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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Texas Ranger Jack Hays

I was in downtown Glendale, AZ, this past week escorting my wife, stepdaughter, granddaughter, and two great-grandkids while they looked around in the antique shops. After a great Italian lunch at the Piazza al Forno, they headed for the shops and I headed for the library. Before I even reached the inside, I ran across the only Western I could find in the pushcarts full of used books for sale. It is a non-fiction book (it appeared to me having an index and bibliography) by Curtis Bishop, entitled The First Texas Ranger Jack Hays, published by Julian Messner, NYC, in a 1962 Second Printing.

Jack Hays was a small, wiry, Tennesseean, who came west to Texas to join the fight with Sam Houston, his friend, against the Mexicans at San Jacinto at the age of nineteen. What followed was a life of fighting the Mexican guerrillas, banditos, the Mex Army, and the Comanche Indians. He arrived too late for the Battle of San Jacinto, but Texas President Houston sent him on a foray to the Rio Grande to check out the fortifications of Laredo expecting another invasion by Santa Anna. After a skirmish with some Mexican cavalry at the town of Chacon, Jack was assigned to check out Laredo, which he dutifully did and reported back to his Captain, "Deaf" Smith. Hays was promoted to Sergeant. Life became pretty dull for the troops and Jack was made a junior surveyor to earn some money while he was biding his time for an invasion by the Mexicans.

Along came the Comanches raiding the small towns and being a thorn in the side of the new Republic, Jack was given free reign to round up some volunteers to push back against the Indians, and he was careful about who he chose. They must be able to handle a mustang horse and shoot a five-shot revolver at the same time. The revolver made by Sam Colt had recently been received and Jack showed the volunteers how to use it to best advantage. This was the beginning of the Texas Rangers and they beat the Comanches at their own game with the new guns. Sam Walker and Bigfoot Wallace were among his volunteers.

Life was good to him, being made a Captain of the Rangers, and they did a stint with the U. S. Army after Texas joined the Union. The Rangers went into Mexico in 1846 in that fracas, and afterward he led the Rangers for many years eventually making Colonel.

He met a young Susan Calvert of Seguin, Texas, and was enamoured of her, eventually marrying her  and settling down. Hays was born Jan 28, 1817 and died April 21, 1883. The author, Curtis Bishop, died in 1967 and is buried in Austin, TX. At the time this book came out, Bishop had written over 30 books with a variety of subjects: sports, westerns, history and biogaphy, it says in "About the Author".

I found this book to be interesting, fast-paced, exciting, and entertaining. I recommend it if you haven't already read it.

6 comments:

  1. Sounds entertaining, did you finish it before the wife and her group were back from shopping?

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    1. Had to finish it at home. I'm a slow reader.

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  2. I've read a bit about Jack Hayes. Been a while.

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    1. He had natural leadership ability. A smart feller.

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  3. I pretty rarely find westerns for sale at any of our libraries here. The main collections are typically large print, which I'm not ready for yet.

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    1. I think some librarians take them after they've been read so many times. The library in Sun City West is having a sale that includes a Western Collection that some fellow donated. I doubt that I'll make it, though. I have too many waiting to be read.

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