Texas Constables: A Frontier Heritage


Much has been written about peace officers, including a host of stories about Texas Rangers, U.S. marshals, and many town marshals from years past. The history and exploits of constables, another large group of peace officers, have remained largely untold. This book traces in some detail the history of Texas constables, from January 1823, when the first law enforcement officers, two constables, were appointed in Stephen F. Austin's Colony, to the present day. In addition, a brief history of the origin of the office in medieval France and England and its role in colonial America is given in an appendix. The book examines the changing duties of the office of constable, compares the role of urban and rural constables, and documents the position the office has in local government as well as law enforcement. The careers of a number of constables are highlighted, among them Gus Krempkau, who in 1881 was one of four people killed in that many minutes in a dusty El Paso street; John Selman, a one-time cattle thief and a party to the Lincoln County (New Mexico) Wars, who in 1892 was elected constable in El Paso and went on to become the most active lawman in the area; and Thomas R. Hickman, who began his law enforcement career as a deputy constable and ended it more than fifty years later as Chairman of the Texas Public Safety Commission. A second appendix provides brief career summaries of a number of well known gunfighters and lawmen outside of Texas, among them James Butler #147;Wild Bill" Hickok, Virgil and Wyatt Earp, and Buford #147;Walking Tall" Pusser, who served as constables at one time or another in their lives.

Additional information

Publisher: Place of publication:
  • Lubbock, TX
Publication year:
  • 1999


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