Starr County Historical Documents & Letters

Rio Grande City, Texas

July 9th 1852


To his Excellency,

P. Hansborough Bell

Austin, Texas

                Dear Sir: 

                                                                                Owing to the late difficulties which have prevailed for some time past to such an alarming extent, in the valley of the Rio Grande and adjacent section of the country, (the character of which I learn you have been recently informed) I would respectfully suggest the propriety of raising a company of mounted men (Rangers) for this immediate neighbourhood, to act in concert with the companies prayed for by the citizens below here ~ The U. S. forces, upon this time, are totally inadequate to protect the lives and property of our citizens, both in point of numbers, experience, and qualification ~ The settlements in the country have all been broken up and the settlers who have been opening farms, or herding cattle, have been driven, with their families, either across the River into Mexico, or into the several towns upon the river for protection, leaving everything behind them ~ These marauding parties that have been infesting the country organize themselves upon the other side of the River, in Mexico, and cross over upon this side, in Texas, commit their depredations and then recross into Mexico, where they are protected and encouraged by the authorities there ~ By this course, they are enabled to commit more frequent and much more serious depredations than tho’ the authorities of Mexico were acting in concert with us, against a common enemy and the US forces are thereby left qualified to drive them out of the country and keep them out ~ And I am certain you will agree with me in my suggestion of the propriety of raising a company of Rangers for the protection of this portion of this frontier ~ The instant effect of which would be a complete change in the course of the Mexican authorities along this entire line ~ The Mex. Authorities regard the U. S. government as very slow and uncertain in bringing them to an account for their injuries and insults; but they fear collision with Texas and Texans.

If you think it proper to take the course indicated, and which is so generally desired, and will authorize me to raise an hundred men, I will at once proceed, raise a company, mount them, and hold myself in readiness under your orders ~ My experience will give me desired advantages, in taking command of such a company, over most of the citizens of this frontier.

I shall not, however, enlarge upon my qualifications or experience for you are already perfectly well acquainted with the past ~ I have been solicited by the people here to served them as captain of a ranger company and cannot refuse ~ They urge so many reasons, such as my extensive interests here, my having established the “Rancho Davis,” my position generally, and the knowledge which the Mexican authorities have of my influence and experience, together with my family connexions here (Although I had some time since, “turned my sword into the ploughshare” and become absorbed in the enjoyments of my family and the concern of my business pursuits,) that, really, I have become convinced that I should be a very selfish being and a drone in the hive of community did I not accede to their wishes ~ And hence I write you this communication ~ A petition upon this subject has already been forwarded to you and I learn by the public print, that a similar one has been forwarded to you from Brownsville ~ Our valley is very remote from our Capitol, it is true, and also very much isolated from the great interests absorbing the daily attention of his excellency, yet, we all, in this section, feel entirely satisfied and convinced that our weak and unprotected condition will meet with yr warmest sympathy and receive the most speedy protection in yr power ~ Touching the details of such a company of Rangers, I shall expect instructions, at same time would intimate that it is expected that the State will supply arms, ammunition, and provisions ~


With sentiments of the highest Esteem and Friendship,

                I remain, as ever, Dear Colonel,

                                Yr Friend and obed. servt.

                                                H. Clay Davis


Texas State Archives: Records of Governor Peter Hansbrough Bell 

transcribed by Scott Grayson 2008

Box 301-18 folder 4    H. Clay Davis to Governor PHB, July 9, 1852

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 by Linda Blum-Barton

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