Saturday, November 23, 2013

Guide for the Rangers

In the 1875 campaign against rustlers and murderers in South Texas, the forces of Ranger Captain Leander Harvey McNelly included “a local guide named Jesus Sandoval, whom the other Rangers called ‘Old Casuse.’ Sandoval was a small rancher with a white-hot burning hatred of stock thieves; his own small herd had been stolen – and worse yet, his wife and daughter raped by the bandits responsible. Sandoval and one of his Anglo neighbors had already fought back against bandits by hanging four of them – arousing threats of retaliation. But Sandoval knew the territory well – and those who lived there even better. Fellow Ranger William Caldicott writing an account of McNelly’s exploits decades later, noted grimly that ‘After the Captain had all the information he wanted, he would let Casuse have charge of the spy. Casuse would make a regular hangman’s knot and place the hangman’s loop over the bandit’s head, throw the end of the rope over a limb, make the bandit get up on Casuse’s old paint horse and stand up in the saddle. Casuse would make the loose end of the rope fast, get behind his horse, hit him a hard lick and the horse would jump from under the spy, breaking his neck instantly. Captain McNelly didn’t like this kind of killing, but Casuse did … We caught several spies on that scout before we overhauled the bandits with the cattle, and Casuse dealt with them all alike, showing no partiality – he always made them a present of six feet of rope.’”

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