Description[Texas Rangers]. Ernest "Diamond Dick" St. Leon Cabinet Card, circa 1890. 4.25" x 6". A sepia toned, bust portrait of infamous Texas Ranger "Diamond Dick" St. Leon, who served in Company "D" throughout the 1880s and part of the 1890s. With a period identification on the verso: "Diamond Dick - Ranger / Killed 1899" and "Courtesy Tula Bryant." A previous collector has written his name on the verso in modern ink. Provenance: George Jackson Collection.
The son of a refugee Frenchman, St. Leon was born and lived much of his life in San Antonio, Texas. He attended law school for a time as a young man, but abandoned the endeavor to join the U.S. Cavalry where he participated in several campaigns against Indians. In the 1880s he left the cavalry to join the Texas Rangers under John Hughes in Company "D," famously working in several undercover operations. He earned the nickname "Diamond Dick" from his fondness for embellishing his uniform with diamonds. St. Leon died in August 1898 in a gunfight near Socorro, Texas, in pursuit of three horse thieves. Although his final gunfight and subsequent injuries are well documented, there is confusion surrounding when exactly St. Leon died. The inscription on the back of this very photograph says he was killed in 1899. It is most widely believed, however, that his death was on August 31, 1898. He was buried in El Paso, Texas.
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