Rogers, John Harris (1863–1930)

By: Harold J. Weiss, Jr.

Type: Biography

Published: June 1, 1995

Updated: January 26, 2019

John H. Rogers, captain in the Texas Rangers, was born in Guadalupe County, Texas, on October 19, 1863. He joined the rangers in 1882 and served as a sergeant under Capt. John A. Brooks. He became a captain himself in 1892, during the era of Governor James S. Hogg. Rogers was modest and soft-spoken, with a stocky build and mustache. He was twice wounded in his law-enforcement work: in a shootout with the Conner gang in the piney woods of East Texas and at Laredo, where he was enforcing quarantine regulations during a smallpox epidemic. As a result of his wound in Laredo his arm was shortened, after which he used a specially constructed Winchester rifle. As the head of a ranger company in the field, Captain Rogers had to investigate crimes and carry out administrative tasks, from recruiting and firing personnel to organizing scouting parties or filing detailed reports with his superiors in Austin. He brought law and order to Cotulla, was sent to stop the Fitzsimmons-Maher prizefight in El Paso in 1896 (see BEAN, ROY), and for a time pursued outlaw Hillary Loftis (alias Tom Ross). Future ranger officers Will (William L.) Wright and Frank Hamer served under Rogers, who resigned his commission at the end of January 1911. Rogers, A. T. (Augie) Old, and Thalis Cook can be called Christian rangers. Rogers joined the Presbyterian Church, was a church elder, and contributed 10 percent of his income to the church organization. He also believed that the use of whiskey led to most crimes. He carried his Bible with his guns and could use both whenever needed. In 1913 President Woodrow Wilson appointed him United States marshal for the Western District of Texas. He held this position for eight years. He subsequently served Governor Dan Moody as a ranger captain from 1927 to 1930. During his ranger career Rogers invested in lands near El Paso. This gave financial security to his wife, the former Harriet Randolph Burwell. They had two children: Brig. Gen. Pleas Blair Rogers, United States Army, and Lucile Rogers Reeves of San Antonio. Rogers died in 1930 at a hospital in Temple.

John L. Davis, The Texas Rangers: Images and Incidents (San Antonio: University of Texas Institute of Texan Cultures, 1991). William Warren Sterling, Trails and Trials of a Texas Ranger (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1968). Walter Prescott Webb Papers, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Walter Prescott Webb, The Texas Rangers (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1935; rpt., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1982).

Time Periods:

  • Late Nineteenth-Century Texas
  • Progressive Era

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

Harold J. Weiss, Jr., “Rogers, John Harris,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 28, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

June 1, 1995
January 26, 2019