But a good horse was the only fast means of travel, and the best alibi for outlaws, in the early days of the Rangers. Austin realized the need for a body of men to protect his fledgling colony, the land settlement effort that marked the beginning of Texas' development.
Despite the long history of the Rangers, the term "Texas Ranger" did not appear officially in a piece of legislation until 1874. On August 5, 1823, on the back of a proclamation issued by Land Commissioner Baron de Bastrop, Austin wrote that he would "...employ ten men..act as rangers for the common defense..wages I will give said ten men is fifteen dollars a month payable in property..." These men, not soldiers, not even militia, "ranged" the area of Austin's colony, protecting settlers from Indians.
By 1835, as the movement for Texas independence was about to boil over, a council of local government representatives created a "Corps of Rangers" to protect the frontier from Indians.
These Rangers would be paid $1.25 a day and could elect their own officers. "Three-Legged" Williamson (so nicknamed because he had a wooden leg to support a crippled limb) headed three Ranger companies led by Captains William Arrington, Isaac Burleson and John J. When Texas declared its independence from Mexico, some Rangers took part in the fighting, though most served as scouts.
The bandit had in mind retaking, in the name of Mexico, all of Texas below the Nueces River.
The Texas government saw it differently, and dispatched Ford and a company of Rangers to mitigate the matter. While in a town they made no braggadocio demonstration.
In dealing with those deemed a threat to the young Republic, Hays helped establish another Ranger tradition--toughness mixed with a reliance on the latest in technology.
The Republic of Texas was one of the earliest customers of a New England gun maker, Samuel Colt.
After the war, the Legislature passed a bill creating three companies of Texas Rangers, but a bill to provide funding failed.
Financial support for state law enforcement in the early 1870s was sporadic.