Wednesday, April 30, 2014

John B. Jones On Western Wednesday...!

There are so many stories of the Texas Rangers and the men that were part of that organization, it's hard to choose the ones that stood out the most.

Probably the reason that Jon B. Jones might be remembered is the fact that he and his men were the ones to put an end to Sam Bass. Fairly well known to folks living around Georgetown and Round Rock in central Texas, Bass was one of those men made bigger and badder by the legends he spawned instead of how he actually was in real life!

John B. Jones becomes major in Texas Rangers

Born in Fairfield District, South Carolina, in 1834, Jones moved to Texas with his father when he was a small boy. After graduating from Mt. Zion College in South Carolina, he returned to his home in Texas to enlist in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. Talented and ambitious, he eventually rose to the rank of adjutant general. Jones took the defeat of the Confederacy hard, and after the war, he spent some time traveling in Mexico and Brazil trying to establish a colony for other disgruntled former Confederates. After determining that the colonial schemes held little promise for success, he returned to Texas where his military experience won him a major's commission with the Texas Rangers on this day in 1874.

Jones commanded the Frontier Battalion, a force of about 500 men stationed along the Texas frontier from the Red River to the Rio Grande. His mission was two-fold: to keep hostile-border Indians out of Texas and control the outlaws within Texas.

His first Indian fight came less than six weeks later. While patrolling near Jacksboro, Texas, with 28 men, Jones spotted a band of more than 100 Indians that he thought were hostile Kiowa, Commanche, and Apache. Displaying more courage than wisdom, Jones directed his small band to attack the larger force of Indians. In the ensuing battle, two of the Rangers were killed and two wounded, but they were lucky to escape without more serious losses. Chastened, Jones acted with greater care in his subsequent battles with Indians, and his force eventually became highly effective in repulsing invasions.

Four years later, Jones took on one of the most notorious outlaws on the Texas frontier, Sam Bass. For some months, Bass and his gang had been staging train robberies in Texas. Although most of the robberies failed to net much money because Bass and his partners were incompetent amateurs, the people of Texas demanded that Bass be stopped. The Texas government turned to Jones, ordering him to use his Rangers to run Bass down. Seizing on the drama of the chase, the press dubbed the affair the "Bass War."

For four months, Bass led Jones and his Rangers on a wild chase through Texas. In July 1878, Jones learned that Bass was planning to rob the bank in Round Rock, Texas. When Bass did hit the bank, Jones and his Rangers were waiting. Bass was badly wounded in the ensuing gun battle, and he died several days later. Strangely enough, Bass later became a legend, portrayed as good-natured Robin Hood, while Jones has largely been forgotten. Jones continued to command the Frontier Battalion until he died of natural causes in 1881 at the age of 46.

For someone in the Texas Rangers, especially a major, to die of natural causes is really something. All too often, that just didn't happen considering the nature of their jobs. Still, 46 is fairly young for anyone to pass on, even then!

Coffee out on the patio again this morning! Short of the 90's today, so that's a good thing!


Chickenmom said...

Love your stories about The Texas Rangers! Raining here - supposed to get 4inches of it - better than snow!

texasann said...

And the legend of Sam Bass's treasure lives on! Someday we're gonna find it, huh, Bubba?

Good post!

Big Hugs ~

linda m said...

Great story about the Texas Rangers. Yes, 46 is way to young to die of natural causes, even back then. Would love to sit on your patio - it's been raining here non-stop since Saturday afternoon.

HermitJim said...

Hey Phyllis...
I could tell another story every day about the Rangers and never run out! They still play an important part of Texas history!

Thanks for coming over this morning!

Hey Sis...
It sure would be nice to find someone's hidden treasure! Mike and I were going to look for it at one time!

Hey, thanks for coming over today!

Hey Linda M...
I heard that some of you were getting almost non-stop rain! Sorry to hear that!

Thanks for the visit!

Dizzy-Dick said...

Love to hear stories about the Texas Rangers, so feel free to post more.