Texas Ranger Masonic Lapel Pin
Although this Lapel Pin / Tie Tack is not old by museum standards it shows the combined pride of the Masonic fraternity and the fraternity of Texas Law Enforcement Officers who call themselves "Texas Rangers". The Masonic Square and Compasses with the Letter "G" is cast within the five-pointed star. It is probably gold filled and measures 3/4 on an inch in diameter.
THE LONE RANGER, FREEMASONRY, and TEXAS RANGER ETHICS
By James A. Marples, VIIș ,
Life Member, Nebraska College, M.S.R.I.C.F.
In this technological age of the 21st Century, it is difficult for young people to relate
to the fewer communication and entertainment avenues of the early 20th
Century. Back then, it was Radio which provided news, programming and
entertainment. Before television made it possible to convey images, radio-listeners
had to create their own mental picture to blend-in and enhance the messages that
they heard. Successful radio programs had to use correct language, as well as clear
and vivid depictions to keep listeners spellbound. In 1933, a Detroit, Michigan man
named George W. Trendle, created a radio program broadcast over radio station
WXYZ. He wanted it to appeal to youth, yet be interesting and exciting for adults,
too. The setting of the Old West in America provided an interesting theme in which
to portray the hardships of the pioneers. Those hardships were deepened by
burdens imposed by bad luck, bad choices, and bad men. With any big
problem, people look for 'something' or 'someone' to help lift that burden and help
make things right. As you might suppose, the hero would rescue the situation and
happiness would prevail.
The program, which began on radio, was eventually brought to television. That is
where my first recollections of it began.
The character would exhibit genuine virtue, honor, valor, wisdom, compassion and
respect for Law. The person in this leading role would be a true gentleman, who sets
a good example of clean living and clean speech. He would walk uprightly and
promote Justice without regard for personal gain. He would come to the rescue
when needed, and he wouldn't be afraid to enlist the help of his faithful companion
or a group of citizens to work in concert with him to bring order out of
chaos. Restoring the community's peace and harmony was his overriding
This character had a past history as a lawman - as a Texas Ranger. He was shot
down in an ambush, along with five other Texas Rangers. As he lay near death, an
American Indian named "Tonto" came across the scene and observed that one
Ranger was still breathing, brought him water, and nursed him back to
health. Around the Ranger's neck was a necklace bearing a symbol that Tonto had
given a young white-boy years earlier. Tonto said, "You are kemo-sabe." (A
Pottawatomie Indian word meaning "trusty scout" or "faithful friend.") The
Ranger, vaguely remembers his childhood nickname. He remembers Tonto and
their memories of youth. The Ranger, John Reid, sees his brother (a fellow
Texas Ranger) Dan Reid among the five dead Rangers. Together, Tonto and the
Ranger dig six graves to make it appear to the outlaws that there were no
survivors. As the sole survivor, Tonto makes the astute pronouncement to his
friend: "You the Lone Ranger, now."
Before burying his fellow Texas Rangers, the surviving Ranger cut a strip of black
fabric from his brother Dan's vest and fashioned it into a mask to put across his face
and conceal his identity. As "The Lone Ranger," he vowed: First, to bring to
Justice the members of the Cavendish Gang who did the dastardly deed. And,
Second, to help bring Law and Order to the rugged American Frontier as well as a
level of stability to its citizenry. The Lone Ranger had his trusty horse, Silver, and
Tonto had his beautiful paint horse, Scout.
I can almost hear the sounds of the 'Cavalry Charge' finale of Gioacchino
Rossini's William Tell Overture, and the booming baritone voice of the
announcer, who said, "A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust, and a
hearty 'Heigh-Yo, Silver!!' The Lone Ranger. 'Heigh-Yo, Silver, away!!' With his
faithful Indian companion Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of the
plains led the fight for law and order in the early West. Return with us now to those
thrilling days of yesteryear. The Lone Ranger rides again. "
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Like many people, I would classify "The Lone Ranger" as a true American hero....a
larger-than-life personality, worthy of emulation. Growing up, I knew several men
who, if wrapped-up-together, would embody most of The Lone Ranger's admirable
traits. Upon reaching adulthood and soon thereafter joining Masonry, I can see
many of those desirable virtues inculcated in the various Masonic degrees.
It is no co-incidence that Freemasonry helped influence the law enforcement
agency, the Texas Rangers. It was Bro:. Stephen F. Austin, a Mason, who had
the fervent wish to organize a group of hardy men to protect his new colony (which
later became Texas). In 1823, Bro:. Austin referred to that group as Rangers,
because of their duties compelling them to 'range' over the entire vast area. This
select group gave rise to what is called now "Texas Rangers." Furthermore,
many notable early Texas Rangers were Masons, including Jack Hays, John B.
Jones, (who later became the presiding officer of Royal Arch Masonry in
Texas) L.H. McNelly, James Gillett, and George W. Baylor (among many
others). One of the most dynamic Texas Rangers of the 20th Century was Manuel
Trazazas Gonzaullas. His career as a Texas Ranger was notable for his patrolling of
the East Texas Oil Fields, near Kilgore, Texas. He was known by the nickname
"Lone Wolf Gonzaullas," and he was the only Texas Ranger then of Spanish
descent. He was also a Mason. Bro. Gonzaullas was involved in the control of
gambling, boot-legging, bank robbery, riots, prostitution, narcotic trafficking, and
general lawlessness from the Red River to the Rio Grande and from El Paso to the
Sabine River during the 1920s and 1930s.
In September 2006, I was pleased to have Barry K. Caver, Captain of Texas
Rangers - Company "E" tell me, "There was a time that most, if not all Texas
Rangers, were Masons; however, I do not know their level of involvement."
The battle of "Good" winning over "Evil," and the struggle from 'adversity and
despair' to 'triumph and joy' is a hallmark of real-life adventures that have been
memorialized by both works of fiction and non-fiction. In pioneer days, horses were
the principal means of transportation. Having a good horse often meant the
difference between life and death for not only Texas Rangers, but for ordinary
citizens as well.
Animals, as well as humans, sometimes experience adversity. The Lone Ranger and
Tonto saved a big white horse from being gored to death by a buffalo. The Lone
Ranger and Tonto nursed it back to health, and eventually set it free. The horse
later followed them back to camp and The Lone Ranger adopted it. The horse
became his trusty steed "Silver."
The Lone Ranger's bullets were made by a retired Texas Ranger in an old silver
mine. The silver bullets were to remind the Ranger of how expensive it is to shoot at
a man, and conversely, how valuable every person's life is. The Lone Ranger would
always shoot to wound -never to kill.
As a Masonic Rosicrucian, I am reminded of the virtues of the element SILVER. It
is not only a precious metal used in monetary exchanges as currency, it also has
healing properties. I am reminded that pioneers moving west often put silver coins
in their water barrels to keep them clean as a bactericide and algaecide. Silver is
also used today in pharmaceuticals.
The Lone Ranger put on the mask so he could not be identified. This served a twofold
purpose: So he could not be easily recognized by the outlaws who sought to kill
him initially. Secondly, any good deeds he would perform later would be done
purely for the love of country and the pursuit of justice. Anonymity gives a person a
stronger backbone of self-discipline if it is apparent the donor will receive nothing in
return. Many Masonic Halls in olden days would have wooden boxes placed in
aisles, lobbies, hallways or in rooms adjacent to the Lodge room for members to
donate Alms and other money to be directed to the poor. Any selfish person will
make a donation if they can brag and boast about it, but it takes a truly selfless
person who really cares to contribute in private.
The Lone Ranger rode over a vast amount of territory, which included the Great
Plains and several rivers, streams, distant mountains and the occasional canyon.
When I was growing up in Kansas, I was amazed to learn that parts of the current
States of KANSAS, COLORADO, NEW MEXICO, OKLAHOMA, and even a bit of
WYOMING were once part of the Republic of Texas. In that context, it is easy to
envision a former Texas Ranger riding the diverse types of terrain which were then
ONE REGION. And, Kansas has a Pottawatomie Indian Reservation. Sometimes
works of fiction are based on more reality than a person might imagine.
For The Lone Ranger and Tonto, friendships were solid and life-long. Masonry
likewise inspires solid, lifelong friendships. Fr. Christian Rosenkreutz, the founder
of the Rosicrucian Society had members go out in the world in pairs. He felt that by
going out in the world two-by-two would provide more safety and security than a
sole individual dealing with life's struggles alone. Furthermore, life's lessons are
often better understood when you have someone by your side to help you see how it
has affected them too. Courage doesn't develop instantly. Moral courage goes
beyond personal courage or bravery. Moral courage must be cultivated and
reinforced. Freemasonry instills an honorable Code of Conduct. Many early Texas
Rangers being Masons themselves adopted a code of ethics or integrity that lives on
today. The white lambskin apron is an emblem of innocence and the badge of a
Mason. The 5-pointed Star-within-a-wheel design is the badge of a Texas
Ranger, and the badges are generally made from old Mexican five-peso silver
coins. Early Rangers sometimes lacked an "official" badge for various reasons:
insufficient salary, no real need to display it to Indians or Mexicans, or no need of
displaying such a tempting target on one's chest. However, the Masonic influence on
the 5-pointed Lone Star has been evident from the beginning. In 1844, George K.
Teulon, Grand Secretary of the Grand Lodge of the Republic of Texas, addressing a
gathering of Masons in Portland, Maine said, "Texas is emphatically a Masonic
Country. Our national emblem, the 'Lone Star' was chosen from the emblems selected
by Freemasonry, to illustrate the moral virtues--- it is a five-pointed star , and alludes
to the five points of fellowship." Badges are nice to have, but we all must strive to
aspire to the duties and qualifications that our 'badge' represents.
Along with personal courage comes personal sacrifice. The Lone Ranger had his
own blood spilled during the ambush in the pursuit of Justice. His brother (a fellow
Ranger) died in the same pursuit of Justice. Having already taken an Oath as a
Ranger, he vowed another promise: to continue acting in the interests of Justice.
All of us (as Master Masons) have taken an honorable obligation in the
Lodge. And as Masonic Rosicrucians, we have made additional promises to seek
further knowledge and continue our honorable and laudable work in the interests of
the betterment of all mankind. By making our additional obligations, we have
shown that we are willing to personally sacrifice a little more, in order that our
Society makes a positive difference in this world.
By remembering those thrilling days of yesteryear and learning from this grand
old story of The Lone Ranger...may we all be inspired to "carry-on" and base our
actions on the same degree of excellence in ethics. Retaining and displaying a high
level of ethics is often difficult to do in today's world. Moral courage often
comes via emulation of the honorable men who have gone before us. We may not
hear the 'Cavalry Charge' from The William Tell Overture...but each of us needs to
respond to the call to people in need. And, we should do so in a manner worthy of
the next generation wanting to emulate us!!!!
Author's additional comments:
* The Lone Ranger's horse "Silver" was an American Albino horse, and the American
Albino Horse Club (now called the White Horse Club) was formed in 1937 on the White
Horse Ranch near Naper, Nebraska. Current contact information on them: Rt 1, Box 20,
Naper, Nebraska 68755-2020 Phone (402)-832-5560 website:
References / Sources / Recommended Readings:
+ "Masons Along the Rio Bravo" by Joseph E. Bennett. Published by the Masonic Grand Lodge Library and Museum of Texas,
+ Texas Department of Public Safety
+ Personal Correspondence in the form of a postal letter, dated 11 September 2006 from Barry K. Caver,
Captain, Texas Rangers - Company "E", 240 S. Loop 250 West, Midland, Texas 79703
+ Museum of Broadcast Communications website:http://www.museum.tv/archives/etv/L/htmlL/loneranger/loneranger.htm
+ Mackey's Encyclopedia of Freemasonry, by Albert G. Mackey
+ The present-day outlines of current U.S. States superimposed upon a map of the Republic of Texas 1836-1845.
+ Texas Rangers Law Enforcement Hall of Fame and Museum , Waco, Texas
+ Grand Lodge A.F. & A.M. of Texas
+ Handbook of Texas Online project of the University of Texas and the Texas State Historical Association website:
About the Author:
James A. Marples, VIIș, is a life member of the York Rite, Scottish Rite, Royal Order of
Scotland, and Nebraska College M.S.R.I.C.F. He is also a regular member of Holyrood Council
#61 Knight Masons (Nebraska); the Allied Masonic Degrees, and the Red Cross of Constantine.
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