Major John B. Jones, Texas Ranger
Written and researched by Margaret Odrowaz-Sypniewska, B.F.A.


The idea for the Texas Rangers originated in 1823, when Stephen F. Austin, known as the "Father of Texas" organized ten dedicated men to "range" over wide areas between designated rivers and scout the movements of Indian tribes. The Texas Rangers' law enforcement agency was planned in October 1835 and was established on November 24, 1835. The Rangers consisted of fifty-six (56) men. These men were commanded by a captain and a first and second lieutenant. Privates received $1.25 a day for pay rations, clothing, and horse service. They were to have one-hundred (100) pounds of powder and ball, as well as a good horse, saddle, bridle, and blanket. Officers were paid the same wages as officers in the United States Dragoons.

The Texas Rangers guarded the borders from Indians and Mexican raiders from the days of the republic to the beginning of the Mexican War.


John B. Jones (1834-1881) was aConfederate Army officer and Texas Ranger. He was born in Fairfield District, South Carolina, on December 22, 1834, the son of Henry and Nancy (Robertson) Jones. The family moved to Texas in 1838. They settled first in what became Travis County. Jones later moved to an area that would be named Matagorda County, and then to what is now Navarro County.

John attended Rutersville College (near La Grange) and Mount Zion College (Winnsboro, South Carolina). John B. Jones enlisted as a private in Benjamin F. Terry's "Eighth Texas Cavalry" but left the regiment to become adjutant of Joseph W. Speight's "Fifteenth Texas Infantry" with the rank of captain. Jones later became assistant adjutant general of Polignac's Brigade. He was promoted to "major" at the end of the war. According to Wilburn Hill King's book The Texas Rangers, Jones "had made an excellent record as a man of superior business tact and judgment, and on the battle-field his coolness, quickness of judgment, breadth of comprehension, soldierly skill, and management had marked him as one to trust in time of difficulty." John B. Jones was always a gentleman of the highest caliber.

Governor Richard Coke apppointed John B. Jones as Major of the Frontier Battalion on May 2, 1874. John Jones was said to never touch tobacco or strong drink, so that was a plus in his favor. His only weakness was that he was the favorite of the Texan ladies. The Major had established a reputation as a meticulous dresser, even in the field.

Less than one month after receiving his commission Jones had five (5) companies patrolling the western frontier, and by July 10th, all six of his units were in the saddle.

Their job was to defend a four-hundred (400) mile perimeter. Under Jones the rangers, acting in co-ordination with federal troopers, finally crushed the Comanches. This struggle had been costly as in each year, between 1836 and 1875, at least one-hundred (100) were killed or kidnapped. The advance through the expanse of Central Texas had exacted seventeen (17) white lives per mile. By 1876, the Rangers could report that "Mason County is now prosperous and happy."



John B. Jones, the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame ... Oath of John B. Jones
John B. Jones, Texas Ranger


Crutchfield, James A., Bill O'Neal,, and Dale L. Walker. Legends of the Wild West. Lincolnwood, IL.: Pulications International, Ltd., 1995.

Reedstrom, E. Lisle. Authentic Costumes & Characters of the Wild West. New York: Sterling Publishing Co., Inc., 1992.

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