Historical Origin And Design Inspiration
The organization of the Arizona Rangers was on the recommendation of Governor Murphy to the Legislature of 1901. The first Captain appointed was Burton C. Mossman, a Northern Arizona cattleman, who proceded with an organization of a company that at first consisted of only twelve men, with Dayton Graham of Cochise County as first lieutenant. Mossman made his organization wholly non-political and men were sought for enlistment on account of their records as efficient officers, good shots and good frontiersmen, well acquainted with the country. In some cases, men were enlisted whose previous records would not have entitled them to distinguished consideration in a Sunday school, but who had a reputation for courage and endurance. Such men usually gave a very good account of themselves.
According to Mossman: "I have never known a body of men to take a more intense interest in their work. They were very proud of the organization, proud of the record that they were making, and there was great emulation among the men to make good." Every section of the territory had its representatives so that wherever the command might be called there would be some ranger familiar with the country, water holes, trails, etc. During the first twelve months after organization, 125 arrests were made of actual criminals, who were sent to the penitentiary or back to other states to answer for crime. The deterrent effect of these many captures was great, serving to drive from the territory a large percentage of its criminal population.
Organized in August, the rangers proved effective from the first. In November two of its members, Carlos Tafolla and Dean Hamblin, reinforced by four Saint Johns cattlemen, chased the Jack Smith band of outlaws into the Black River country south of Springerville. The outlaws were headed for Mexico with a band of stolen horses and were surprised while in camp.
Contrary to the myths perpetuated by western films, most military forts of the American West were not established to protect the settlers from Indians; rather, they were built to maintain peace among the tribes, as well as between Native Americans and white emigrants. Many people are not aware that Alcatraz was a fort before it became a Penitentiary. Furthermore, they were seldom solidly constructed stockades with numerous permanent buildings. Sometimes, they were little more than a couple of blockhouses. Other types of fortifications were constructed by traders to protect their businesses and by settlers to protect their homes.