04 February 2009

Warrant of Authority

Tucked away on a small wall near the fixin's bar at the Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn & Cafe are a couple of documents pivotal to the safety and settlement of the West.

In Liberty City, Texas on March 24, 1894 Pecos Bill received his Warrant of Authority in Company C of the Texas Rangers. His Provisional Captaincy came along with his occupation, which is listed as Defender of the Defenseless. Additionally, Pecos Bill's faithful companion, Widowmaker, was also granted his Warrant of Authority in Liberty City in March of 1894. Though Widowmaker's Warrant of Authority lists him as an enlisted man and Honorary Member.

Looking a little closer at the Warrants of Authority we see some folds in the papers, causing damage to these priceless papers that seems out of place. As it turns out, these documents were issued by Texas' Adjutant General beginning in 1874 until 1935. In lieu of badges and credentials the Rangers kept their Warrants of Authority on their person, often folding them and placing them in their pockets for safe keeping and easy access.

Upon further investigation, both Pecos Bill's and Widowmaker's documents raise questions. Widowmaker is listed as being an enlistee in the Texas Rangers. Yet, according to Ranger history, Warrants of Authority were only bestowed upon officers, never enlisted personnel. As for Pecos Bill's, his Warrant of Authority is dated for March 24, 1894, while making reference to an “Act of the 27th Legislature of the State of Texas. Approved, March 29th, 1901.” Still, Pecos Bill and Widowmaker were both legends in their own right, and a few inconsistencies can certainly be overlooked.

All in all, Governor Sam Houston and Adjutant General John Reid could not have asked for a finer man or a finer stallion to represent the Texas Rangers than Pecos Bill and Widowmaker.

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