Sessums’ History Snippets: The Texas Rangers

I had the basic mystery story set in my mind for The Case of The Texas Ranger even before I decided it would feature an old Texas Ranger. Sometimes inspiration takes us by surprise!

Most of us from the Lone Star state grew up revering the prestige of the great Texas Rangers.  My husband worked with some of them during his time as an arson and fraud investigator early in his career.  I got the idea for Templeton Gorham partly from watching the Netflix movie The Highwaymen starring Kevin Costner and Woody Harrelson (if you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it.)  The movie chronicles the tracking down of Bonnie and Clyde in the late thirties.

After watching the movie, I was interested to know more about Frank Hamer, the ranger credited with their killing, so I found a book called Texas Ranger: The Epic Life of Frank Hamer, The Man who Killed Bonnie and Clyde.  The book was a fascinating study of the man from his youth to his death.  What was most interesting to me was the fact that Hamer was known for his protection of blacks against lynching. The book is full of tales of his efforts to stand between violent mobs and prisoners in his custody.  Later, he also fought continuously against the KKK and their rackets to control cities and counties.

In the early 1900s, Hamer befriended a young son of an ex-slave and sharecropper.  Mance Lipscomb went on later in life to become a renowned blues singer, guitarist and songwriter, but he often talked about his early life following him around Navasota, Texas.  He spoke highly of Hamer saying, “He wad’n no piece a man, he was a whole man.”   The character Alonzo was inspired by Mance Lipscomb.

Be sure to preorder the upcoming The Case of the Texas Ranger and head over to my Snazzy, Knobby, Keen Dish page to enter the GIVEAWAY!

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