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.
B. Jones was born 22 December 1834 in the Fairfield District, South
Carolina. The family moved to Texas in 1838, settling in the area that
became Travis County. They later moved, finally settling in what is
now Navarro County. Jones attended Rutersville College near LaGrange
and Mount Zion College in Winnsboro, South Carolina.
During the Civil War he enlisted as a private
in Benjamin F. Terry's Eighth Texas Cavalry, but left that regiment
to become adjutant of Speight's Fifteenth Texas Infantry with the rank
of captain. By the end of the war he had been promoted to major. He
was known as a man of coolness and quick judgment, a skillful soldier
and someone to trust in a difficult situations.
Following the war Jones went to Mexico to attempt
to locate a site for an expatriate Confederate colony but soon returned
to Texas. He was elected to the state legislature as a representative
in 1868 but was denied his seat by the Radical Republicans. When the
Frontier Battalion was created in 1874, Jones was appointed to head
Though soft-spoken and slightly built, Major
Jones soon won the respect of the men under him. Not only was he an
administrator, he was a strategist who was often in the field with the
companies, not just directing the force from an office in Austin. In
July 1874, Jones led a contingent of Rangers, numbering less than forty,
against a combined raiding party of more than 125 Comanches, Kiowas,
and Apaches under Lone Wolf at Lost Valley. The Rangers were able to
hold out against the Indians for more than a day before help arrived
from the U. S. Army The Frontier Battalion under Jones was able to help
put an end to the Indian raids on the frontier as well as quell numerous
incidents of civil unrest.
As an administrator Jones was expected to run
the Frontier Battalion with a set amount of money. Besides filling in
the necessary muster rolls of their Companies, company commanders were
also expected to keep detailed records of the expenses of the company.
These records were then forwarded to the quartermaster where they were
carefully examined. For example, to insure against guesswork or fraud
in valuing lost horses, Jones had each horse in Ranger service appraised
by three civilians and the value put in writing. There were no exceptions
to this rule, even Jones' horse was appraised. In 1879 Jones was appointed
Adjutant General of the State of Texas. His expanded responsibilities
hindered his habit of visiting every company in the field several times
a year, but until his death in 1881, he continued to give the Rangers
his personal attention.
John B. Jones died in service on 19 July 1881.
He was buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Austin, Texas.
In The Law Comes to Texas, Fred Wilkins
sums up Jones' career:
"It would be difficult to overstate Jones'
importance in the development of the Rangers. . . [He] put his brand
on the form and style of discipline, morale and conduct. He set the
standard for administration, . . . Jones developed a business-like fighting
force which he personally supervised, riding up and down the frontier
each year. . . . he never lost his love for his men. . . ; he knew each
officer and noncommissioned officer and many of the privates. . . .
Without him the Rangers would probably have been dissolved, and it is
a tribute to him that in his day he was known, admired and respected
as the Texas Ranger."
Suggestions for further reading:
Frederick Wilkins, The Law Comes to Texas,
Austin: State House Press, 1999.
Walter Prescott Webb, The Texas Rangers,
Austin: University Of Texas Press, 1935
Vertical files, Center for American History,
University of Texas, Austin, Texas
Vertical files, Texas Ranger Research Center,
Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum, Waco, Texas.