Badges of the Texas Rangers

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The Texas Rangers, one of the most well-known law enforcement agencies in the world, has an on-again off-again history. First established in 1823 by Stephen F. Austin to “act as rangers for the common defense, the Rangers were disbanded and reformed many times over the years, mostly at the whim of whatever pWarrantolitician was in power at the time. It wasn’t until 1987 that the Texas Legislature enacted a statute that made the Texas Rangers a permanent entity of the Department of Public Service.

Through those years, the Rangers have worn several different styles of badges. Contrary to legend, they didn’t start out with stars on their vests. The first Rangers carried a Warrant of Authority, signed by The Adjutant General, that granted them the right to enforce the law when and where they saw fit.

1889It wasn’t until 1889 that the first Texas Ranger badge was created. Made from a silver Mexican coin, this unofficial badge was made from a Mexican silver dollar by the Rangers riding the southern and western parts of the state. The five-pointed star design is thought to have come from the unofficial seal of the state first used in 1835.

It changed a bit over the years:

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1910-25_3  1910-25_2 

An official, state-issued badge didn’t come along until 1935.

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And even that cha1957nged again in 1957:

 

 

 

 

In 1962, in a decision that the Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety called “going back to the tradition steeped Mexican silver badge worn by their predecessors during frontier days,” the department adopted their permanent badge.

1962-2010The “wagon-wheel” design is a five-pointed star, symbolizing the “Lone Star” of Texas, supported by an engraved wheel. The oak leaves on the left side represent strength and the olive branch on the right signifies peace, just as they appear on the Texas State Seal. The center of the star is reserved for the Company designation or the rank of Sergeant or Captain or Senior Captain.

This is the star you will see on the uniform of every Texas Ranger, along with their boots, revolvers and signature white cowboy hats.

 

If you want to know more about the Texas Rangers, visit their website: www.texasranger.org. There’s some fascinating stuff on that site.

Tracy Garrett
History, Texas, cowboys, horses—these are a few of Tracy’s favorite things. Check out her westerns at www.TracyGarrett.com.

23 Comments

  1. Thanks for this wonderful link, Tracy. I love learning new things about things I already thought I knew LOL. (Which isn’t much.)

    Hugs…

  2. Hi Tracy, I did some research on the Rangers for a book coming out next October. They’ve got a fascinating history. It’s not nearly as straightforward as I thought. Thanks for the look at the badges!

  3. There has always been a romantic mystique about these rangers. Thanks for showing us a tidbit of their history.

  4. I love learning things about the Texas Rangers.. They are always what I considered to be real Lawmen.. They are like are RCMP’s, they always got there man and the gal too!!! They lent romance and intrigue to Texas..

  5. Very interesting post! This was very fascinating and I love all the badges you posted! I love reading stories about Texas rangers.

  6. Tracy, I don’t know where you found all these pictures of Ranger badges but I love it. Our next anthology features the Warrants of Authority in two of the stories. Few people know about this document. But it did exist. Thanks for drawing attention to the Texas Rangers. It’s an interesting subject. I love visiting the Texas Ranger museum in Waco. So much history there.

  7. Thanks, Tracy! I’ve just added the Texas Ranger
    Museum to my Christmas shopping sites for this next year! Honey loves anything western and the museum
    looks to be a great shopping opportunity!

    Pat Cochran

  8. Hi Tracy,
    Who doesn’t love a Texas Ranger? Great looking badges!!

  9. Tracy,

    This post was amazing. Thank you for sharing it with us. I just checked out the link to the rangers and I love it

    I hope you have a wonderful day.

    Walk in harmony
    Melinda

  10. Greetings everyone, sorry I’m late! 🙂

    Tanya, Karen and Quilt Lady: I have a real soft spot in my heart for the Rangers, especially those who spent months alone on their horse, righting wrongs where they found them.

  11. Vicki, I’m anxious to read your book. October, huh?

    Kathleen, that’s a perfect analogy. 🙂

  12. Linda, the badges came from the museum site and a few books I have. I have a Warrant of Authority in my first book, Touch of Texas, since it’s set before they started using a real badge. Can’t wait for your next anthology!

  13. Pat, you are going to love that museum. There’s a bit of everything and an amazing assortment of guns through history. And the gift shop is wonderful.

  14. Melinda, enjoy wandering through the museum site. There’s always something new added, especially in the Rangers Today section.

  15. Oh no, now you’ve done it to me, Tracy. It’s going through my head and I can’t get rid of it!
    “…In the eyes of the ranger, the unsuspecting stranger had better know the truth of wrong from right…Cause the eyes of the ranger are upon you. Any wrong you do he’s gonna see. When you’re in Texas look behind you. Cause that’s where the ranger’s gonna be…”
    🙂
    Thanks for a great blog.

  16. Thanks for sharing the badges!

  17. Can’t pin that on me, Elizabeth. I don’t know that song. I like it, though. 🙂

  18. You’re welcome, Estella.

  19. The song is the theme from the old Walker Texas Ranger TV show, with Chuck Norris, Tracy. Congratulations on not knowing it.
    🙂

  20. Thanks for the interesting post. I love the Texas Rangers and loved Chuck Norris as Walker. I shall be sure to check out the link.

  21. Avatar

    Thanks for the interesting history of the Ranger’s badge.
    Thanks for the link to the Texas Ranger site. It is interesting. Wish we had had time to visit it when we were in Texas last year. So little time and SO much to see!

  22. lol Elizabeth. Not being much of a tv fan, I can say I know WTR – just didn’t pay much attention to the song, I guess.

  23. Connie, be prepared to spend quite a bit of time. There’s some fascinating stuff on that site.

    Patricia, I lived in Texas for more than 25 years and I still didn’t see everything I wanted to see.

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