Shooting starts bloody feud between ranchers and rangers
On this day in 1902, Texas Ranger Anderson Yancey Baker killed suspected cattle rustler Ramón de la Cerda, thus touching off a feud that cost the lives of several more men. Ramón, his brother Alfredo, and their father owned the Francisco de Asís Ranch, which bordered the famous King Ranch. Their father was killed in 1900 by a Brownsville policeman. In 1901 the brothers were arrested and charged with rustling cattle from the King Ranch and changing the King brand from "W" to "Bar-W." In May 1902 Ramón was in the process of branding cattle on King's El Saenz pasture when Baker killed him in an exchange of gunfire. The incident provoked newspaper charges of abuse on the part of the rangers, and led to a series of gunfights that left one ranger and two Mexican Americans dead and one ranger wounded. In the final episode of the feud ranger Baker was acquitted of the murder of the Cerda brothers in 1903. He went on to become the political boss of Hidalgo County.