What Baz Outlaw failed to mention, presumably because he was wholly unawares, it would seem that Frank B. Simmons, since elected to Sheriff of El Paso County, had been in some form or fashion forced to bend to the well known and well accepted borderland practice colloquially known as the bite – la mordida – the bribe. Reading between the lines of Sheriff Simmons message to Governor Hogg is necessary, but not complicated:
I have been to quite an expense in getting the body of Capt. Frank Jones, Company D State Rangers from Mexico. Will the state help me pay these expenses. . . .(7)
Read the rest of chapter 10 and the entire new novel “Whiskey River Ranger: The Old West Life of Baz Outlaw, by author Bob Alexander. Available through University of North Texas Press.
Foot Notes in this artlcle:
1. John Humphries to Baz Outlaw, June 22, 1893, in HML&HC.
3. Readers interested in a more inclusive examination of the political maneuverings and analysis of criminal intelligence that fostered Company D’s deployment to El Paso County and a cursory genealogical peek at the Olguin crime family may wish to consult Alexander’s Six-Shooters and Shifting Sands, particularly Chapter 15, “Boys, I’m Killed.”
4. The actual events of this particular incident—a truly horrific gunfight between bandits and Rangers—are also covered in detail, based on primary source documents, in Alexander’s Riding Lucifer’s Line, Chapter 9, 127–138.
5. Telegram, Special Ranger Outlaw to AG Mabry, June 30, 1893, TSA.
6. Special Ranger Outlaw to AG Mabry, July 2, 1893, TSA.
7. Sheriff Frank B. Simmons, El Paso County, to Governor Hogg, July 7, 1893, TSA; Parsons, Captain John R. Hughes, puzzlingly proffers: “Sheriff Simmons did not realize that Kirchner had recovered the body, and anticipated trouble in attempting to do so.” 87; In real time Corporal Carl Kirchner certainly wasn’t confused: “We [an editorial ‘we’] then made a demand on the chief officer at Juarez, Mex. Who acted very nicely (I am told by Sheriff Simmons who made the demands) & ordered the body delivered to us at the State line.” See, Corporal Carl Kirchner to AG Mabry, July 2, 1893, TSA; Nor were newspapermen at faraway Dallas, Texas, baffled: The Dallas Morning News of July 1, 1893, picking up the story from El Paso, reported: “The sheriff’s posse and rangers returned to Ysleta and El Paso this evening with the body of Capt. Frank Jones of the rangers, who was killed across the Mexican line yesterday morning at sunrise, while in pursuit of a gang of smugglers and murderers in the bosque, twelve miles below San Elizario in this county.” And the edition of July 2, 1893: “The murder of Capt. Frank Jones by Mexicans yesterday morning is still causing much excitement on the border. The sheriff’s posse, which made a demand on the Mexicans for Capt. Jones’ body, met with refusal, backed by 100 armed Mexicans. Sheriff Simmons was taken by a special train to Juarez, Mexico, where he made a request on the Mexican war department for the necessary aid and the lieutenant commanding at once repaired to the scene of trouble with a troop of cavalry and gave the sheriff the necessary help, which secured the body at 11 a.m.” Additionally, the Dallas Morning News of December 19, 1893: “. . . Sheriff F.B. Simmons of El Paso county was in the city yesterday. It was he who on the 30th of last June recovered the body of Capt Frank Jones, who was killed at Tres Jacales, in the state of Chihuahua, Mexico. ” Also, C. L. Sonnichsen, Pass of the North: Four Centuries on the Rio Grande: “Next day Sheriff Simmons and a posse demanded the body of the dead Captain, but got nowhere until the Mexican authorities were asked to help. Lieutenant Rafael García Martínez, the Juárez jefe politico, rode with Simmons down the Mexican side of the border with a Mexican police escort. They had better luck than they expected, for not only did they bring home the body of Captain Jones—they met three members of the gang making their way out of the brush and rounded them up without a fight.” 315.
© University of North Texas Press, Bob Alexander, with permission to reprint on Legends Of America, April 2016.
About the Author:
BOB ALEXANDER began a policing career in 1965 and retired as a special agent with the U.S. Treasury Department. He is the author of Rawhide Ranger, Ira Aten (winner of WWHA Best Book Award); Six-Shooters and Shifting Sands, Bad Company and Burnt Powder, Riding Lucifer’s Line, and Winchester Warriors, all published by UNT Press. He lives in Maypearl, Texas.
Note: We know of no relation between Bob Alexander, and Legends of America co-owner Dave Alexander.
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