Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Texas Legislature, Joint Committee of the House and Senate in the Investigation of the Texas State Ranger Force:

An Inventory of the Joint Committee of the House and Senate in the Investigation of the Texas State Ranger Force Transcript of Proceedings at the Texas State Archives, 1919



Overview

Creator: Texas. Legislature. Joint Committee of the House and Senate in the Investigation of the Texas State Ranger Force.
Title: Joint Committee of the House and Senate in the Investigation of the Texas State Ranger Force transcript of proceedings
Dates: 1919
Abstract: The Texas Joint Committee of the House and Senate in the Investigation of the Texas State Ranger Force was created in January 1919 during the 36th Texas Legislature to investigate the actions taken by the Texas Ranger Force during the period from 1914 to 1919. Records consist of a three-volume carbon copy (and a microfilm copy) of the transcript of proceedings conducted by the committee during January and February 1919.
Quantity: 0.74 cubic ft.
Language: These materials are written in English.

Agency History

The Texas Joint Committee of the House and Senate in the Investigation of the Texas State Ranger Force was created in January 1919 and functioned during January and February of that year. The purpose of the committee was to investigate the actions taken by the Texas Ranger Force during the period from 1914 to 1919.

In 1910 a revolution against Mexico's President Porfirio Díaz had unsettled the populace on both sides of the Texas-Mexico border. By 1914, tensions along the border country had been heightened by Mexican nationalism, German intrigue and sabotage, and American draft dodgers. Then, in 1916, Pancho (Francisco) Villa's raid on Columbus, New Mexico intensified already harsh feelings between the two countries. During the course of these events, the regular Texas Rangers, along with hundreds of special rangers appointed by Texas governors, killed an estimated 5,000 Hispanics along the border between 1914 and 1919.

In January 1919, Texas State Representative José T. Canales of Brownsville filed nineteen charges against the Texas Rangers (as a part of his ongoing concern over their conduct) and demanded a legislative investigation and the reorganization of the force. On January 24, Canales offered a simple resolution requesting the Adjutant General to deposit its 1917-1918 investigative records of the Texas Rangers with the Chief Clerk of the Texas House of Representatives, so that house members could easily review the materials. On January 27, the Adjutant General wrote to the house urging a full and complete investigation of the Ranger force. Accordingly, Representative Miller offered a resolution proposing an investigative committee of seven. Canales offered a substitute resolution later that day, also calling for a committee of seven but proposing that four members come from the house and three from the senate. Canales' substitute was passed as House Concurrent Resolution 20 (36th Texas Legislature, Regular Session). On January 28 and 29, Representatives Leonard E. Tilson, Sam C. Lackey, W.M. Tidwell, and Dan S. McMillin, and Senators Paul D. Page, Edgar E. Witt, and R.L. Williford were appointed to the joint investigating committee.

The committee began taking testimony on January 31, 1919. Representative Tilson had been replaced by Representative William H. Bledsoe. Bledsoe served as committee chair and Senator Page as vice-chair. Testimony was taken for two weeks and the report of the committee was submitted to the house on February 19, 1919. The report recommended a reorganization of the Ranger force. Later that session, the legislature passed House Bill 5 (36th Legislature, Regular Session), authored by Canales, which maintained the four company structure of the Rangers but reduced the number of recruits from twenty to fifteen per unit; instituted more competitive salaries but with minimal expense accounts; and established specific procedures for citizen complaints against any Ranger wrongdoing.


Scope and Contents of the Records

The Texas Joint Committee of the House and Senate in the Investigation of the Texas State Ranger Force was created in January 1919 during the 36th Texas Legislature to investigate the actions taken by the Texas Ranger Force during the period from 1914 to 1919. Records consist of a three-volume carbon copy (and a microfilm copy) of the transcript of proceedings conducted by the committee during January and February of 1919. The investigation is frequently referred to as the "Canales Investigation," after Representative José T. Canales who instigated it. This copy of the proceedings was filed with the Chief Clerk of the Texas House of Representatives on February 28, 1919. The investigation covered the organization and conduct of the Texas Rangers along the Texas-Mexico border between 1914 and 1919.

To prepare this inventory, the described materials were cursorily reviewed to delineate series, to confirm the accuracy of contents lists, to provide an estimate of dates covered, and to determine record types.


 

Arrangement of the Records

The records are bound in volumes in page number and chronological order.

Restrictions

Restrictions on Access

Materials do not circulate, but may be used in the State Archives search room. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.

Restrictions on Use

Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).

Technical Requirements

The transcript volumes are in fragile condition and may not be used or photocopied. Physical access by researchers must be limited to the microfilm copy of the documents. An incomplete version of the transcript is available in PDF format (see links in Other Formats for the Records section below).

Microfilm readers are available in the Lorenzo de Zavala State Archives and Library Building. Ask staff members for exact locations.


Index Terms

The terms listed here were used to catalog the records. The terms can be used to find similar or related records.
Personal Names:
Canales, J. T. (José Tomás), 1877-1976.
Corporate Names:
Texas Rangers.
Subjects:
Police misconduct--Texas.
Governmental investigations--Texas.
Legislative bodies--Texas--Committees.
Places:
Mexican-American Border Region.
Document Types:
Transcripts--Texas--Governmental investigations--1919.
Microfilm--Texas--Governmental investigations--1919.
Functions:
Investigating Texas Rangers.
Administering governmental investigations.

Related Material

The following materials are offered as possible sources of further information on the agencies and subjects covered by the records. The listing is not exhaustive.

Texas State Archives
Texas Adjutant General's Department, Ranger records, 1839-1975, undated (bulk 1854-1918), 40.94 cubic ft. [see series Ranger Force records]
Publications
Texas. Legislature. House of Representatives. Journal of the House of Representatives of the state of Texas, 36th Legislature, Regular Session. Austin: Standard Office, 1919. [Contains the committee report to the Legislature]

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

(Identify the page), Texas Joint Committee of the House and Senate in the Investigation of the Texas State Ranger Force transcript of proceedings. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.

Accession Information

Accession numbers: 1983/192, 2000/168

These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by an unknown agency sometime after 1919. The materials were assigned a new accession number on July 11, 2000 for purposes of control. In fiscal year 1983 the records were microfilmed and the microfilm copy was accessioned by the Archives and Information Services Division.

Processing Information

Processed by Nancy Enneking, July 2000

Corrections and further encoding to TARO project standards by Nancy Enneking, April 2001

Finding aid converted from EAD 1.0 to 2002 by TARO using the style sheet v1to02.xsl, July 22, 2003

Other Formats for the Records added and DACS compliance by Rebecca Romanchuk, November 2012

Other Formats for the Records

This transcript is also available in PDF format at the following links: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3.


Detailed Description of the Collection

 

Texas Joint Committee of the House and Senate in the Investigation of the Texas State Ranger Force transcript of proceedings, 1919,
0.74 cubic ft.

Reel
3534 Volume 1, January 31 to February 7, 1919
Volume 2, February 8 to February 11, 1919
Volume 3, February 11 to February 13, 1919
Box
2000/168-1 USE MICROFILM
Volume 1, January 31 to February 7, 1919
Volume 2, February 8 to February 11, 1919
Box
2000/168-2 USE MICROFILM
Volume 3, February 11 to February 13, 1919