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Along the Rio Grande

Book: Along the Rio Grande
By: Tracy Hammond Lewis
Published 1916

“An instance of this was told me by John Kelly in Douglas, Ariz.
Kelly was a ranger, and although he no longer holds his commission as such, his thoughts still live in the days when he was employed by the State.

“I used to be stationed at Ysleta years ago,” he said, biting of! a chew of plug cut, “when there wasn’t any railroads comin’ into El Paso, and when all freight had to be hauled in ‘Chihuahua trains,’ which is the same as prairie schooners, all the way from San Antonio. There used to be a lot of smugglin’ goin’ on along the Rio Grande, and it was up to us to keep the greasers and outlaws from doin’ it. One time we caught a gang with $500 worth of stuff.” He spit contemplatively and looked at me reflectively to see whether I was impressed with the size of the amount.

“One time a fellow named Jem Lafferty (James C. Lafferty 1856 IT – 1896 TX) killed the marshal at Ysleta. He shot him through the neck. We found the marshal’s body lying on the ground and near It was a little piece of a bandana, clipped off by a bullet. We saved it and hunted for Jem. It took us some time, but we got him. He was still a-wearin’ of the handkerchief around his neck. The bit we had fitted into the part lost out of his. He was convicted and sentenced to nine years in the pen. Later he killed another guy and got seventy- five years. He was about 50 then and never lived his sentence out.”