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These Arizona Rangers were gathered together in 1903.  The rifles that I can identify are all 1895 Winchesters. In 1903 the total Ranger force consisted of 26 men. I count 25 assembled for this picture. The Ranger Act of 1901 required that every ranger carry an 1895 Winchester and a Colt Single Action Army chambered in .45 Colt. One Ranger, private Lonnie McDonald, had been wounded in February of 1903, and he may not have yet recovered in time to be included in this photo. I see a few possible gunbelts, but the angle is precisely wrong to see any holstered Colts. Picture from

©2014 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.
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  1. What caliber were the 95 Winchesters the Rangers carried? .30-40?

    Back row, left. Barrel looks a lot longer than the others. Was that the famous ranger, “Tri-pod” Holmes?

    • At least one was in 30-40. That was the standard U.S. military caliber at the time, so I suspect the Rangers might have adopted it. i have not found any reference saying that they all had the same caliber 1895 rifles.

      I doubt that any of them were in 30-03 yet, and the picture was before the 30-06 was created.

    • The earliest 1895’s were made in “.30 Army” (.30-40 Krag as known today), .38-72, and .40-72. The standard barrel lengths were longer in the heavier sporting calibers. I think the standard ‘sporting’ .30 Army was shorter. The sporting cartridges would come in longer barrels, usually 26″, sometimes up to 28″.

      You could also order a .30 Army in a 28″ barrel. Of course, you could also custom-order lots of things from Winchester in those days.

  2. That’s some olde school hardware. I’d much prefer the stuff from 1906 and 1911 – and the stuff from today. But if I could travel back in time 30 years I’d get some Win 70s, Marlin 336s, and Rem 700s.

  3. Too bad uh?

    Wonder why we have unions?

    People in power, uninhibited, will always forcefully put down labor regardless of party.

    Tea Party Teamster here!

  4. The problem I have with this picture is the caption. All too often in those days in mining towns, “controlling labor unrest” consisted of public and private bodies of armed men beating, torturing, and murdering miners trying to strike for a living wage. Google up The Ludlow Massacre, and read about Pinkerton agents machine gunning miner’s wives and children. Besides written history, I have the stories of my grandfather, an officer of the UMW.

    • Having lived for a couple of years in southern Colorado, I got to investigate the Ludlow Massacre in detail, from local sources.

      Let’s put it this way: The version of events told by the likes of the American labor movement and Howard Zinn are well-sanitized. They always leave out the armed violence of the labor organizers in town (Trinidad) before the National Guard was sent to Ludlow.

      • The laborers were armed, but remember of the workers and the owners which was in the pit when the mines would cave or exploded, and which would die decades before their time from sickness acquired in the mines. Labor were fighting for survival, by any means necessary for some. Owners were fighting for to maintain a status quo that furthered their own luxury.

    • Don’t samitize the fact that violence went both ways. Unions were famous for beating or murdering scabs. I remember my buddies dad talking about hunting down scabs and beating them until they were probably dead. Sure, organizers of ANY protest should not have violence used against them, but neither should they be allowed to use violence against their replacement labor.

  5. The Arizona Rangers were the subject of a good TV show that ran in 1957 and 1958. It was called “26 Men” and starred Tris Coffin. I remember it fondly.

  6. From WV I have mine workers in my family too. Grandfather had black lung. Back in the day when .gov was small and people were self reliant the wealthy few, mine owners, factory owners, railroad owners hired thugs. They dressed them like cops or soldiers and pretty much did as they pleased.

    100+ years later and ignorant folks,or maybe just rich folks pining for the old days, denigrate unions and wish for their demise.

    The rich and powerful are always ready to move in with buckets of cash to exploit the workers weakness. Unlike the hollywood action heros the lone self reliant citizen gets plowed under wishing that he had .gov to back his play.

    This was meant as a reply to leadbelly.

    • My family are from the West Virginia/Kentucky area too, but we probably shouldn’t forget that however bad those mines were, they were better than what your family had before those mines existed. That’s why they went to work in them, voluntarily. So the rich man did us all a favor by having the know-how and resources to start those mines up. If not for them you and your family would probably be subistence farming, and that means a standard of living somewhere between dirt poor and literally starving to death.

      A few years after a mine brings people out of extreme poverty and ignorant folks are complaining and pining for the good old days. Or so they think.

    • Unions are on the way out because massive amounts of capital that they can hold hostage to extort money from the legitimate owners is not needed for big business any more. Information capital has no specific place to take over, it cannot be burned down.

      Mines and heavy industry became unionised for a reason – that is where unions could easily exert power over the capital investment.

      Unions did some good things, and a lot of bad things as well. Most of what Unions were needed for is now accomplished by government regulation.

      Unions had plenty of money to buy up the industries they worked in.

      They refused to do it.

      • government regulations can be easily changed by a wealthty man with a bag of money. The only counter to that is a group, such as unions, with their own money to spend.

        Did unions do some bad? Yes. The secret, as in all things, is balance. Unrestricted unions are as bad as unrestricted business men or .gov.

        I honestly don’t know if we’ve ever had real balance in this country. Would be nice. But I haven’t seen any unicorns on my lawn in a while nw, either.

      • The reason we don’t have 12-16 hour 6-7 day a week working hours anymore is thanks to unions. Yeah they can get out of control but so can businesses. There has to be a good balance otherwise one group or another has too much power. Right now we could use a few more unions. The executive to employee pay ratio is more skewed now than it has been in a long long time, and wages are falling at a phenomenal rate. This is the first time in a very long time the current working generation is worse off then their parents, and the ultra wealthy are more wealthy now than any time in recorded history. We have the likes of Zuckerberg telling us they need to import more cheap labor while labor force participation is at historic lows. If you don’t thing business is out of control then you are sorely mistaken.

        • And, what, exactly, are labor unions doing to stop the flood of cheap immigrant labor from cutting household income rates?

          Nothing. The unions think that they’re going to unionize the cheap immigrant labor. They’re not succeeding all that much so far.

          If the unions wanted to serve their members well, they’d come out in full force against “amnesty” or opening up the floodgates for more immigrant labor into the US. They’re not – they’re voting in lock step with the political party that wants to open the floodgates even by executive amnesty.

        • Actually quite a bit, if you pay attention to the news it is the unions of the border patrol and the immigration services that are making a huge stink about Obama’s plans after the elections. Unions are one of the main oppositions forces to amnesty, and if Republicans could look past their intense dislike of unions for half a minute they may gain outright support from them.

      • Unions are on their way out because the laudable goals that they campaigned for 100 years ago are now federal or state law, especially worker safety issues.

        The second issue is that the unions aren’t able to convince workers that being in a union offers an economic advantage any more.

        Last issue is the one of union political failure. If unions were to point to a city where they got everything they ever demanded, it would be Detroit. All one needs to do today is have a look at Detroit and the financial fiasco of same and we see the result of everything the modern labor union movement has brought about when given unfettered power in both the private and public sector. Another indicator is what happened to companies that became employee-owned when the employees were unionized: two I can think of off the top of my head are South Bend Lathe Co. and the Colorado Fuel & Iron company alluded to above from the Ludlow Massacre history.

        South Bend Lathe Co. had been formed in 1906 and was family-owned until the 1960’s. Come the 1970’s, the holding company that had purchased South Bend from the founding family was facing off-shore competition and unsustainable labor costs. In 1975, the employees of South Bend bought out the company from the owners – and became one of the very first unionized employee-owned companies with real distribution of shares to the employees.

        In 1980, the employees went on strike for a cost of living increase – but failed to appreciate that, being the stockholders of the company, they were striking literally against themselves.

        Both in the 1975 employee buy-out and the 1980 strike, the parent union, United Steel Workers, failed to do anything productive and help the South Bend employees. Part of the reason why was that the defined benefit pension plan was, even in ’75, a barrier to employee ownership. Unions consistently fail to understand that the defined benefit pension plan doesn’t work. Even with the huge resources available to public employee unions, defined benefit pensions don’t work. Look no further than Detroit or CalPERS.

        Second example: CF&I. It also went employee-owned – and went down to financial failure, and was ultimately bought out by the Russians. The Russian owners are running a faint shadow of the CF&I plant in Pueblo, CO today, with less than 10% of the peak labor force that the plant once employed.

        Only the most pro-union people refuse to recognize the failure brought about by American/British-style labor union activism in the modern economic model. The hard force of facts have sunk in to a large swath of the population by now: unions can eventually cost you your job as well as the economic base of your entire region.

      • Yep, when I lived in Oregon, I got to see those purple shirted thugs in action. They are ruthless and sometimes violent. Unions may have been useful at one time, but today, they only care about the money they get from dues and the businesses they extort. I bet if we capped the salary of the executives for these Unions at say $150,000 a year, most unions would fold.

        • Being a former member of UFCW in Washington State, I can say I’m never going back to a union if I can help it. Required membership to work for the company I did, so their dues were guaranteed and there was no incentive for them to actually work on our behalf because of that. Health insurance was shitty. For the amount I was paying in dues every 3 months I could have been depositing that money into an HSA and paid all of what the insurance covered plus what I had to pay out of pocket and it would have been my money to do with as I please.

          When we actually had a serious problem with our employer the union was useless. Shop stewards were put on the overnight schedule so they would get the bump in $$$ from the night shift differential and this had the added bonus of making them inaccessible to the average employee. A bonus to the employer and themselves, as they didn’t have to do any extra work and the employer never had to fix problems because it was difficult to report them. Representatives were impossible to get a hold of in their office (which was located 2 hours away…) and would visit the shop for maybe 45 minutes once every couple months. When you did find them and report an issue, they just blew smoke of your ass and never resolved the issue.

          But I got my little pamphlet telling me to vote straight (D) every election cycle, like clockwork…

          Fuck unions.

    • The dirtiest, nastiest, most labor-exploitative place I’ve ever worked in–and I’ve worked in a lot–was also the only union shop I ever worked in. If union thugs were not beating /shooting/whatever replacements and destroying private property, the Rangers, etc would not have been called in. And yes, if they were not doing that kind of thing, their strikes would have been completely futile given the availability of alternate labor at the time. I’ve seen the pictures of Pinkerton guards and such. And I’ve seen the pictures of unionized thugs showing off their knucks and blackjacks and such too. Lot of sin to go around.

  7. “…control labor unrest….”
    In other words, to to bully workers into obedience, on behalf of corporate owners who bought state politicians.

  8. So what has changed about owners/politicians today??
    Unprintable self editing myself for a change…………….

  9. Here’s more about the early Arizona Territorial Rangers:
    The miners don’t seem blameless here.

    The Original Arizona Territorial Rangers (1860-1861, 1882)

    Posted by: Colonel Resner
    Blog Post 1

    The history of the Arizona Rangers is one of integrity, pride, and unequaled law enforcement service. Our long commitment to the history of Arizona is built upon the dedication of men and women who, over the decades, committed themselves to a life of public service. No matter how distant, how difficult, or how dangerous, the Arizona Rangers has always answered the call for service.

    The Arizona Rangers had been preceded by the organization of the Arizona Territorial Rangers in 1860. This group was formed by the 1860 Provisional Territorial Government, principally to protect against Apache raids. The intent was to have three companies of Territorial Rangers, two were formed in the mining camp of Pinos Altos, known as the Arizona Guards and the Minute Men, and another, the Arizona Rangers, in Mesilla by Captain James Henry Tevis.

    With the arrival of Baylors Confederate Army in Mesilla and his declaration of a Confederate Territory of Arizona in early 1862, the Arizona Territorial Rangers were disbanded by Captain Tevis who joined the San Elizario Spy Company in the Confederate Army. The Confederate Territorial Governor, General Baylor eventually saw the need for the Rangers and formed Company A, Arizona Rangers as the first of three companies for the defense of Arizona Territory. It was commanded by Captain Sherod Hunter and Second Lieutenant James Henry Tevis. The Arizona Rangers were sent to Tucson to defend western Arizona Territory. When the California Column drove the Confederates out of Arizona Territory, plans for organizing the Arizona Rangers were put off for years.

    Blog Post 1

    (This is a photograph of an old train dubbed “The Governor Frederick A. Tritle” passing through the town of Prescott in the Arizona Territory in 1887. This train was named in honor of Frederick Augustus Tritle, the sixth governor of the Arizona Territory and the first governor to make Arizona his lifelong home. He served as governor from 1882 until 1885.)

    In the early 1880s, Arizona was not only having an Indian war , but border crimes and killings were making Arizona unfit to live in. Upon taking office, Governor Frederick Augustus Tritle faced a problem of lawlessness within the territory caused by outlaw cowboys and hostile natives. On April 24, 1882 he authorized formation of the 1st Company of the Arizona Rangers in Tombstone making John H. Jackson its Captain. They were to be similar to Texas Rangers and combat outlaws and hostile Indians. His first assignment to the Rangers was to scout near the border of the territory for Indians, and for those who recently killed a teamster there. The Rangers Captain was only able to pay the first months wages, and the Governor despite his best efforts was never able to get them funded by the Territorial Legislature or Congress. On May 20, 1882 the Governor wrote his last known letter to Captain Jackson concerning the Arizona Rangers.

    “Captain John H. Jackson, Tombstone, A.T.

    I have written to several prominent parties who have large interest about Tombstone to try and get an additional sum of money to pay the expenses of keeping your force in shape for use. As long as you have enough money remaining to have watch kept on your horses and equipments I hope you will do so and I will try every way to get some money if even in small amount.”.

    P.S.: As long as your company exists it will preserve order. Yours Truly, F.A. Tritle.”

    Blog Post 1


    Arizona Rangers (1901-1909)

    Posted by: Colonel Resner
    Blog Post 2

    The approval to organize a company of Arizona Rangers arrived in the form of a bill approved in 1901 by the twenty-first Arizona Legislative Assembly. The current Governor, Nathan Oakes Murphy, succeeded in getting funding where the 1882 attempt failed.

    On March 21, 1901, the legislative act became effective authorizing the organization of a company of Rangers. Fourteen men staffed the organization; One Captain hired at $120.00 per month, one Sergeant hired at $75.00 per month, and twelve Privates hired at $55.00 each per month.

    Modeled after the Texas Rangers, the Arizona Rangers were created by the Arizona Territorial Legislature in 1901, and subsequently disbanded in 1909. They were created to deal with the infestations of outlaws, especially rustlers, in the sparsely populated Territory of Arizona, especially along the Mexican border. The Rangers were an elite, well trained, and secretive agency mounted on the best horses money could buy and well equipped with modern weapons at State expense. They were very effective in apprehending members of outlaw bands, often surprising them by descending on them without warning.

    On August 30, 1901, Burton C. Mossmanof Bisbee, Arizona became the first Captain of the Arizona Rangers. Mossman, who had previously been manager of the two million acre Aztec Land and Cattle Co., also called the “Hash Knife outfit,” in northern Arizona near Holbrook and Winslow, had some success in controlling rustling of his company’s cattle. He spoke Spanish, was a rough rider and was a great storyteller.

    In July 1902 after successfully recruiting and organizing the original Rangers, Mossman resigned, returning to the cattle business. Rumors had it that Mossman did not want to work under a new governor.

    The second Captain was Thomas Rynning, who had been enlisted in the Eight Cavalry, rode with General Miles, was a track and field competitor, also a Rough Rider as his predecessor, and had been building railroad bridges for Southern Pacific before joining the Arizona Rangers.

    Badges of the Arizona Rangers were first issued in 1903 under Rynning’s command. They were solid silver five-pointed ball-tipped stars, lettered in blue enamel with engravings etched in blue, and are a valuable collectible. An officer’s badge was engraved with the Ranger’s name, while badges for enlisted men were numbered. Upon resignation, a Ranger returned his badge, which was then available to be assigned to a new Ranger.

    In March 1903, the authorized force was increased to 26. The Rangers, many of whom in the early years were veterans of Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders, were skilled horsemen, trackers and marksmen.

    Rynning started a thorough training program with the Rangers. Captain Rynning resigned on March 20, 1907.

    Blog Post 1 Striking workers in Cananea.

    In addition to dealing with rustlers and other outlaws, the Rangers were called on to deal with several large strikes by Mexican workers at mines in Arizona and at a mine at Cananea, in Mexico. Contemporary news reports in the New York Times on June 3, 1906 reported that on June 1, 1906 strikers destroyed a lumber mill and killed two brothers who were defending the mine.

    Eleven casualties were reported among the Mexican “rioters.” Responding to a telegraphed plea from Colonel William Cornell Greene of the Greene Consolidated Copper Company, a posse of 275 volunteers from Bisbee, Douglas and Naco Arizona, commanded by Captain Thomas H. Rynning of the Arizona Rangers, entered Mexico against the orders of Joseph Henry Kibbey Governor of Arizona Territory, and at the invitation of Rafael Yzabel, the Governor of Sonora, reinforced the Sonoran rurales. Mexican troops were reported en route to the city. Four troops of the Fifth Cavalry en route from Fort Huachuca were held at Naco, Arizona on the border on the orders of President Taft. According to Colonel Green the “trouble was incited by a socialistic organization that has been formed in Cananea by malcontents opposed to the Diaz government.

    The third and last Captain was Harry C. Wheeler, who took the oath on March 25, 1907. He moved the Ranger headquarters from Douglas to Naco. Wheeler, who had served the Rangers at every rank brought discipline and idealism to the ranks. He was known for his iron will and absolute honesty. Captain Wheeler was the best possible field officer and administrator.

  10. Maybe in 1903 they were still working on a couple of those four fundamental gun safety rules?

    Check out the dueling rifles left front:

  11. The missing Ranger was Sgt. Jeff Kidder, who was assigned to remain at HQ and man the phone/telegraph. He was later killed in the line of duty in 1908.


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