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1878 Report from Camp Wood in the Brush Country from

One of the Last of the Old-School Rangers

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524.     [TEXAS RANGERS]. DOLAN, Pat. Monthly Return of Company “F” Frontier Forces, State of Texas. For the Month Ending 31st March 1878 [docket title]; Adjutant General’s Office, State of Texas, Austin, August 12, 1875. General Order No. 10 [caption title]; Monthly Return of Captain Dolan’s (“F”) CompanyState of Texas, for the Month ending 31st March, 1878 [caption title]. Camp Wood Edwards Cy. Texas, March 31, 1878. Printed form accomplished in ink and signed by Dolan. Folio (35.2 x 43 cm). Creased where formerly folded, some splits at folds (minor losses), one fold moderately stained; overall good. Scarce documentation from a remote part of Texas.

     This document gives the March report for the twenty-three men of the company. Among the topics covered is a list of “Public Property” that includes such items as mule whips, wagons, pistol ammunition, cartridge boxes, socks, and harnesses. Another document is “List of Articles Issued during the month,” which consists mostly of horseshoes and nails. Another table outlines “Ammunition Expended during the month,” which enumerates 50 Winchester rounds, 65 Springfield rounds, and 775 pistol rounds.

     The most comprehensive portion of the return involves “Record of Scouts,” which includes the unit’s ranging activities for the month and which are reported to have covered 507 miles. Among the activities listed are several missions to arrest specific people, some of which attempts were unsuccessful. One party investigated a report that cattle had been illegally butchered. A report of stolen horses proved to be false, as it was discovered the animals had merely strayed. This activity took place in the area of the Nueces River and Uvalde.

     Camp Wood, from which Dolan operated, is in present-day Real County near the town of the same name. Founded in 1857, it was periodically abandoned and reoccupied by various forces as the situation might require. At the time of this report, settlement of the area, which had begun after the Civil War, was well under way, as the scouting report indicates.

     Irish immigrant Patrick Dolan (d. 1930), after whom several Texas geographical features are named, was an important participant with Ranger Captain Neal Coldwell in the 1870s in what Walter Prescott Webb, in The Texas Rangers (New York, 1935), terms “The Kimble County Clean-Up” (pp. 328-333), driving the outlaws from the canyons of the Val Verde area. After serving in the Union Army in the Civil War, Dolan moved to Texas where he became a Captain in the Texas Rangers. During various times he was sheriff of Uvalde and Jeff Davis counties. At the time of this report, Dolan was commanding one of six companies of Rangers authorized in May, 1874. Dolan was an early settler in the Trans-Pecos region of West Texas in what is now Jeff Davis County, where he established a large ranch and brought the first graded cattle to Limpia Canyon. Dolan’s daughter was Alice Shipman of Big Bend renown. Voice of the Mexican Border (1930) contains Dolan’s obituary , in which he is characterized as “a scourge to evil-doers.” The obituary concludes: “The passing of Captain Dolan almost completes the roster of the old Ranger captains. Only Captain Hughes, Ysleta, and Captain Gillett, of Marfa, remain.”


Sold. Hammer: $1,500.00; Price Realized: $1,800.00

Auction 22 Abstracts

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