Western Life

John Hughes

When mentioning the famous and legendary lawmen, John Reynolds Hughes ranks at the top of the list. Born on February 11, 1855, near Cambridge, John Hughes attended his school in the Henry County and in 1865 moved to Mound City, Kansas.

His Early Days

At the age of 14, John Hughes started to work on a neighboring cattle ranch. After spending a very short span of time at the ranch he left for the Indian Territory. He also worked as a trail driver which helped him to earn enough money to set himself up with a horses in Texas.

What Made Him Notable?

It was May 1886, when John Hughes started to pursue a band of thieves who had been stealing his and his neighboring horses. With a few of his men he made tireless efforts for months to catch them, eventually killing many of them and capturing the rest in New Mexico.

A Texas Ranger took great interest in John Hughes, and in July 1887, he aided a Ranger Aten in tracking down and killing an escaped murderer Judd Roberts.

Who made him a Texas Ranger?

Ranger Aten who Hughes helped, was interested in enlisting him in the Texas Rangers and considered him as one of the most deserving candidates. Hughes eventually joined the Texas Rangers on August 10, 1887, and started working on his first assignment on Company D.

His Progress & Revenge

It was 1893 when Texas Ranger Captain Frank Jones encountered a critical ambush and got killed, when John Hughes took over as the Ranger Captain. He started to investigate and find those who killed Jones and some of his men managed to get a list of suspects.

In the beginning, John Hughes faced several difficulties and hurdles but began to make progress until he had gathered all of the evidence to successfully identify and kill all 18 of them.

John Hughes as Captain in Command

In 1900, the frontier battalion was abolished after which John Hughes was made the captain in command of Company D. Then he progressed as a Senior Captain in Austin after which he retired from the force. Several writers and historians have mentioned his legendary personality in different ways – Zane Grey’s novel “The Lone Star Ranger (1914)” is one of the most prominent ones.

His Last Days

John Hughes never married and spent his entire life traveling. He became the chairman of the board of directors at Citizens Industrial Bank of Austin and lived in El Paso. He was awarded the Certificate of Valor in 1940. The award was in honor of those who showed great bravery and dignity among the peace officers of the nation. After which he died at the age of ninety-two in 1947.

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