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“Texas, by God!” cried notorious killer John Wesley Hardin when he saw a Colt .45 pointed at him on a train in Florida. At the other end of the pistol stood Texas Ranger John B. Armstrong.
Hardin’s arrest assured Armstrong a place in history, but his story is larger, fuller, and even more important—and until now it has never been told.
Serving in the Rangers’ famed Frontier Battalion from 1875 to 1878, Armstrong rode with Captain L. H. McNelly in the capture of King Fisher, was called to Round Rock when Sam Bass was cornered, and helped patrol the region caught in the Taylor-Sutton Feud. His more lasting legacy, though, was as founder of the Armstrong Ranch, an operation that remains active and important to this day. From this family base he helped change ranching techniques and was an important sponsor for bringing the railroads to South Texas. In the 1890s he joined a special Ranger division that supplemented the force’s efforts, especially in pursuit and apprehension of gunmen and cattle rustlers in the region.
As Elmer Kelton notes in his afterword to this book, “Chuck Parsons’ biography is a long-delayed and much-justified tribute to Armstrong’s service to Texas.” Parsons fills in the missing details of a Ranger and rancher’s life, correcting some common misconceptions and adding to the record of a legendary group of lawmen and pioneers.
Despite the significant role they have played in Texas history for nearly four hundred years, the Lipan Apaches remain among the least studied and least understood tribal groups in the West. Considered by Spaniards of the eighteenth century to be the greatest threat to the development of New Spain’s northern frontier, the Lipans were viewed as a similar risk to the interests of nineteenth-century Mexico, Texas, and the United States. Direct attempts to dissolve them as a tribal unit began during the Spanish period and continued with the establishment of the Republic of Texas in 1836. From their homeland in south Texas, Lipan migratory hunter-gatherer bands waged a desperate struggle to maintain their social and cultural traditions amidst numerous Indian and non-Indian enemies. Government officials, meanwhile, perceived them as a potential danger to the settlement and economic development of the Rio Grande frontier. Forced removal from their traditional homelands diminished their ability to defend themselves and, as they attached themselves to the Mescalero Apaches and the Tonkawas, the Lipans faded from written history in 1884.
Thomas Britten has scoured U.S. and Mexican archives in order to piece together the tangled tribal history of these adaptable people, emphasizing the cultural change that coincided with the various migrations and pressures they faced. The result is an interdisciplinary study of the Lipan Apaches that focuses on their history and culture, their relationships with a wide range of Indian and non-Indian peoples, and their responses to the various crises and burdens that seemed to follow them wherever they went.
The South Texas Ranching Empire of Petra Vela and Mifflin Kenedy
Sea of Mud: The Retreat of the Mexican Army after San Jacinto, An Archeological Investigation
This book tells the stories of the vaqueros of the Wild Horse Desert for fourth- through eighth-grade students.
This field guide to the seeds most commonly eaten by northern bobwhites will help hunters identify likely places to find coveys of quail, while landowners and rangeland managers will use it to learn how to conserve and improve bobwhite habitat.