THE COLORADO RANGERS

Tracy Garrett

 

 

The Colorado Mounted Rangers / Colorado Rangers ~ It’s not a job. It’s an honor.

 

 

Did you know Texas is not the only state with Rangers?

While doing some unrelated research, I happened upon the fact that Colorado and New Mexico (late 1800s)—and probably some other states—have Rangers in their law enforcement arsenals.

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The Colorado Rangers “trace their roots to the Jefferson Rangers, first organized in 1859 to keep the peace in the unofficial Jefferson Territory during the Pikes Peak Gold Rush. Rangers were often found guarding shipments of gold coming out of the camps.”

In 1861, when Colorado became a territory, the Jefferson Rangers were reorganized as the Colorado Rangers, “serving as Colorado’s only statewide law enforcement through the late 1920’s. The Colorado Rangers were fashioned after the well known Texas Rangers and often served both law enforcement and militia roles in the early days of the Colorado Territory.”In the Civil War Battle of Glorieta Pass, the Colorado Rangers were instrumental in stopping the Confederate advance toward the gold mines, cutting off much needed funding of the war effort.

Rangers have been called upon by Colorado’s Governors to keep the peace during times of emergency, natural disasters, and during civVintageRangerCaptBadge-nobgil unrest, like the labor wars in Colorado’s mining towns. They upheld the law during Prohibition, have helped break up organized crime, and routed out corruption in the government.

Like the Texas Rangers, they protect the Governor of their state. And, like their Texas counterparts, they were “thanked” and disbanded in the late 1920s, only to be reinstated by Governor Teller Ammons, “who thought that the great, western State of Colorado should not let this colorful, historic group of lawmen ride quietly into the sunset and be heard from no more.” They were reorganized as a volunteer group, which is how the Colorado Mounted Rangers function today, serving as an unpaid auxiliary to any agency that requests their assistance.

The Colorado Mounted Rangers / Colorado Rangers have responded and assisted in natural disasters across Colorado and conduct search and rescue efforts, especially in the Southwestern part of the State.

A FUN FACT
In 1921, the Colorado Rangers adopted Harley Davidson motorcycles as their new “mount.”

ZMP CO RANGER

 

“Colorado Ranger Sergeant Zebulon Montgomery “Monty” Pike in Trinidad, Colorado, with his Harley Davidson motorcycle equipped with a sidecar, circa 1923. Note the extended wheel on the sidecar to fit in wagon ruts of the day. Sergeant Pike is a descendant of explorer Zebulon M. Pike, credited with discovering Pikes Peak. Photo courtesy of Grandson Brian Pike.”

 

 

 

 

[Source: the website history of the Colorado Mounted Rangers/Colorado Rangers by retired Ranger Carlton “Doc” McClure, official Historian and author of History of the Colorado Mounted Rangers and Colorado Rangers. http://www.coloradoranger.org/index.php/history].

 

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

24 Comments

  1. Love this! I had no idea….

  2. I didn’t either, Sheri. I love finding little tidbits like this.

  3. Interesting article, Tracy! Thank you!

  4. Good morning, Claudia! Thanks for dropping in.

  5. Loved this post, Tracy. I knew there was a reason Colorado was my second favorite state. And all this time I just assumed it was the mountains. Ha!

    I loved the Harley sidecar with the extended wheel to fit the wagon ruts. If you don’t have a horse, I guess the Harley would be the next best thing. 🙂

  6. I love the idea of Rangers on Harleys, Karen. 🙂 Thanks for visiting!

  7. I drive by the Harley Davidson factory every time I go to visit my F-I-L in Brookfield, WI. I want to see the museum someday soon.

    Thanks for sharing Tracy!

  8. Laurie, my dh has been through that museum. Says it’s “cool!” 😀

  9. Wow, Tracy. I had no idea these guys existed. Their history does seem to parallel the Texas Rangers’, doesn’t it?

    Can you imagine becoming a volunteer lawman? Yikes!

    Thanks for a fun and informative post! 🙂

  10. Very interesting post, Tracy! I learned something new about the greenies of Colorado.

    –Kirsten

  11. I think they had a unit “marching” in the Pike’s Peak or Bust Parade back in the 1980’s. I was not familiar with the history of the area at the time so didn’t realize their significance. It makes sense that western states would have established law enforcement agencies like the Rangers. I am surprised more states didn’t have them and keep them operational. Thanks for the information and interesting post.

  12. Kathleen, a volunteer lawman is just a bit terrifying, but these guys actually are lawmen who now volunteer.

    Kirsten–glad I could help. lol

  13. Patricia B, I read that New Mexico did have Rangers, as well, but don’t know if they’re still in existence. Thanks for dropping by!

  14. Thank you for sharing this great history, Tracy!

  15. You’re welcome, Britney!

  16. Tracy, this is really interesting. I did not know about the Rangers in other states! Fascinating stuff. And I surely did not know that Zebulon Pike was one!
    Cheryl

  17. The explorer’s descendant, Zebulon “Monty” Pike, was a Ranger.

  18. Thank you, Tracy, for a great post!

  19. You’re welcome, Melanie! Thanks for dropping in.

  20. Loved tis! I had no idea but I will be looking for stories about them!

  21. Seems like I have heard this before, but thank you for all the information!

  22. I used to live in Colorado so I knew about the rangers. What I was surprised to learn was that the hat worn in the 1923 picture is the same hat they continue to wear today.

  23. Connie J, I imagine you’ll be seeing some.

    Nancy, you’re welcome!

  24. Carolyn, that’s great to know. Thanks!

Comments are closed.