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    [Texas Rangers]. Group of Three Items Related to the Death of Ranger Captain Frank Jones. Austin native Frank Jones (1856-1893) was just thirty-seven years old when he was killed while in pursuit of Mexican bandits on a small island located in the Rio Grande River near Ysleta.

    Former Texas Ranger Ira Aten, "Ex-Sergeant of Company 'D,' Frontier Battalion," who served with Jones until 1889, related the particulars of his death and the erection of a monument in his honor in a typescript to the Texas State Adjutant General's Office in August 1938, four pages, 8.25" x 10.75", on Imperial Irrigation District letterhead, El Centro [California]. Aten says the island "had grown up with brush, cottonwood and willow trees and was known as 'No-Man's-Land.' Outlaws and smugglers . . . took charge of it and used it as their rendezvous." Jones was soon "ordered to Ysleta to subdue the criminal element and run the outlaws and smugglers from this island . . . After he had established camp near Ysleta, he took five men: Ed Bryant, Wood Saunders, Carl Kirchner, Ed Aten and Tom Tucker, to reconnoiter the island." The lawmen soon came upon two Mexican bandits "who broke and ran as fast as their horses could carry them." The men gave chase, but in the process had mistakenly crossed into Mexico. The bandits entered an adobe house and a "barrage of fire came from the house . . . and Captain Jones fell, dying with three mortal wounds . . . The Rangers fell back, keeping up a fire on the adobe house from the brush . . . they counted five men shooting from the house. Later it was learned the Rangers' bullets had wounded three men." As armed men began to gather from the surrounding houses, "the Rangers retreated." Jones, a Mason, was recovered by Masons from Juarez and carried back across the river the following day. His body was sent home and buried, but in 1938 his "loyal friends are removing his remains to the site of the monument with which the State of Texas has honored his memory."

    In addition to the typescript, the group contains a 10" x 8" photograph of four elderly men, all former Rangers, gathered around the monument to Captain Frank Jones. The photo was taken on May 12, 1938, and features Edwin D. Aten (1870-1953), Ira Aten (1862-1953), Captain John R. Hughes (1855-1947), and Robert E. "Ed" Bryant (1866-1940). Captain John R. Hughes was a sergeant in Company "D" when Jones was killed and assumed command upon his death. According to Ira Aten, it was "up to Captain Hughes to avenge the death of Captain Jones. Twenty-one members of that gang of outlaws paid the death penalty - one way or another - in the years that followed." Two of the men pictured, Edwin Aten and Bryant, were the last two living survivors of the shootout. On the verso is a John R. Hughes holographic inscription, reading: "Presented to Capt. R. W. Aldrich By Capt. John R. Hughes. Austin Texas August 15th 1938." Aldrich (1869-1955) is the longest serving Ranger in the group's storied history.

    Also, an Ira Aten typed letter signed, one page, 8.25" x 10.75", El Centro [California], August 3, 1938, transmitting the previous photograph to the Texas State Adjutant General's Office "Thinking you would like to have this photo to place in the archives of your office."


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    Auction Dates
    September, 2013
    21st Saturday
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