In Shelby County
In 1821, Stephen F. Austin, known as the "Father of Texas,"
made a contract to bring 300 families to the Spanish province, which now is
Texas. There was no regular army to protect them, so Austin called the citizens
together and organized a group to provide the needed protection. Austin first
referred to this group as the Rangers in 1823, for their duties compelled them
to range over the entire country, this giving rise to the service known as the
By 1835, as Texas’ independence came closer, a council created a group of Rangers to protect the frontier from Indians. These men received $1.25 per day and the enlistment was for one year. The Rangers acted to protect the settlements while Sam Houston and his army defeated the troops of Santa Anna in the Battle of San Jacinto on April 21, 1836.
After Texas was admitted to the Union in 1846, the United States and Mexico went to war. The Rangers fought so fiercely in the war that they came to be called "Los Diablos Tejanos," The Texas Devils.
During the Civil War while many Texas were off fighting with the Confederate Army, the frontier was protected by only a small number of Rangers. The Rangers soon became part of the Confederate Army. During this time law enforcement was handled by the organization known as the State Police.
In May 1874, the Legislature appropriated $75,000 to organize six companies of Texas Rangers, 75 to a company. This service was known as the Frontier Battalion. They were given the status of peace officers, whereas before this date the service was a semi-military organization.
The Frontier Battalion was abolished in 1901. As the frontier disappeared, Ranger activities were redirected towards law enforcement among the citizens. The Ranger Service was reorganized under a new law. Each Ranger was considered an officer and was given the right to perform all duties exercised by any other peace officer.
On August 10, 1935, when the Texas Legislature created the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Rangers and the Texas Highway Patrol became members of this agency, with statewide law enforcement jurisdiction. The true modern-day Ranger came into being on September 1, 1935.