Texas Ranger Hall of Fame and Museum: 1-35 and University Parks Drive | PO Box 2570, Waco, TX 76702-2570 | (254) 750-8631
Texas Ranger History: Timeline - The
Ranging Tradition Years1821-1836
Independence from Spain
is commissioned an empresario by the Mexican government
and authorized to bring settlers from the U.S. and Europe to the
Mexican territory of Tejas (Texas).
offered land in Tejas if they will become naturalized Mexican citizens,
adopt the Catholic faith and learn Spanish. After an untimely death,
Stephen F. Austin, (Moses Austin's son) assumes the commission.
European immigrants stream into the Tejas territory between 1821
Mexican government, wracked by political and economic turmoil following
Independence, cannot protect its northern territories from attack
by hostile Indians.
The pressure of Indian raids, two companies of "men . .
. to act as rangers for the common defense" are formed
under Stephen F. Austin's authority as empresario. These
men are commonly regarded as the first Texas Rangers.
Flag of 1824
a Constitution, based on the U.S. Constitution, establishing a republican
government. However, it fails to define the rights of states within
the Republic, which will become an issue leading to the Texas Revolution.
companies engage in skirmishes with bands of Comanche, Karankawa,
Waco, Tehuacani and Tonkawa Indians.
lack of central authority among the various bands of Indians makes
distinguishing hostile from peaceful bands difficult.
an American offer to buy Tejas for $5 million.
imposes strict limits on immigration to Texas from the United
States. The Central Government fears that runaway immigration
will result in Tejas becoming a de facto U.S. Territory.
immigration restrictions are later relaxed, this creates a schism
between the naturalized Texas settlers and the Mexican Central
1823 and 1836 an estimated 50,000 settlers will arrive in
Texas from the United States and Europe.
Flag of Tejas y Coahuila
June 26, 1832
- The Battle of Velasco is the first conflict between Mexican soldiers
and Texas settlers. Mexican commander Domingo de Ugartechea surrenders
after running out of ammunition.
recognition of Texas as a Mexican state. The Mexican Central Government
rejects their request and Texas remains part of the state of Tejas
the first of two conventions to protest Mexican Central Government
treatment of the Texas settlers.
Stephen F. Austin
Austin journeys to Mexico City to petition for states' rights. The
Vice-president, Gomez Farias, refuses to meet with him because President
Santa Anna is never available. After many bureaucratic delays, Austin
gives up and leaves for Texas.
On the long
return trip, Austin is overtaken by Mexican troops and arrested
for inciting revolution. He will be imprisoned without due process
until September of 1835. After having pleaded with the Tejas settlers
for moderation, he now becomes a fervent believer in the Texas Independence
patents his design for a revolving pistol, designed as a gentleman's
pocket pistol. Although the Texas Rangers will use it with great
success in the 1840s, initial sales are lackluster and Colt eventually
Antonio López de Santa
Anna Pérez de Lebrón
In a remarkable
coup, President Santa Anna deposes his Vice-president, declares
himself Dictator of Mexico, and ultimately suspends the democratic
Mexican Constitution of 1824.
in Tejas view the new dictator, the suspension of the Constitution
of 1824, the denial of states rights for Texas, and the imprisonment
of Austin as ample justifications for a revolution and Independence.
The Gonzales Flag
- In a conciliatory gesture, Santa Anna releases Stephen F. Austin
2 - A division of Mexican cavalry is sent to Gonzales to confiscate
a cannon originally given to the local settlers for defense against
raiding Indians. 51 settlers repulse the Mexican force under a
banner bearing the words "Come and Take It." This marks
the beginning of the Texas Revolution.
9 - Volunteers under George Collingsworth and Ben Milam capture
the Mexican presidio (fort) of Goliad, near San Antonio and its
under the command of Stephen F. Austin, camp near San Antonio
and begin the Siege of San Antonio de Bexar.
Texas Flag of 1835
3 - A provisional Texas government is established by the "Consultation
Consultation authorizes recruiting of 25 Rangers, this is later
increased to three companies of 56 men each.
In the coming fighting, loose organization makes it difficult
to determine who fought as a member of the "Texian Army"
and who served as a Ranger. Ranger and Army units often fight
together with the same command structure.
9 - Mexican General Cos surrenders San Antonio to the Texian Army.
January - Santa
Anna leads the Mexican Army, arguably the best trained and equipped
military force in the world, north to put down the rebellion.
Col. William B. Travis is sent to San Antonio, just ahead of a large
force of Mexican troops, to remove artillery, destroy or remove
supplies and perhaps raze the Alamo. His orders are to deny the
former mission, and anything of value in it, to the Mexican Army.
Finding little of value after the siege of San Antonio, Travis elects
to ignore his orders and defend the crumbling walls of the Alamo
to buy time for the organization of Texas troops.
and his troops ignore orders from President Sam Houston to withdraw
from the Presidio of Goliad. Like Travis' forces at the Alamo, they
elect to stay and defend the post.
San Jacinto Battle Flag
of the Republic Museum
March 1- The
Gonzales Ranging Company of Mounted Volunteers is the only group
to answer Col. Travis' call for assistance in defending the Alamo.
This party of Texas Rangers dies alongside the other defenders of
March - A Texas
Ranger detachment rescues a child of Sarah Hibbons kidnapped by
March 2 - The
Texas Declaration of Independence is signed and the Republic of
March 6 - After
a two-week siege, a Mexican force estimated at 5,000 overwhelms
the estimated 190 defenders of the Alamo. All of the defenders perish
-- including the Gonzales ranging company and Hispanic citizens
opposing Santa Anna's coup.
March 19 -
After receiving news of the fall of the Alamo, some 300 Texians
at Goliad under Fannin, including Rangers, soldiers and noncombatants,
begin a retreat. Unfortunately, it is too late -- Santa Anna catches
them on the open prairie and accepts their surrender after a small
March 27 -
On Palm Sunday, Fannin's entire command is marched into the fields
near Goliad and executed at Gen. Santa Anna's order. An estimated
350 are slaughtered, a few escape. The massacres of 540 defenders
at the Alamo and Goliad becomes a battle cry for the Texians "Remember
the Alamo, Remember Goliad."
until the battle at San Jacinto, the Tumlinson Rangers fight a rearguard
action protecting colonists and the fragmented Texian Army retreating
in front of the Mexican Army in the "Runaway Scrape."
April 21 -
After a long strategic retreat to wear down the Mexican Army and
stretch its supply lines, forces under Sam Houston surprise and
defeat the Mexican Army at the Battle of San Jacinto in southeast
Texas, ensuring Texas Independence.
May 14 - Santa
Anna signs two treaties at Velasco. The first, a public document,
declares that all hostilities are ended, that the Mexican army will
immediately withdraw from Texas, and that all Texian prisoners will
be released. The second agreement, a secret treaty, agrees to recognize
Texas Independence in exchange for sparing and freeing Santa Anna.
Anna soon repudiates both agreements after his return to Mexico.
However, he is removed from power and exiled. Mexican troops and
Texans fight a series of intermittent border clashes for the next
- Stephen F. Austin, the "Father of Texas", dies after serving two
months as Secretary of State for the new Republic. Ironically, Sam
Houston, not Austin, had been elected as the first President of