memoirs,
Six years with the Texas Rangers. It has remained in print
ever since. The book was condensed into a textbook in 1928 and was used
in public schools for many years in at least seventeen states. James
B. Gillett died of heart failure on June 11, 1937. He was buried in
the Marfa cemetery.
Suggestions for further reading:
James B. Gillett, Six Years with the
Texas Rangers, Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1976
Joan Bagley, James B. Gillett, the man," Junior
Historian, May 1969.