from the past are a great source for historical data. I’ve alluded to this fact
many times before and still hold the opinion that the aged articles found in newspapers
hold more truthful information than we get from some would-be historians. |
being said, I have always been interested in that elite group of law officers
known as the Texas Rangers, and recently I came across another article regarding
these men. This story was found in an old Hallettsville Herald from 1893
and describes a fight between Rangers and smugglers on the Rio Grande.
Sadly, a brave Ranger captain named Frank Jones died in that battle. It
seems ironic that 118 years later, Texas Rangers are still confronting smugglers
and other criminals on the Rio Grande.
The newspaper account below says
the fight occurred on Tres Jacales Island; the Handbook of Texas
refers to the place as Pirate’s Island and says Jones was killed not far
from there on June 30, 1893.
Other information found on the Internet
claims that Capt. Jones and his men saw bandits leaving the island and chased
them to the village of Tres Jacales, Mexico. Jones supposedly died in a firefight
at that location.
Reports indicate that the lawmen were trying to serve
a warrant for cattle rustling on Jesus-Maria Olguin and his son, Severio. The
Olguins were well-known rustlers in the area.
According to the website,
Officer Down (http://www.odmp.org/officer/7238-captain-frank-jones), El
Paso County Sheriff Simmons went to Juarez, Mexico, to request the return of Captain
Jones' body. Mexican authorities filed a diplomatic protest, but returned his
body days later.
The following article has been slightly edited for grammar
and spelling, but contains all of the information from the original newspaper
Please note that when I reprint these old articles, I make an
every effort to publish them exactly as they originally appeared; this often goes
against the rules of modern newspaper-style writing.
Herald – July 6, 1893 – Report from Alpine,
That section of the Texas
border between Presidio and
El Paso has long been
the rendezvous of a numberless gang of cutthroats, robbers and smugglers, who
have made it the most hideously criminal area in all the United States.
of the bloodiest of their many bloody crimes was enacted today at Tres Jacales
Island, in the Rio Grande, in the murder of Captain Frank Jones of Ranger Company
About daylight Captain Jones and six out of ten of the company surrounded
a house on this island known to conceal a gang of smugglers, the exact number
of whom was not known.
From the many different versions of the affair
current here, it appears most plausible that Captain Jones went in advance of
his company several hundred yards, presumably to negotiate for terms of surrender.
As soon as he appeared on the open field the crack of rifles was heard
from the adobe walls and the gallant captain fell dead. The villains kept up a
constant firing through the day, thus forbidding his followers to reach his body,
which was exposed to the fierce rays of the sun.
Corporal Kirchner managed
to make his was back to San Elxarro [San
Elizario] and in response to a telegram from him 100 citizens and officers
Paso were soon on a special train and bound for
the scene of the murder. A body of volunteers from Ysleta also answered for service.
It is believed that many of the desperate characters of that section are
rallying for the relief of their partners in crime, while all the Americans are
armed to the teeth and determined to take the murderers dead or alive.
Jones was 36 years old, the handsomest man in all the Trans-Pecos region, an officer
unsurpassed in his line, bold and fearless as a lion and worshiped by his ranger
He had been married six months. His father’s family live in Boerne,
and he has relatives in Gonzales.
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