Republic of Texas, 1836-1845

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With the end of the Texas Revolution in April 1836, one of the first priorities for the Republic of Texas was to defend its frontier.

Potential enemies of the Republic of Texas included Mexican bandits and hostile bands of Comanche and other Native American tribes. Friendly tribes of Tonkawas and Lipan Apaches often served as scouts and spies, and even formed entire companies of Texas Rangers.

President Sam Houston advocated fairness and alliance with the Native Americans. Houston’s successor to the presidency, Mirabeau B. Lamar, favored expulsion of Native Americans from Texas.

The Republic of Texas documents in this case reflect the following realities in the lives of Texas Rangers:

  • Early Ranger companies were led by officers chosen by the enlisted men.
  • Those same enlisted men would often defend an officer unfairly treated by superiors.
  • The pay was irregular. Texas Rangers had to provide their own horses and weapons.
  • Rangers requested funds from the Texas Congress to provide relief for claims of such expenses.
  • Life on the frontier was hard.

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Items in this exhibit

The links shown below to the items displayed in this exhibit will open in PDF format in a separate window or tab. The documents are shown here in their entirety so some of the files contain multiple pages.

Letter from Commander-in-Chief Sam Houston to Colonel N. Robbins, August 2, 1836. Andrew Jackson Houston Collection, 2-22/153.

This letter authorized Colonel N. Robbins to raise a company of 50 men to act as Texas Rangers between the Navasota and Sabine Rivers.

Letter from Commander-in-Chief Sam Houston to Captain of the Cherokee Rangers, September 23, 1836. Andrew Jackson Houston Collection, 2-22/154.

Sam Houston authorized a company of Cherokee Rangers to range between the Sabine River and Hall’s Trading House, “to prevent the wild Indians from stealing horses and murdering people on the frontier.” He specifically named the Wacos, Tehuacanas, Caddos, Comanches, and Pawnees as “in the habit of stealing horses….They are bad people and must be well watched.”

Certification by Adjutant and Inspector General Hugh McLeod, November 11, 1840. Adjutant General Department, Ranger Records, Republic Ranger Quartermaster records, 401-1152.

This document detailed the discovery of remains belonging to Border Guards who were attacked by Native Americans.  Skeletons of oxen and fragments of clothing told the tale of the attack.

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Petition from Captain Daniel Monroe’s Ranger Company, October 6, 1837. Andrew Jackson Houston Collection, 2-22/165.

These 17 men petitioned for the reinstatement of Captain Daniel Monroe.  According to the men, they regarded him as “one of the most vigilant officers belonging to the Ranging Corps.”  In the document, they recounted the scarcity of food and supplies.  According to the men, they never “drew one particle of food or clothing, only about 2000 lbs. of pork and small portions of corn for the soldiers of four families, except what Capt. Monroe furnished at his own expense (and paid cash for) and what we gathered from the prairies and woods with our rifles...”

Hays, John C.—Company of Spies for Protection of Bexar County, Muster roll, September 1-October 1, 1841. Adjutant General Department, Military rolls, Republic of Texas Militia Military Rolls, 401-718.

Early Rangers went by different names from minute men to rangers to spies.  Their duties, however, were the same: to protect and defend the frontier.

Engraving of John C. Hays as an older man, undated. Prints and Photographs Collection, 1-102/681.

Joint Resolution by the Senate and House of Representatives of the Republic of Texas in Congress, for relief of Capt. John C. Hays, February 3, 1845. Adjutant General Department, Ranger Records, Republic Ranger Quartermaster records, 401-1152.

At his own expense, Hays paid for the repairing of arms and shoeing of horses for his company. This resolution allowed for the reimbursement by the Republic of Texas for the amount of $405.50.

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Page last modified: May 20, 2016