Sunday, February 22, 2009

Captain Jack-Texas Ranger

"Captain Jack" of the Texas Rangers.
Photo: bronze statue of Captain Jack C. Hays on NW corner of the courthouse square in San Marcos, Texas. (Photo by James Yeary)
Young Flacco, the Lippan Apache chief who rode as Hays's closest comrade on his early forays against the Comanche, described him best: "Me and Red Wing aren't afraid to go to hell together. Captain Jack, he's too mucho bravo. He's not afraid to go to hell all by himself."
In the three-way struggle between Anglo colonists, Hispanic settlers, and Indians, Hays proved to be an able leader and fearless fighter (called "Devil Jack"), who gained the respect of the rank and file of the Texas Rangers. Yet his stature—five feet nine inches—his fair complexion, and his mild manners did not match the looks and actions of the legendary ranger in later popular culture.
From 1840 through 1846 Hays, at first a captain, then a major, and his ranger companies, sometimes with Mexican volunteers and such Indian allies as Lipan chief engaged the Comanches and Mexican troops in small skirmishes and major battles. Important military actions took place at Plum Creek, Canon de Ugalde, Bandera Pass, Painted Rock, Enchanted Rock (where Hays made a lone stand that enhanced his reputation as an Indian fighter), Salado (against Mexican soldiers under Adrian Woll), and Walker’s Creek. In these battles Hays and his rangers were usually outnumbered, and their effective use of revolvers revolutionized warfare against Texas Indians.
The Texas Rangers gained a national reputation in the Mexican War. Hays’s rangers rode into Mexico, and out of Mexico came a mounted irregular body of rangers celebrated in song and story throughout the United States. When the First Regiment, Texas Mounted under Colonel Hays, served with the army of Gen. Zachary Taylor, the rangers marched, scouted, and took part in the attack on Monterrey in 1846. The next year Hays formed another regiment that participated in keeping communication and supply lines open between Veracruz and Mexico City for the troops. In doing so, Hays’s rangers fought Mexican guerrillas near Veracruz and at such places as Teotihuacan and Sequalteplan. Controversy between the rangers and the Mexican people still lingers, for they robbed and killed each other off the battlefields.
John Coffee “Jack” Hays died near Piedmont, California on April 25, 1883. Hays County in South Central Texas, was created in 1848 and named in his honor.
Celia Yeary
All My Hopes and Dreams--a Texas Historical romance novel.


Mary Ricksen said...

The Texas Rangers are responsible for taking the law to heart in a violent, and epic era.
I love a post that teaches me somethig.

Keena Kincaid said...

Cool post, Celia. The Texas Rangers are a vague legend in my mind, although I think of Walker: Texas Ranger when I hear about them. :-)

Lauri said...

Wonderful post, Celia. I'm putting the finishing touches on a story with a hero who is a Texas Ranger. Gotta love them!

Tanya Hanson said...

Hi Celia,
I always love to learn more and more about Texas. It's a place of such larger-than-life myth.

Thanks for a great post.


Anne Carrole said...

Great post. I love tales of Texas Rangers because these guys wrote their own laws and meted out their own justice and it really gives you a sense of what they were up against. One of my favorite references is James Gillett's book "Six Years with the Texas Rangers"--1875-1881. Good stuff.

Maggie Toussaint said...

great pic and even greater history moment. Nice job, Celia!

Cate Masters said...

Great post, Celia! I wonder if Chuck Norris based his character in Walker Texas Ranger on Devil Jack? Great info.

LK Hunsaker said...

First I was thinking of Captain Jack Sparrow and then of Walker, like Keena. I'm left wondering if Hollywood used the name Captain Jack from this history. I know J.Depp is a big reader and pulls stuff he reads into his characters.

Interesting entry, Celia! And nice photo :-)

Paty Jager said...

Great info, Celia!

Loretta said...

History states the Texas Rangers were tough and fearless men. Capt. Jack certainly proves history right. Great post, Celia.

Linda LaRoque said...

Interesting post, Celia. I love learning historical facts.

Anonymous said...

Although the Rangers have a good record, it’s just difficult to take the Ragers seriously. Are they going to tank again once the summer heats up? Time will tell & I hope that you won’t stop supporting your team!!! Just read about them here:

Anonymous said...

I think you guys are missing the point of this little article. Jack Hays was not a law enforcement officer. The primary mission of the Texas rangers of his era was to kill the enemies of Texas, not arrest them. He was nothing like Chuck Norris' character or any of the modern rangers in the way he performed his duties. Hays did help start the legend of the Texas rangers and deserves a lot of praise for his efforts.