In 2010 Kensington released the fourth of our of anthologies written by sister filly, Linda Broday, Jodi Thomas, the late DeWanna Pace, and me. Following in the theme of the other anthologies, six in all, the name of this book is Give Me a Texas Ranger and of course sent us all into research mode about the history of the Texas Rangers.
In 2008, Linda and I even went to the Texas Ranger Museum and Hall of Fame in Waco, Texas. This is a picture of the Writing the Ranger exhibit during our research.
Below is the same exhibit 2 years later. I bet you can see the difference. This exhibit, of course, is changed out so I doubt we’re still there along with The Lone Ranger, Lonesome Dove, and Elmer Kelton but needless to say just seeing it there regardless of how long it was on exhibit was one of our milestones.
Needless to say, I love tidbits of history, particularly the legendary Texas Rangers, so it seems fittin’ to share some of the things I’ve learned.
Since 1823, the Texas Rangers have represented the highest ideals of Texas and America to admirers around the world. Individually, they are some of the most colorful heroes in American history. Together, they brought peace to an untamed frontier, and in the process became one of the most famous and respected crime-fighting forces anywhere.
Hitler and the Texas Rangers. The name “Rangers” is synonymous with the Texas Rangers, and never was it more clear than during WWII. On August 19, 1942, three Commando units of the British 2nd Canadian Division landed in France. The purpose was to create an illusion of a major invasion and force Hitler to halt troops bound for the Russian front. However, somewhere along the line the British Commandos became the Texas Rangers. Apparently the confusion came with leaks that a special American combat unit, the legendary U.S. Army Rangers, who were modeled after the successful British Commandos, had invaded. Hitler was rumored to have watched Amerikanische westliche Filme (American westerns), and only knew of the Texas Rangers who were depicted in American movies played in European theaters during the 20’s and 30’s. As a result, the only American “Rangers” known to Hitler were heroic men in white hats, who single-handedly cleaned up entire towns with blazing guns. Ironically, the Texas Rangers did volunteer to go to Europe but were not allowed to do so by our military. For a short period of time, thanks to rumor, the legend of the Texas Rangers offered hope to the residents of occupied France, two years before the Allies successfully landed on the beaches of Normandy.
Texas Ranger uniform. Before the 1950’s there was no official uniform, although some companies tried to administer the coordination of outfits that proved unpopular. Traditionally, Texas Ranger clothing is conservative western attire, specifically with white or tan hats, cowboy boots, white western cut shirt, tie, pants and belt. But there is one requirement. A Ranger must wear an “appropriate” Texas Ranger hat, which is light-colored and shaped in a businessman’s style, commonly called the Rancher or Cattleman. Brims must not exceed 4 inches or be flat with edges rolled up. Hats excessively crushed, rolled, or dipped are not acceptable. The elite lawmen own both a quality straw and a felt hat to be worn as determined by the weather or assignment.
The Texas Rangers and the Alamo. In answer to Col. Travis’ request for assistance in defending the Alamo, a party of Texas Rangers responded. The Gonzales Ranging Company of Mounted Volunteers answered the call, fought, and died alongside the other defenders of the Alamo.
In western historical romances, Texas Rangers make a terrific hero because of the qualities they are known for. I have to admit, I love ‘um too, although my favorites to write are crusty ol’ retired Ranger sidekicks. In my newest contemporary romance, needless to say my hero and heroine have a Texas Ranger connection. “Out of a Texas Night” eBook from Kensington is due out in late summer or early fall. It’s the third in the Kasota Springs Romance series.
Whether it’s television, movies, or books, who is your favorite Texas Ranger?
To one reader who leaves a comment, I will send you the choice of a copy of Give Me a Texas Ranger signed by all four authors or a eBook copy of The Troubled Texan.