Melinda's Reviews > A Private in the Texas Rangers: A.T. Miller of Company B, Frontier Battalion

A Private in the Texas Rangers by John Miller Morris
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Mar 01, 2010

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bookshelves: adventure, texas
Read in March, 2009

What a delightful look at the history of northern Texas during 1887 - 1888 told from the honest and straightforward diary entries of A.T. Miller. A.T. is in Company B of the Frontier Battalion of the Texas Rangers. Three diaries of A.T. Miller were gathered, researched, and ordered alongside relevant pictures by John Miller Morris, A.T.'s great-grandson.

A diary entry beginning on January 1, 1887 queries "What Now Shal Be My Fate?", and thus we are off on a first hand look at day to day life in the Texas Rangers. Each day is dutifully logged, from the weather (which was of critical importance as they were out in the weather every day!) to the arrests made for disorderly conduct or shootings, as well as careful attention to gear / clothes / horse maintenance. A.T. comes across as a young man eager to better himself, careful to keep his name and honor intact, and always responsive to the leadership of those over him.

While there is excitement in the midst of each day logged, such as the 1887 Cisco Bank robbery where $6000 was stolen ($6000 was more than the entire Battalion would have been paid in 1 year), what struck me was the daily struggle to stay warm enough in freezing cold weather, eating enough each day, staying honorable in perhaps shady dealings, how to live with fellow Rangers who were also young and a bit wild, dealing with the wild countryside, and finding ways to deal with boredom while also being ready for that fugitive warned about flitting through the countryside.

I would recommend this book for anyone interested in the way real Texas Rangers lived. While the stuff of legends was indeed in place (one riot, one Ranger), alongside that is the reality of a lonesome Christmas Day in 1877. The entry for that day was particularly interesting, where some of A.T.'s Ranger friends avail themselves of free drinks at the saloon, he instead has a family dinner with one of the local merchants and his family. I thought it was wise for him to seek out fellowship with a stable family rather than party it up and live with the hangover. (Alcohol was a real problem not only for the criminals sought by the Rangers, but often for the Rangers themselves.)

So sit down with some iced tea, and read about a young man growing up into a responsible and honorable Texas Ranger. The journey along the north Texas / Oklahoma region promises beauty and challenge, just as it did for A.T. over 100 years ago.

For those interested in what some of the places look like that are mentioned in this book, see

This man is the official photographer of Texas. WOW, what beautiful pictures! And how wonderful to see it through the eyes of the past.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Janet (new)

Janet An excellent review offering a sweet taste of Texas life, thank you!

message 2: by Bob (new)

Bob Beautfully written essay and review of the book, and it cinched my decision to purchase a copy of the book. Thanks, Melinda.

Melinda Bob wrote: "Beautfully written essay and review of the book, and it cinched my decision to purchase a copy of the book. Thanks, Melinda."

You are welcome! Hope it is an enjoyable book for you as well.

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