Pidge, Texas Ranger


Thomas C. (Pidge) Robinson came to Texas from Virginia at the age of 27, fleeing a feud with a neighbor who opposed Robinson’s amorous intentions toward the neighbor’s sister. He joined the Texas Rangers in 1874, serving with legendary Capt. Leander H. McNelly’s Washington County Volunteer Militia Company A. He earned the rank of first lieutenant in this Texas Ranger company. Two years later he returned to Virginia to avenge his honor and claim the woman he loved.

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Pidge, Texas Ranger

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Thomas C. (Pidge) Robinson came to Texas from Virginia at the age of 27, fleeing a feud with a neighbor who opposed Robinson’s amorous intentions toward the neighbor’s sister. He joined the Texas Rangers in 1874, serving with legendary Capt. Leander H. McNelly’s Washington County Volunteer Militia Company A. He earned the rank of first lieutenant in this Texas Ranger company. Two years later he returned to Virginia to avenge his honor and claim the woman he loved.

A learned and witty writer who sent back letters, poems, and reports for publication in Austin newspapers, Pidge also wrote most of Captain McNelly’s reports. From the newspaper submissions, backed by extensive research to document details and explain allusions, western writer Chuck Parsons has fashioned an annotated compendium of primary materials that give insight into not only the life and actions of the famous Texas Rangers but also the popular culture of post–Civil War Texas.

Robinson rode with McNelly as the Rangers subdued the clashes between the Suttons and the Taylors in DeWitt County. He served on the Rio Grande frontier in actions against Juan Cortina, including the famous battle on Palo Alto Prairie. He was with a party of Rangers who invaded Mexico to recover cattle stolen from Texas ranchers. Pidge’s lively, literate, and often humorous letters give first-person accounts of these and other actions that provide a unique picture of Ranger service in the field.

This Texas A&M University Press edition, incorporating newly discovered materials, also features rare period photographs, illustrations, and other helpful maps and images.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“. . .  a book I think most everyone who feels the burden of memory will love.”—Dallas Morning News

“Corder’s gleanings—leavened with his own pointillist illustrations—will appeal to nostalgic contemporaries and to curious younger readers.”—Fort Worth Star-Telegram

“Any lover of good books will be captivated by this unusual treatment of the eternal problem of ‘going home again.’”—Booklist

“Corder’s book echoes with questions about memory and reality and how we view ourselves in terms of our own pasts . . . [and] provides a treasured map of one man’s search for the past and an apt reminder to the importance of the search.”—Southwestern Historical Quarterly

Paul N. Spellman

“Once again, Ranger historian and storyteller Chuck Parsons has given his readers a typically disarming tale of intrigue and frontier Texas adventure, wrapping it around the tragic circumstances that led to the death of Truxton “Pidge” Robinson in a passionate dueling shoot-out back home in Virginia. The captivating letters written by Robinson while working as a newspaperman in Austin serve as a backdrop to the coarse but bucolic world of Reconstruction Texas, and lend texture and grace to those otherwise hardscrabble days. Pidge, Texas Ranger is a delightful read.”--Paul N. Spellman, author, Spindletop Boom Days and Forgotten Texas Leader, and professor, Wharton Junior College
David Johnson

“The Texas Rangers were far more than a law enforcement group second to none. As with any group of individuals they brought with them diverse backgrounds and skills. Now, due to the diligent research of noted historian Chuck Parsons, the tale of Pidge has been unearthed and has come to life with the excitement, violence, and tongue in cheek humor that Pidge brought to McNelly’s Rangers. This is a volume worth reading and rereading.”—David Johnson, author , The Mason County “Hoo Doo” War, 1874-1902 and John Ringo, King of the Cowboys
Donaly E. Brice

“Chuck Parsons, one of the most prolific writers and historians on the world-famous law enforcement organization known as the Texas Rangers, has certainly outdone himself with 'Pidge,' Texas Ranger. Readers will be enrapt in the exploits of T. C. 'Pidge' Robinson as he rode with McNelly’s Rangers in their efforts to quell the Sutton-Taylor Feud of South Texas and combat the border outlaws and Cortinistas on both sides of the Rio Grande. Between Pidge’s beautifully written letters providing a compelling picture of what Texas was like in the 1870s and newly discovered historical material regarding this young Ranger, Parsons has woven together a story that is the stuff of a Shakespearean drama.”--Donaly E. Brice, Texas State Archives
Wild West History Association Journal - Bill O'Neal

"Chuck Parsons has done himself proud with this book. It combines exhaustive history-mystery sleuthing with good, old-fashioned storytelling about a fascinating central character and a fascinating part of Texas frontier history."--Bill O'Neal, Wild West History Association Journal
True West

"Parsons' detective work on the near-mythical Pidge is invaluable for historians traveling the genealogical research road of the Lone Star State's earliest decades, which ironically cover the same time frame of Pidge's short life, 1846-76. Parsons also graciously shares the details of his research through extensive footnotes. These provide an accessible template for historians tracking the life stories of Texans through the briar of newspapers, census reports and archival collections that have survived the turmoil of the time from Texas to Virginia. Parsons presents a treasure trove of primary sources, especially excerpts of letters and poems Pidge published while riding with the Rangers. While the work of a Ranger was dangerous, Parsons' biography of the mysterious Pidge reveals the romantic origins of our mythic heroes of saddle and spur, six-gun and Stetson."--True West
The Eagle - Glen Dromgoole

"Noted Western author Chuck Parsons delved into the life of the writer-ranger and tells his story through an annotated collection of his writings." --Glen Dromgoole
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781603449748
  • Publisher: Texas A&M University Press
  • Publication date: 3/29/2013
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 1,372,031
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

CHUCK PARSONS, author of John B. Armstrong: Texas Ranger and Pioneer Ranchman (Texas A&M University Press, 2007), has written twelve books about Texas outlaws and lawmen and has contributed chapters to two other books, including Legendary Watering Holes: The Saloons That Made Texas Famous (Texas A&M University Press, 2004).
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