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Our dear friend and colleague Gerald Raun passed away March 25, 2009 in Alpine, Texas. He will be greatly missed. Services are to be announced later. Gerald Raun was born July 14, 1932 in Maryville, Missouri. After living in Lincoln, Nebraska, San Francisco, California and Tulsa, Oklahoma his family moved to Odem, Texas, where he graduated from high school in 1949.

Gerald enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin in 1956 and received an M.S. in Zoology in 1958 and a Ph.D. in Zoology in 1961. His thesis was an ecological study of the terrestrial and aquatic vertebrates of Palmetto State Park, a moist, relict area in Central Texas. He was awarded a Welder Wildlife Foundation Fellowship and spent three years at the Welder Wildlife Refuge near Sinton, Texas, where he completed the fieldwork for his dissertation, a study of the population dynamics of the wood rat, Neotoma microus.

Gerald was appointed Curator of Zoology at the Texas Memorial Museum in Austin, in 1960, where he served until accepting an appointment as Assistant Professor of Biology at North Texas University in Denton in 1967. He was promoted to Associate Professor, and in 1970, moved to Angelo State University in San Angelo as Professor and Head of the Department of Biology. He remained at Angelo State until 1978 when he resigned and entered private business.

He became involved in advertising, including positions with the San Angelo Standard Times and the Thrifty Nickel. He became publisher of the Devil's River News in Sonora, Texas and in 1989 moved to Alpine as publisher of the Alpine Avalanche. He retired in 1993 and returned to research interests including Trans-Pecos cacti and the history of the Big Bend, particularly as affected by the Mexican Revolution 1910-1920.

Gerald served for almost ten years as Editor of the Texas Journal of Science and was a Fellow and Honorary Life Member of the Texas Academy of Science. He held offices as Secretary, Vice President, and President of the Texas Herpetological Society. He was a member of the Board of Scientists, Chihuahuan Desert Research Institute, the Advisory Council of the Center For Big Bend Studies, and also served on the Center's Editorial Advisory Board. He was an adjunct Professor of Biology at Sul Ross State University and served on the Alpine City Council.

He authored two books, one book chapter, several monographs and over 50 scientific articles dealing with amphibians, reptiles and mammals of Texas, and more recently on cacti. He has also authored several historical articles, which have been published in the Journal of Big Bend Studies. In 1997, Raun completed an index for the Journal, and most recently he completed another index for the publication (volumes nine through nineteen) to be published later this year.

Condensed and edited from "Spotlight on Gerald and Dian Raun," in La Vista de la Frontera Newsletter of the Center for Big Bend Studies, Summer 1997, Sul Ross State University.

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On Sunday, March 8, 2009, 09:34 PM, Monty Waters wrote:

Thank you for posting the photo of Jerry Gray's Ranger Company. It has been reproduced many times in books, but not on the internet.

The list below is from multiple sources. The first name is as it appears in the Adjutant Generals records of Ranger enlistments (online). The names in brackets are from other published sources. This picture is usually dated September 1918. If this picture is the entire company, it was taken in early October: specifically after the departure of Frank Patterson (October 1) and before the enlistment of Lee Trimble (October 4).

Unless otherwise indicated, all men hold the rank of private. From left to right:

W.A. Miles [Arthur]*
Captain Jerry Gray
C.H. Hagler [Charles]*
DeWitt T. Barnett
William M. Murdock [Jack]
Sam H. Neill [Samuel Houston]
A.G. Beard [Alexander Glenn]
Mark L. Langford [Marcus Lafayette]
Frank W. Hillboldt [also spelled Hillbolt or Heilbolt]
D.W. Cox
Harold A. King
Nathan N. Fuller
Frank C. Crittenden
Sergeant A.H. Woelber [Albert Henry]
S. F. Schurman Buffalo Bill

Cecilia Thompson's caption (in History of Marfa and Presidio County) says that this company;replaced the Captain Fox Company that was busted; for taking part in the invasion of Pilares Mexico. This incident occurred January 28, 1918 when several local ranchmen, rangers, and mounted cavalrymen descended on the small settlement of Porvenir, Texas. Fifteen residents were killed under highly suspicious circumstances. The whole story is well told in Little Known History of the Texas Big Bend. Eight Texas Rangers were identified as participants. Three resigned in the ensuing five-month investigation. Five others were fired in June, when Company B was disbanded. Captain Fox resigned in protest. Historian Walter Prescott Webb erroneously claimed the entire company was dismissed.

Seven Company B Rangers were cleared of involvement and transferred to the new command of Captain Gray. Three resigned following the transfer, but four are in this picture (Neill, Beard, Fuller and Woelber). These Company B survivors formed the nucleus of the newly formed Company D. Most of the other men in this picture were recruited in May or later (marked with an asterisk: *). The other veterans are: Cox (served '09-'11, reenlisted 12-22-17); Captain Gray; and Schurman (enlisted 12/14/17).

When this company was formed in June it was Company D;, but by October it changed to Company B;. This picture is usually labled Co. B, but if it really was taken in September it might properly be called Co. "D".

The attrition of the Co. B veterans recruited by Fox suggests they and Gray didn't get along. When the force needed to be downsized in March 1919 Gray selected Beard and Woelber to be (honorably) discharged. Gray liked Fuller, but his acrimonious departure is described in a previous post. The oldest veteran (in more ways than one), Sam Neill, who was described by Gray as "A good man for his age", played a heroic role defending his family during the Brite Ranch raid, Christmas 1917, but was finally dismissed on account of old age on April 15, 1920. He was 62.

Thanks Monty very much for sharing your research. Many astounding updates coming here on the Porvenir massacre soon. Much newly found ballistic evidence found at the massacre site strongly indicates that the Porvenir victims were killed by a U.S. Army firing squad. This does not rule out Ranger participation in the murders. Gj

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Kelly Pruitt died in Presidio last Sunday. For more click below. Gj ... ront04.txt

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Lots of us have probably heard about Yale's infamous Skull and Bones Society. Many important people are said to have been members of Skull and Bones including several former U. S. Presidents. The society is supposed to have a bizarre collection of skulls used in strange rituals. Rumors have long circulated that Skull and Bones possess the skulls of Pancho Villa and Geronimo among others. On the 100th anniversary of his grandfather's death, Harlyn Geronimo, great-grandson of the famed Apache leader filed a federal lawsuit to recover the skull.

For more check out:


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Dan Carlin is a 41-year-old Los Angeles radio talk show host and self described "amateur historian" who offers fresh and well thought out insight into how history is always a factor in today's world. He uses the new media of pod casting to bring his insightful views to the world with his excellent series titled, "Hardcore History". The series is available free of charge at: or from

No you don't have to have an ipod or a Mac to hear "Hardcore History" just go to the website and listen. What does this have to do with Texas History? Download Dan's "Apache Tears" podcast and find out.


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Six years ago, it became illegal for British citizens to legally own a handgun. In the U.S. our Second Amendment rights are now in great peril. Take a few minutes to view this video and see what is happening in England today. Gj

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Hi: Was doing some research on Tom Gardner and found your comments. There is quite a bit of detail about Tom in DeArment's great book Alias Frank Canton, including a picture on page 87. You can search the book using google's book search option.I have an old note by another researcher saying Tom Gardner was buried on Toyah Creek near Pecos City, but don't know what location that may be. Any ideas?

Thanks for the info about DeArment book. Don't know where Gardner is buried but am doing some searching and will let you know if I find anything. If you want to know where Gardner is buried, search cemetery records and see if you can find an obituary.

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After viewing your page about your various titles I thought I would ask you a question which no one else seems to know the answer, for sure.You are no doubt familiar with the story of John R. Hughes intending to marry a young woman . . . but she died of some disease prior to the wedding. Because of this loss, Hughes never married. There are at least two photographs of Hughes and the woman together. One in a group with other friends and one of him and her standing together on a beach, supposedly taken in 1904. This book, I think the book is by Maude T. Gilleland, indicates she is buried at Rockport, Aransas County. But again -- she has no name. Can you tell me the name of this woman that Hughes was going to marry?


Chuck Parsons

Sorry, I looked through my library and files and could not find anything about the identity of this woman. Obviously, she was the love of his life. Also, searched Newspaper Archives. Captain Hughes stands out in history as a Texas Ranger beyond reproach, something rare in those days of rangers who were corrupt, politically motivated, racist and so many of them were little more than hired guns. Does anyone out there know anything about her? If so, please let us know.


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On December 2, 1747, Spanish Captain Commander Joseph de Ydoiaga arrived at the Pueblo of San Cristobal after crossing the Rio Grande somewhere in the vicinity today's Presidio, Texas. Captain Ydoiaga, escorted by a contingent of militia and six Indian guides, came to San Cristobal during his exploration of the La Junita region to report to the Viceroy of New Spain the feasibility of establishing a presidio to protect the Spanish missions near La Junita against Indian attacks. Apache and Comanche raids had decimated La Junita and northern Mexico forcing the Spanish to seek a military solution to the ongoing Indian problems. Ydoiaga made careful and detailed written observations of the people and places he saw in the region and his writings offer the single best single source of information we have about Spanish colonial attempts during this time. Enrique Madrid superbly translated Ydoiaga's writings in the excellent "Expedition to La Junita de los Rios 1747-1748" published by the Texas State Historical Commission 1992. This is a book that everyone with an interest in Big Bend history needs to read. When Ydoiaga came to San Cristobal, he held talks over a three day period with the pueblo leaders and residents, inquiring about their community and their farming methods, which were greatly affected by droughts, and flooding of the Rio Grande. Also, the Captain conducted a census of the community that numbered 157 individuals.

In June 2003, city workers were digging a trench with a backhoe to replace an aging water line on Third Street on the southeastern edge of Presidio. To their surprise, they accidentally dug up some very old human remains and reported the incident to the Center For Big Bend Studies in Alpine. CBBS archaeologists came to the site and during an initial assessment documented three burials in and near the backhoe trench. In January 2006, armed with grant money from the Preservation Texas Trust Fund, the City of Presidio, and the Trans-Pecos Archaeological Preservation Program of the CBBS, archaeologists began an extensive investigation of the Millington Site. CBBS Director William A. Cloud worked as Principal Investigator and Project Archaeologist with Dr. Jennifer Piehl as Assistant Project Archaeologist. The archaeologists discovered fourteen features including parts of three structures, five human burials, a ring midden, and two small hearths along with a total of 2,745 artifacts. The Millington site proved to be the place described by Ydoiaga 261 years ago as the San Cristobal Pueblo.

The project finally resulted in a fine new book by William A. Cloud and Jennifer C. Piehl titled, "The Millington Site: Archaeological and Human Osteological Investigations Presidio County, Texas". Published by the Center for Big Bend Studies, the 211-page book contains an amazing amount of data and information. As a historian, I found this book to be absolutely fascinating because in addition to the detailed and complete archaeological information, the authors did a superb job of explaining the importance of the data, the historical context and how the study greatly advances our knowledge of the La Junta people and their environment. It like, "Expedition to La Junita de los Rios 1747-1748" is a book that cannot be overlooked by anyone wanting to truly understand Big Bend history.

"The Millington Site" is available at Front Street Books in Alpine. It can be ordered online at: or by calling 432-837-1126.


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Anybody who thinks central Texas was not a dangerous and violent place to live following the Civil War needs to read Ross McSwain's fine new book, See No Evil, Speak No Evil: A History of Mob Violence In The Texas Heartland 1869-1904. This dark and disturbing part of Texas history has long been obscured and overlooked for a variety of reasons. Many of the participants in these mob actions and their families kept silent during their years out of fear for their reputations and in some instances, their very lives. And it is not something local historians have wanted to address. But it is truly a topic we today cannot afford to misunderstand.

As author Paul L. Wellman put it, "Wars breed crime and criminals, and the American Civil War did not differ from others in this respect." And that is exactly what happened in Texas after the war. Thieves, bandits and murderers found a safe haven in central Texas because of the remoteness of the area and the poor and often simply non-existent law enforcement. Bad men stole cattle and horses, robbed stores and banks, and killed any lawman that tried to intervene. Sometimes the lawmen themselves were only criminals with badges. Cattlemen, storekeepers and honest citizens found themselves forced to take the law into their own hands in an attempt to deal with the outlawry. In seventeen chapters McSwain deals with mob actions in a dozen central Texas counties during this era and does a fine job of telling the stories in a most readable way. Equally important, McSwain puts these bloody events in context and did a masterful job of researching and documenting these long forgotten days.

In the forward of the book Elmer Kelton wrote, Ross McSwain has brought together as many of the facts about the mob as can be found a century or more after the incidents had occurred. What he uncovered is a startling view of Texas at its wildest and most violent, a time when hardened men thought no more of cold-blooded murder than of blowing out a lamp. It is a sad truth that many of these crimes went unpunished except, in some cases by a reciprocal murder. For those who believe who believe Old West violence is sometimes exaggerated, check the mobs body count.

Ross McSwain has lived in the Texas heartland since 1938 and is a retired award-winning journalist, freelance writer and author of eight books. He has served as president of the Tom Green County Historical Society and the Permian Historical Society and is a member of the Edwards Plateau Historical Association. "See No Evil, Speak No Evil" is available at Cactus Book Shop in San Angelo. To order, telephone Felton Cochran at 325-659-3788 or order on line at


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