Hickman, Thomas R. (1886–1962)

By: Kenneth B. Ragsdale

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: August 23, 2019

Thomas R. Hickman, Texas Ranger, son of Walter B. and Mary Ann (McCormick) Hickman, was born in Cooke County, Texas, on February 21, 1886. After graduating from Gainesville Business College in 1907, he joined the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch wild west show and was later appointed deputy sheriff of Cooke County. On June 16, 1919, Governor William Pettus Hobby appointed him a private in Company B of the Texas Rangers. By 1921 he had risen to captain, the rank he held until 1935, when he left the force after a dispute with Governor James Allred. During the 1920s and 1930s Hickman was assigned to maintain order in North Texas oil-boom towns. These assignments, his work on the Oklahoma boundary dispute (see BOUNDARIES), and his many publicized encounters with bank robbers gave him an international reputation. His early interest in rodeo contests led to his appointment in 1924 as judge of the first American rodeo in England; in 1926 he judged the first rodeo held in Madison Square Garden, New York City. In 1930 he toured Europe with the Cowboy Band of Simmons University (now Hardin-Simmons University) as the official representative of Texas. In the 1950s he frequently served as sergeant at arms for Democratic party state conventions. On January 14, 1957, Governor Allan Shivers appointed Hickman a member of the Public Safety Commission, which governs the Texas Department of Public Safety. On February 17, 1961, he became chairman of the commission. He served in that capacity until his death. Hickman and his wife, Tina (Knight), had two sons. He died in Gainesville on January 29, 1962, and was buried in that city.

Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

  • Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
  • Texas Rangers
  • Sports and Recreation
  • Sports (Rodeo)
Time Periods:
  • Texas in the 1920s

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Kenneth B. Ragsdale, “Hickman, Thomas R.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 26, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/hickman-thomas-r.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 23, 2019