Texas Ranger — Capt. Arrington


Since I’ve written several anthologies and short stories set in the Texas Panhandle and have lived here all of my life, one of the first things I learned was the names and information about the Texas Rangers that settled this part of Texas.

Of course, I’d read a lot about Capt. Arrington.  Like him, so many of them were stationed at the newly established FortElliot.  I love one of the quotes from the Arrington Ranch House Lodge brochure where most of this information came from.  The quote is so fitting … “The Texas Rangers tamed the expanding frontier. Changing the climate of anarchy – where every man looked to himself for protection and to his six-gun as judge and jury – to one that was still violent, but over which laws of organized society could preside.”  The brochure further goes on to state that Captain Arrington was stationed in this area from 1875-1882, at a time of transition in the Texas Panhandle; the constant westward flow of homesteaders put increasing pressure on the Rangers and military to open land for settlement.

Interaction among Indians, outlaws and settlers was tense and often bloody.  The Indians wanted to keep what had been theirs, the outlaws wanted to take what belonged to the Indians, and the settlers wanted peace and quiet so they could raise families, livestock and crops on the High Plains.

I’ve written about Mobeetie, the mother city of the Panhandle, many times, but I didn’t know until recently that Capt. Arrington was a Sheriff for Mobeetie, a wild and woolly town with a reputation for fast gunplay, sporting women, and quick-dealing gamblers.  Capt. Arrington, experienced at handling hostile Indians and outlaws, was now dealing with card sharks, cattle rustlers and ladies of the evening.

During his tenure as sheriff, the Captain married Sallie Burnette.  Their family would grow to include three sons and six daughters.  The first two children were born in the Old Mobeetie Jail, where part of the two-story structure was used as a resident.mobeetietexas,strapironjail

The Arrington Ranch Headquarters is located south of Canadian adjacent to the Washita River.  The two-story wood frame prairie home was ordered from the Van Tein catalogue in 1919.  Materials were delivered by railroad and then moved in pieces by wagon the last ten miles.  The building site was well chosen; sweeping vistas offer unobstructed sunrises and sunsets across the grassland.

Captain Arrington was a self-made man of his era – harsh but fair. He was rarely seen without his sidearm, fully aware of the long list of enemies made during his tenure as a lawman.  If the Captain was not wearing a six-shooter, he had one within easy reach.

Upon his death in 1923 at the age 79, friends donated thousands of dollars for a gravesite monument.  It reads, in part “…a fearless officer to who the frontier of Texas owes a a debt of gratitude.  Both Mr. and Mrs. G. W. Arrington are buried in Mobeetie.  I am so disappointed that I’m unable to find my personal picture of the Mobeetie Jail, but did find one of the original iron jail cells.  I also have personal pictures of the beautiful headstone for Capt. Arrington and his wife in the Mobeetie cemetery,  but I can’t locate them either.  I, along with most of my writer friends, slip off to Ol’ Mobeetie and the cemetery as much as we can.  There’s just something special about the area.

The Arrington Ranch House Lodge is owned by 5th generation Arrington’s and I thank Mike and Debbie Arrington for keeping Texas Ranger, Captain George Washington Arrington’s name alive and well in the panhandle of Texas.

If you’re ever in the Texas Panhandle, I promise to be your special guide to Mobeetie.


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A native Texan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Phyliss Miranda still believes in the Code of the Old West and loves to share her love for antiques, the lost art of quilting, and the Wild West.

Visit her at phylissmiranda.com

13 thoughts on “Texas Ranger — Capt. Arrington”

  1. I enjoyed this post Phyliss. I lived in the Panhandle at Texhoma, but was young and didn’t know any of this information until finding Petticoats and Pistols. I have learned so much here. Wish I could visit there and let you be my personal guide. GOD bless. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot0com

  2. Phyliss, I just love it when you share Panhandle history. In fact, that’s one of the things I’ve always enjoyed about your stories. You have a wonderful knack for making the past come alive. 🙂

    Every time I see a picture of those old jail cells, I wonder how many outlaws converted to choirboys after spending a little time in one. Can you just imagine what that must have been like?


  3. There is a lot of Texas I would love to see, including the panhandle. I live near Dallas and have seen only a few different areas of Texas.

  4. Morning, everyone, I’ve got a doc appt. (yuck) and can hardly wait to get back home to answer each of your comments. I love the Panhandle and our history. Hugs to all, Phyliss

  5. Phyliss, what an interesting blog! I didn’t know that Arrington was sheriff of Mobeetie at one time either. He must’ve been quite a man. I’d love to have seen him. He represents the gritty toughness, the fairness, the need for justice that I try to embody in the heroes I put in my stories. I agree with you. There’s a haunting beauty about Mobeetie. I’d love to go back again sometime. Had a great time with you there. We’ll have to do it again.

    Hope you get the results you want at the doc today! It’ll make it worth it getting out in the snow.

  6. That jail cell does not look very inviting. I just finished a book about the Vietnam War and it looked very similar to the bamboo cells they put our service men in, then hung them in trees. Sorry for putting a damper on this. My mind keeps going back to that book. It was pretty powerful. Anyway, I love history and especially the Texas Rangers. When you find those pictures, let us see them. I am curious, now, about what this Arrington and his wife look like.

  7. Thank you for another bit of Texas history. Most interesting, as usual. Every place has special tidbits like this, but so often they remain unpublicized and not well known. Keep spreading the news. I enjoy your posts.

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