Texas Day by Day

On this day in Texas history…

"Great Captain" of the rangers retires

November 15th, 1906

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Image taken at random from the related Handbook of Texas entry, Texas Rangers

On this day in 1906, James Abijah Brooks resigned his commission as captain of the Texas Rangers. He is known in the annals of the rangers as one of the "Four Great Captains," the others being John R. Hughes, William J. McDonald, and John H. Rogers. Brooks had a lean frame, angular features, a mustache, a soft voice, and kindly yet determined manners. He joined the service as a private at the beginning of 1883 and rose through the ranks--corporal, sergeant, and lieutenant--to become captain in 1889 of Company F in the Frontier Battalion. Of the "Four Great Captains" Brooks and Rogers received the least publicity, but they were said to be "dependable, intelligent, and wise in the ways of criminals." After leaving the rangers and moving to Falfurrias, Brooks served in the House of Representatives in the Thirty-first and Thirty-second legislatures and was instrumental in establishing the new county named in his honor. He also served as county judge of Brooks County for many years. Brooks died in 1944 and was buried in Falfurrias.

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