John Swanson Yarbrough Archives Law Enforcement Records
Last Updated on Monday, 18-Jul-2005 19:23:11 MDT
Maverick Co., TX - 27 Dec 1917 - John Swanson Yarbrough Special Ranger Force (Texas Ranger)
Enlistmen, Oath of Service, and Description
Company Special Ranger Force, Station Judio Ranch
The State of Texas,
County of Maverick
I, J. S. Yarbrough, born in McMullen County in the State of Texas, age 50
years and 9 months, and by occupation a cowboy do hereby acknowledge to have
voluntarily enlisted this 27 day of December, 1917, as a prive in the special
Ranger Force of this State, for the period of two years, unless sooner
dischared by proper authority. (Note: Next part of text is crossed out. And
I do also agree to accept from the State of Texas such bounty pay subsistence
and other expenses as are or may be established by law.) And I do solomnly
swear that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the
duties incumbent on me as an officer of the Ranger Force according to the
best of my skill and ability, agreeably to the Constitution and laws of the
United States and of this State, and I do further solemnly swear that since
the adoption of the Constitiution of this State, I being a citizen of this
State, have not fought a duel with deadly weapons, nor have I acted as second
in carrying a challenge, or aided, advised or assisted any person thus
offending. And I furthermore swear that I have not, directly nor indirectly,
paid, offered or promised to pay, contributed nor promised to contribute, any
money or valuable thing, or promised any public office employment, to secure
my appointment. So help me God.
J. S. Yarbrough
Subscribed and sworn to before me, this 27 day of December A. D. 1917
J. L. Matthews
I certify that J. S. Yarbrough, the above named man, has been carefully
examined by me previous to his enlistment, and to the best of my knowledge
and belief he is physically able, competent to and will faithfully perform
the duties incumbent on him in accordance with law. This man is 50 years 9
months of age. Height 5 feet 10 inches. Complexion Red Eyes brown Hair Red
Born at Near Tilden County of McMullen State of Texas Occupation Cowboy
Married Previous Service None.
Remarks: Post office Address? Asherton, Texas
Captain Co. Special Ranger Force.
Document recieved from Judy Mount
Transcribed by Renee Smelley
Note: This is John Swanson Yarbrough born 1866 son of Lorenzo Dow and Nancy White Yarbrough.
Some Texas Ranger History 1917 - 1919
On several occasions, Mexican bandits raided into Texas. And at least twice, Rangers returned the favor, making punitive strikes into Mexico. In one battle in 1917, as many as 20 Mexicans may have been killed by Rangers who crossed to the south side of the river.
During this time, the Ranger force was as large as it ever was in its history, and historians who have studied the period agree there was some dilution of quality. After one Ranger raid into Mexico, an entire company was dismissed.
Texas was growing up--the Rangers were part of the state's civil authority, and had to learn to do their work within the framework of the law, no matter the necessary liberties some of their predecessors had taken in earlier years.
Still, the Rangers were not without backing in their efforts to keep the hostilities in Mexico from washing across the river into Texas. Governor O. B. Colquitt wrote Ranger Captain John R. Hughes: "I instruct you and your men to keep them (Mexican raiders) off of Texas territory if possible, and if they invade the State let them understand they do so at the risk of their lives."
Bootleggers and Spies
In 1918, the national prohibition law was passed. It gave the Rangers, along with federal officers, another problem to cope with on the border. Many a burro train of bootleg liquor from Mexico was intercepted, and shoot-outs between Rangers and smugglers were not infrequent.
During the first World War, the already large regular Ranger force was supplemented with another 400 Special Rangers appointed by the governor. After the war, on the heels of a Legislative inquiry into the Rangers' operations on the border, the Legislature in 1919 reduced the size of the force to four companies of 15 men, a sergeant and a captain. Additionally, the lawmakers authorized a headquarters company of six men in Austin under a Senior Ranger Captain.
Texas was in a state of transition, and so were the Rangers. Rangers still rode the river on horseback, but they also used cars. The automobile was taking over as the principal mode of transportation in Texas and the rest of the country. And horseless carriages needed oil, not oats. The increased national demand for petroleum fueled a new law enforcement problem for the Rangers.
In addition to their traditional duties, along with assisting in tick eradication efforts, handling labor difficulties and the enforcement of prohibition, the Rangers had to deal with the lawlessness that came with the oil boom in Texas. One of the first places that happened was in a community that years before had been named in their honor.