J.A. Brooks - One of the great captains of the Texas Rangers

James Abijah Brooks was one of the four Great Captains in Texas Ranger history. Yet, while being respected by his peers and politicians of the day, his family seemed to think very little of him. The life of this complex man is well researched and even better written in Captain J. A. Brooks - Texas Ranger by Paul N. Spellman published by The University of North Texas Press.

Born and raised in Kentucky during the Civil War era, James (often written as John) was a reckless adventurer on the American and Texas frontier. Brooks was not a gunfighter, but had a fast draw and a repertoire of gun handling skills which intimidated most characters he had to face. Brooks participated in stopping the fence cutting wars that spread over the state with introduction of barbed wire. When railroad workers went on strike in Temple, Brooks went to keep the peace. During one shootout a bullet shot by an outlaw traveled down the outside of the barrel and stock of Brooks’ rifle taking three of his fingers off of his left hand and lodging in the palm of his right hand.


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