Cowboys and Indians

We tend to think of the Cowboy and Indian age as a fun time, but from the sketch's in the book by David La Vere  "Life among the Texas Indians" it was a brutal time for both sides.

My Great Grandfather William Louis Allen was born in Decatur, Tx. in 1879 during these times.

William's father Henry Clay Allen my G,G, Grandfather was a Texas Ranger and Served in Company B of the Frontier Battalion under 1st Sgt. C.H. Hamilton and Commander Ira Long.

Enlisted: April 1, 1876
Discharged: August 31, 1876
Service: 5 months 7 days

         The Frontier Battalion
The Frontier Battalion, composed of six companies of Texas Rangers of seventy-five men each, was organized in 1874 as a result of a recommendation of Governor Richard Coke that Texas organize its own force to protect the frontier. On May 2, 1874, John B. Jones was commissioned major of the force. By July 10, 1874, all six companies were in service. Camps were established along the entire frontier line; Jones himself visited all of the companies, enforcing discipline, and, to tie the command together, established a line of couriers to ride from camp to camp to carry information and pick up Indian signs. By October 8, 1874, Jones reported the battalion in good working order. During the first seventeen months of its organization, the battalion had twenty-one fights with Indians; from September 1875 to February 1876 no Indians appeared on the border guarded by the battalion, and a new feeling of security resulted. The Frontier Battalion was established to control ordinary lawbreakers as well as for defense against Indians. This control was particularly necessary in the period of lawlessness and social collapse following the Civil War and Reconstruction.
The situation was aggravated by the proximity of Texas to Mexico and the conflict between agrarian and cattle interests, as the farm frontier began to encroach on the ranching area. Men of the battalion made arrests, escorted prisoners, guarded jails, and attended courts; hundreds of lawless men were arrested; thousands fled. Among the special tasks assigned to the group were settling the Mason County War, cleaning outlaws out of Kimble County in 1877, ending the Horrell-Higgins Feud in Lampasas County, terminating the Salt War of San Elizario, and capturing Sam Bass. The breakup of the Frontier Battalion began with the death of Major Jones and the resignation of the principal captains in 1881. A court ruling in 1900 destroyed the authority of the force by allowing only commissioned officers to execute criminal process or make arrests. In reality the order destroyed the battalion. The work of the Frontier Battalion in making Texas “a fairly safe place in which to live” was largely responsible for the tradition which came to surround the term, “Texas Ranger.”
The Battalion lasted 27 years and was dissolved in 1901. They were renamed the Ranger Force but still retaining the title “Texas Ranger.”. In 1935 the Rangers were included as part of the Texas Department of Public Safety and have remained so up to the present time. The Texas Legislature acted into law a few years ago that “as long as there is a Texas there will be Texas Rangers.”

During this period of time the Rangers were involved in some of the most celebrated cases in the history of the State of Texas. Historical facts that would later be mixed with Ranger legend occurred during this turbulent period.

John T Loftus and Mary Sullivan

John T. Loftus and Mary Sullivan were my 3rd Great grandparents. They were Irish and had a large and colorful family. Below are pictures of them along with a story submitted by a cousin Marilyn Glazier

Mary Sullivan from County Kerry

John T Loftus from County Galway


  My Great Great Grandfather John T. Loftus, we believe the T. stands for Thomas, would sail from Ireland about 1854 - 1855. We base his sailing date on his Naturalization papers. Per John's obituary he was born in County Galway. John was a devout Catholic and went to church every chance he could. John was always reading the newspapers and we have a picture of him in his late years reading a newspaper. A story passed down was that John was reading the newspaper and he asked his wife Mary Sullivan Loftus how she would say that in her tongue. Mary Sullivan Loftus was born in County Kerry.

  John was not a heavy drinker as far as we know. A cousin has a flute that John brought with him from Ireland. My mother was nine years old when John died and she said he would say "aye faith and be glory". The daughters of John Loftus would sing about the moon over Galway Bay.

  John would settle in the Fulton, Illinois, USA area and in the 1860 USA census he is a farm hand. In 1868 John would buy farm land in the Meredosia area of Albany, Illinois, USA. We believe John was born March 15, 1842 and John died October 10, 1924 of Influenza. John would marry Mary Sullivan November 27, 1862 at St. Mary's Catholic Church, Fulton, Illinois.Parents: Per the death certificates of John Loftus and his brother James their parents were John Loftus and Bridget Kelly Loftus. Naturalization date of October 15, 1868 and John was able to sign his name. John became a citizen on the same day as his brother-in laws, Jeremiah and Edward Sullivan and they were only able to make an "X" for their signature.

  In John's Naturalization papers it states he has been a resident of the USA for 13 years.Children of John T. Loftus: Katherine 1865, John T. Loftus Junior 1868, Delia Amanda 1871, Mary E. 1873 and Edward James 1878. I believe there were four children that died early in infancy. I have no names for these children.Known siblings of John Loftus: John had a brother James with him in the Fulton, Illinois, USA area. In the 1860 census James is listed as a servant and is 14 years of age, making his birth year 1846. James, per death certificate, dies January 20, 1922 of Influenza and his age is listed as 73 years and five months with his birth month as September. Seems to be a difference in James exact birth year.

   James was also a devout Catholic, James never married and James liked to drink. James smoked a pipe and James had his pipe in his mouth when they waked him. My mother was then seven years old and tried to pull the pipe from the mouth of James.Per the probate papers of James Loftus I would read that there were two nephews ( Michael Loftus and Harry Loftus ) in St. Louis and a niece and nephew( Mary Amanda O'Rourke Parmelee Husted and John O'Rourke ) in Sioux City, Iowa. Notice the additional use of Amanda as a middle name ( Delia Amanda Loftus ). Thus additional siblings of John Loftus were brother Michael Loftus born in Ireland in 1850 and died in St. Louis, Missouri February 26, 1902 of pneumonia. Also, sister Mary Loftus O'Rourke of Sioux City, Iowa, birth year unknown, died Sioux City, Iowa January 31, 1894 of consumption. Mary Loftus O'Rourke, wife of Henry O'Rourke, worked as a laundress in what was known as the South Bottoms of Sioux City, Iowa.

  An area of single family homes where immigrants settled.The son of John T. Loftus, John T. Loftus Junior was so talented at dancing that he entertained locally and had a chance to dance in Chicago professionally. Also, the great granddaughter, Ginger Parmelee, of Mary Loftus O'Rourke was very talented at dancing and gymnastics and entertained locally and won many competitions. I have a picture of John T. Loftus senior with his wife and children taken on Thursday, October 2, 1891. John T. Loftus senior would have been about 49 years of age. John appears slight in build and his hair appears to be white as does his beard. My mother said he was small and had reddish/blond hair with blue eyes. John does indeed appear to be fair in the picture. I notice his hands are broad with short fingers, full lips, broad nose, somewhat curly hair, broad forehead.

  I come away with the conclusion that my Great Great Grandfather John T. Loftus born of County Galway, Ireland 1842 had an upbringing that included devout worship in the Catholic Church, had some education of some sort, there had to be family gatherings that would include dancing, singing and flute playing. The family was probably of simple means and common laborers of the time and the area.

Delia Amanda Loftus my 2nd Great Grandmother Daughter of John and Mary

Another picture of Mary Sullivan