During the last years of the nineteenth century the South Western States of America had become synonymous for
daring, recklessness and wild actions encompassing marauding Apache Indians, stage robbers, cattle rustlers and smugglers, so it was with some relief to the occupants of that area, and Arizona Territory in particular that a bill was passed in 1901 authorising the formation of a Territorial Law enforcement agency to be called the ARIZONA RANGERS.
The original Arizona Rangers were formed in March 1901 and consisted of a Captain, one Sergeant and twelve Privates, the pay to be $120, $75 and $55 per month respectively, plus $1.50 cents a day to board himself and his horse. They were governed by the rules and regulations of the Army of the United States, while being subject of course to the authority of the Territory of Arizona and at this initial stage each member of the company was required to furnish himself with a suitable horse, pistol, (army size) and all necessary accoutrements and camping equipment, although pack horses were supplied and personal mounts replaced by the Territory if killed or injured in action. A tax, in addition to other taxes of the time, of five cents on every hundred dollars of taxable property in the Territory was levied, collected and placed in a fund know as the Ranger fund from which all warrants and payments were made.
In 1903 the territorial legislature passed a bill increasing the Ranger force to consist of one Captain, one Lieutenant, four Sergeants and twenty Privates, and the pay increased to $175, $130, $110 and $100 respectively, however as well as supplying their own horses, the Rangers had also now to supply their own pack horses too. Another provision being that all members injured during the performance of their duties should have medical treatment and care at the expense of the territory. It is an interesting fact to note that it was only in 1903 at this revision of the Rangers bill that badges were authorised to be worn.


BURTON C. MOSSMAN was not only the first Captain of the Arizona Rangers, but the organiser of the formation as well, being asked by the then Governor, Oakes Murphy, personally to organise and run the company. Born in Illinois of Scots/Irish parentage, he was Captain for a year only during which time he and his band of 14 rangers was responsible for virtually breaking up large scale depredations against the cattle herds of the Arizona ranches and ranges. He resigned at his own request in July of 1902 to pursue private business interests he had in Bisbee, leaving a splendid record of achievement that went to show how badly the Territory had needed such an organisation.


THOMAS H. RYNNING had been a second Lieutenant of 'B' troop of the Rough Riders and had been with Roosevelt in Cuba taking part in all of the military engagements leading up to the surrender of the opposition forces at Santiago. He was born in Norway in 1866 arriving in the United States when he was just two years old. Of vast military experience he had served under General Phil Sheridan during the campaigns against the Southern Cheyenne, against the Chiricahua Apaches in 1885 and 1886, was present at the capture of Geronimo, and even helped chase Sitting Bull and his band as they escaped toBritish Columbia following the Little Big Horn fight. On his honourable discharge from the Army he had a record of 17 battles against the Indians. He was appointed Captain in 1902 and it was while under Rynnings leadership that the Rangers became widely known for their handling of strikes in the Bisbee and Morenci areas, and in 1906 he lead a force of volunteers acting as private citizens, assisting the Mexican Rurales to put down the rioting and bloodshed that took place in the copper mines of Cananea. It was also under Rynnings leadership that the Rangers force was expanded as earlier mentioned.


HARRY C. WHEELER was born in Jacksonville Florida and although he had attended Military school he had been rejected by the Army as being not quite tall enough, something that caused him much distress. He was living in the border town of Bisbee when in July 1903 he joined the Arizona Rangers as a private; He was promoted to Sergeant three months later, commissioned Lieutenant in July 1905 and finally appointed Captain in March 1907 upon the resignation of Captain Rynning, remaining in that office until the Rangers were finally disbanded in 1909. During their brief but none the less glorious tenure the Arizona Rangers proved themselves time and time again to be a force to be reckoned with, displaying, courage and integrity in all of their dealings with the lawbreakers of the time.

In all 107 men were recorded on the Ranger rolls, with only nine of them being natives of Arizona itself, the youngest were 22 and the oldest was 55, the average age being 33. One Tom Gadberry served the shortest time, enlisting as he did only 15 days before they were disbanded, and the longest enlistment was served by James T. Holmes who signed up on September 2 1902; Frank Wheeler joined 8 days later and both of these men were still serving Rangers when the company was abolished. Only one Ranger, Carlos Tafolla who was shot during the second month of the companies existence, is recorded as being killed in action. Ranger Jeff Kidder was also killed during a gunfight in Naco in 1908, technically though his enlistment was up, having expired three days earlier, and although he had applied to re enlist, the papers had not been approved by the Captain as he was out on a patrol at the time.

The last surviving original Arizona Ranger, John R. Clarke, who joined in 1906 as a 22 year old and served two enlistment's from 1906 - 1908 died as recently as 1982.

Despite being officially disbanded in 1909, Arizona Ranger volunteer units still exist today and carry on the Ranger tradition and service across that State. Initially, unlike the original Rangers of 1901 - 1909 who dressed in traditional range garb, they wore modern cut western style uniforms and also supplied their own firearms, many of them traditionally carrying the Colt .45 Frontier Model 'Peacemaker' and wearing the silver star with the inscription 'Arizona Ranger'. Todays Ranger force however wears a uniform more in keeping with that of the law enforcement communities within Arizona and carry modern semi-automatic pistols with the old 'hogleg' .45 being reserved for parades and ceremonial duties; The badge too has changed slightly, being more modern in design but still with a star motif and still worn with pride. As ever they continue to work with Local, County and State Law enforcement agencies in a support and assist role; They also train with these same Law enforcement agencies so that their work will be on a par with the expectations of those bodies when on duty.
We are grateful for the contact recieved from serving Ranger units within Arizona and the comments and updated information that they have supplied us. We are also very proud to have this link with them all and for the recognition that they have afforded us as a group.


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